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What is a credit report?

A credit report is a historic record of all your credit activities including credit limits, loan accounts, account statuses, and payment history. Together with a credit score (which is based on the credit report), the report helps lenders and creditors assess your credit risk, which is then used to establish eligibility and credit rates. 

Credit reports are also a very helpful tool for consumers who want to keep tabs on their financial activities and also instrumental in enabling people to spot malicious activity. Lenders and companies use your credit report to determine if you have history of or ongoing bankruptcies, delinquent accounts, foreclosures or lawsuits. 

Does retrieving your credit report affect your credit score?

Simply checking your credit report, which qualifies as a soft inquiry doesn't have any impact on your credit scores. However, this is not same case for every credit inquiry. To determine whether an inquiry will impact your credit score or not, it is essential to know the difference between hard credit inquiry and soft credit inquiry. Let's get started!

Credit inquiry: soft vs hard: What's the difference?

The soft and the hard credit inquiry, also known as soft pull and hard pull, comes up when a third-party requests access to your credit report. A soft pull has no impact on your credit score, but a hard pull can have.

Whenever you apply to borrow money, the company can request your credit report from any of the three national credit bureaus - TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. This results in a hard inquiry which can lower your credit scores slightly. But many-a-times when a lender pulls your credit report it can result in a soft inquiry too. Let's understand the differences. 

What is a soft pull?

A soft credit inquiry or soft pull happens when you or another person checks your credit report without formal application. It also occurs when a company runs background check before hiring you. Moreover, banks and lenders use soft pulls to shortlist your account for promotional offers on credit cards. The good news about soft pulls is, unlike hard pulls, only you can see them. 

What is a hard pull?

A hard credit inquiry or hard pull usually takes place when you apply for a loan, mortgage, or credit card. The financial institution, which can be a lender or credit card company, runs a hard check on your credit report. When you rent an apartment, your potential landlord may also do a hard credit pull after your approval. You should keep in mind that multiple hard inquiries over a short span can pose you as a high-risk customer who is racking up debts. 

How to retrieve a credit report in Defender?

To retrieve your credit report¹ in Defender, open Credit Monitoring from the dashboard tile and interact with the See report button.

Note: On this segment of your credit monitoring summary page, you'll find an overview of your report, displaying the count of accounts, credit inquiries, and existing public records. Additionally, it provides the date of the most recent credit report generation and the anticipated date for the next one.


Credit reports are updated on the same cycle as credit scores, i.e., Monthly, starting from the date the service was first enabled. 

Microsoft employs VantageScore (3.0) from Experian as the credit scoring system within Defender for Individuals. The VantageScore (3.0) you see in Defender for Individuals is a credit score from a single bureau, specifically provided by Experian.

The credit monitoring in Microsoft Defender operates through a collaboration with Experian. Experian is responsible for delivering the credit alerts, credit score, and credit report that you access through this service.

Experian stores the necessary data for retrieving credit reports, scores, and alerts using industry-standard encryption methods. They also utilize TLS 1.2 encryption for any data transmitted between your device and their service.

Microsoft does not view or retain any personally identifiable information concerning you or your usage of this service, and it does not share your data with third parties. Likewise, Experian does not disclose, sell, or grant access to your data to any external parties.


1. Feature available in the United States and US territories. Credit score is a single bureau VantageScore 3.0 provided by Experian®. The monthly credit report is provided by Experian® using single bureau data. For users under the age of 18 or those without a credit history, credit score not included. Family organizers will not have the ability to onboard, view, and receive alerts related to family member credit monitoring. Your device's primary display language must be set to English.

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