Credit Score Catch-22: Mortgage Shopping Can Raise Your Rate

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It's a Catch-22 if ever there was one. The very process of shopping around for a low interest rate on a mortgage can adversely impact your credit score and cost you your eligibility for the cheaper loan you're seeking.

Each time a lender does what is known as a "hard pull" on your credit report, their action actually shaves a few points off your score. A lower credit score means a higher mortgage rate. (You can check your own score 500 times a day and it won't matter. A hard pull is when a third party checks your score with the intent of extending you credit.)

With lenders tightening the noose, credit scores have become a matter of great concern for home buyers struggling to qualify for loans. Getting a favorable loan rate can mean saving hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of the loan, so the idea that just in the course of loan-shopping you are doing yourself financial damage is logic-defying. But it's true.