What is a Car Finance Soft Search? – All Your FAQs Answered

man using laptop to apply for car finance with soft search

Just like applying for a mortgage or increasing your bank borrowing limit, seeking approval for car finance often calls for a soft credit search. So, what is a soft search credit check? Carried out by the lender, a car finance soft search is designed to determine your eligibility for credit. This information is used to build a credit profile and establish if you’re a suitable applicant.

Ultimately, soft searches help to answer questions like how much to lend and at what interest rate, as well as whether you’re eligible for any special deals or rates. Want to know more about car finance soft searches? Read on as we answer all your burning questions, including what does a soft search show, where does the financial information come from and whether there are any benefits of soft search.

What is a soft search?

Also known as a soft credit check, soft searches reveal your personal financial history without leaving a footprint on your credit report. They allow lenders to follow up and confirm information you have offered which is used to generate a quote.

What does a soft credit search show?

One of the biggest questions asked by car finance applicants is what do lenders see on a soft search? The short answer is a snapshot of your personal credit profile. This includes information such as credit card limits, phone contracts, mortgages, personal loans and any other relevant material that helps determine whether you’re likely to pay back the loan. If you have a County Court Judgment (CCJ) court order registered against you for failing to repay money this will also appear.

What does the ‘soft’ mean?

While car finance soft searches do reveal valuable information, they don’t leave a signature on your credit profile. Instead, soft searches remain invisible to third parties and lenders, and are only visible to the applicant.

What are the benefits of car finance soft search?

One of the major benefits of car finance soft searches is the invisible footprint. They offer lenders a snapshot of your credit history and score without leaving a permanent mark on your personal report.

While hard credit searches are not necessarily a burden, having too many appear on your report can spook prospective lenders and imply you’re in constant need of credit. Hard searches that don’t result in approval can be particularly dangerous as they suggest you’re credit hungry but haven’t managed to win over any lenders due to bad credit history.

On the other hand, soft searches are designed to give car finance lenders peace of mind while keeping your credit report clean. So, when applying for finance there’s no reason at all to hold back on a soft credit search.

Will a car finance soft search affect my credit report?

The answer to this question is a firm no. While a soft credit search car finance check will reveal information on your credit history, it won’t leave a footprint on your file and your rating will remain unaffected.

Where does car finance soft search information come from?

In the UK, lenders generally use three major credit reference agencies to determine your credit score – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

Can soft credit search car finance help me?

While the concept of credit checks can be intimidating, if you’ve got nothing to hide, they can actually help you secure a better deal on your loan. At My Car Credit, our applicants fall into one of two categories – prime or subprime. Applicants with good credit status fall into the prime category and are offered a transparent actual annual percentage rate (APR) or ‘real rate’ upfront.

If you have a compromised credit history, you’re still eligible. There’s just a little more work to be done before securing a loan. Using your application details, our team work hard to find a suitable deal from our panel of more than 34 lenders.

Car finance soft searches also empower you with the freedom to shop around for a good deal before making your final decision on a lender. While hard searches could have a negative impact on your credit history, soft searches allow you to seek pre-approval for loans without leaving a mark on your credit history.

What’s the process?

Less formal than a hard credit check, soft searches are designed to be quick, easy and stress free. At My Car Credit, the process starts with our cost of car finance calculator, before completing a short online application form. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and covers details such as your name, address, employment history and date of birth.

Once the form is completed, we’ll run a quick check and let you know the results online, as well as via text and email. Everything is transparent and we’ll never carry out any searches without your permission.

Do bear in mind that once you decide to proceed with your application, some lenders will perform a hard search.

Is there a fee?

At My Car Credit, we don’t believe in charging for the soft search application process. There are no extra charges associated with our soft credit search and typically the results will help you find the right deal for your circumstances.

The final verdict

Ultimately, a car finance soft search is a great way to reassure a lender and secure a loan without compromising your credit score. With no fee, no footprint and the potential to unlock excellent rates, there are virtually no downsides to carrying out a car finance soft search. A win-win for applicants and lenders.

Still have more questions on what a soft credit search is? Reach out to the team at My Car Credit to find out more about how a car finance soft search can help you secure the best possible loan.

Whether you have a glowing credit record or are struggling with black marks like debt or a CCJ, our team is on hand to help you secure finance and get behind the wheel of your own car as soon as possible. We’ve also built a huge library of help and advice articles covering everything from how to improve your credit score to what repayment terms are best for you.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!

What paperwork do I need to get a car on finance?

Woman signing her car finance paperwork

Applying for something finance-related can be daunting for anyone – finding all the paperwork and information that’s otherwise tucked away in a drawer or cupboard can be an overwhelming task. So, here at My Car Credit, we try to make it as easy and straight forward as possible. As with any other kind of finance application, car finance does require a lot of paperwork, but don’t worry because we are here to assist you with that – every step of the way. Here’s a breakdown of all the paperwork and information you’re going to need when applying for car finance with us.

Before the paperwork

We like to start your car buying journey on the right foot, which is why we only require you to complete a simple online application form to begin your car finance journey. This usually takes less than three minutes and asks you for some simple information such as your full name, date of birth, marital status, residential status and your address history for the last three or so years.

Once this has been completed and you have received your online decision on-screen (as well as by email and text), your personal Car Credit Specialist will be in touch to guide you through the whole of your car-buying journey.

To be able to help you with this, your Car Credit Specialist will require some initial paperwork from you.

Driving licence

Your driving licence will be required regardless of any other circumstances.

We need a clear, scanned picture of your driving licence. Alternatively, you can post it to us – don’t worry, we will keep this safe for you and will return it once we are happy that it is your own driving license and that you are qualified to drive the car that you are looking to buy.

Your driving license also acts as proof that you will be the owner and registered keeper of your new car.

A selfie

In order to prove that you are who you say you are in your application, we may ask you to provide a selfie of you holding your own driving license.

With the rise of technology, we have chosen this as a convenient way for you to prove your identity and a good way for us to be protected against fraud.

Proof of employment and earnings

My Car Credit require information on your employment and earnings, so that we can treat you fairly, as a person and a customer. We need to be able to see that you can manage your finances and can afford the agreement you are looking to take out – this is known as an ‘affordability check’. Essentially, we do this to make sure you are protected from getting into any financial difficulty in the future.

To begin your affordability check, we will need you to provide the names and addresses of all of your employers for at least the last three years (sometimes longer if you have frequently changed jobs, or have gaps in your employment history).

You may also be required to prove your earnings, which will require you to send us copies of your payslips, usually accounting for the last three to six months’ wages. This is a simple safety precaution to make sure that your wages are being paid to you.

We might ask you to provide bank statements dating back for a certain period to show your income. If most of your income is cash and doesn’t show up in your bank statements, you may need to show other information to back up your income claims (such as tax return information).

Alternatively, for your convenience, we may ask you take a clear photograph/clear scanned copy and email them to us. However, the copies must be clear enough for us to be able to read all of the details on them.

Bank account details

We will also need the bank account details for the account you will be using for your monthly payments. You will need to provide us with the branch’s address and sort code, as well as your account number.

The account usually needs to be in your name (or jointly in your name). Again, if you have less than three years with your current bank, you will probably need to provide previous bank details.

Where you have a joint bank account with a spouse, we may also need some financial information from them.

Additional information

If there are issues with any of your documentation, your personal Car Credit Specialist will advise you (and in some cases, require you) to give extra information to us. This isn’t uncommon and it’s certainly nothing to worry about.

The requirement for additional information can result from a number of circumstances. It can occur because you have recently moved to the UK and are therefore unable to provide three years residence information. In this case, you may be asked for overseas checks. Alternatively, younger drivers that may not have the relevant employment or credit history, might be asked to submit a guarantor’s information as well as their own.

There are a number of circumstances that may require the submission of additional information, and this should not be seen as a negative sign for your car finance. We only ask for this information to make sure we get the best finance deal for you, and to improve your chances of being accepted.
It is also important to take note that the types of paperwork we will require can differ depending on your credit profile and the lender we are able to match you with.

Here at My Car Credit, we want you to be in your new car as soon as possible so we are trained to help and advise you. Get in touch with any questions or why not start your car buying journey now and click here to apply with My Car Credit?

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!