Everytime you apply for a credit product, like a credit card, the creditor will submit a “hard” check onto your credit bureau. In Canada, we use Equifax and Transunion. Sometimes creditors will only pull from one of the bureaus, or sometimes both.
Typically, one or two pulls will not harm you at all. Indeed, any single pull probably only hurts your credit score by 2-3 points. However, us credit card churners face the problem where we apply too much, getting us far more than one or two hard checks on our credit bureau. At some point, creditors will decide that you’re a “credit seeker,” and will deny any further applications for credit from you. Normally, a hard check will only hurt you for the first six months, barely hurt you between 6-12 months, not affect you at all after 1 year, and will drop from your credit bureau after 2 years.
Fortunately, there’s a way to “bump” hard checks off your credit bureau. Bumpage, also referred to as B*, is the process of getting so many “soft” pulls on your bureau that the hard pulls start dropping off.
Here’s how it works: there are two different kinds of credit inquiries: hard and soft. Hard pulls hurt your credit score, and they generate when you apply for a credit product. Soft pulls do not harm your credit. Indeed, credit issuers cannot even see a soft pull on your bureau. A soft pull is typically generated whenever the owner of the report (yourself) asks to see your credit, when a current creditor with whom you have a relationship wants to check up on you, or for some issuers to provide pre-approved credit offers.
The idea of B* is that credit bureaus only have so many slots for credit inquiries, hard and soft included. If you generate enough soft pulls, filling all of these available slots, the hard pulls are bumped off the list. Think of it like a bucked: there’s only so much space. Fill it up with soft pulls, and the hard pulls start overflowing out of the bucket.
How do you generate enough soft pulls? In Canada, both Equifax and Transunion provide a free telephone access service to get your credit report (Equifax: 1-800-465-7166 | Transunion: 1-800-663-9980). You call, input your details, and they mail it to you. Every time you do this, it will generate a soft pull onto your credit report (remember, these do not hurt your credit score). If you do this enough, and I don’t know what the magic number is to start overflowing the bucket, your hard pulls might eventually be bumped off your credit report.
Reports I have heard indicated that this worked a year ago. I do not know if this still works in Canada. The American folks at myfico.com indicate that it works in the USA.
Some folks in the US report that doing this can cause a split credit report, meaning that because you have so many inputs onto your credit file, they need to create a second one for you. I imagine that this could be quite bad for you, as whenever you ask for a credit product, you don’t know which file the creditor will access.
I am not supporting that someone do this. It may work, it may not. You might waste a lot of time on this with no results, and could even create a split credit file. This is purely an informative article for those who are curious about the term.