Will applying for a PPP loan affect my credit score?

In this 3-minute read:

  • For SBA EIDL loans, a credit check is required
  • For PPP loans, no credit check is required under these special circumstances
  • Your lender may choose to perform a credit check for a PPP loan to verify credit and/or to confirm identity

With millions of small businesses scrambling to get emergency PPP funding during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s understandable that many business owners are concerned about whether getting one of these SBA loans will potentially impact their credit score or rating.

We might posit that if your business is in danger of going under due to being closed by state directive under COVID-19 restrictions, and/or if your customer base is subject to shelter-in-place orders, the potential impact on your credit score from a credit check during the application process is likely not the most urgent problem you’re dealing with.

However it is a legitimate concern for some people, so let’s go over the basics.

Womply has made email marketing truly automatic for busy small business owners and all types of independent contractors. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

SBA EIDL loans require a personal (and possibly business) credit check

If you are applying for one of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans or grants, you can be confident that your credit will be checked.

For EIDL loans, a personal credit check is required, plus your business credit will also be checked for loan amounts over $200,000 if you are anything other than a sole proprietor.

SBA PPP loans do not appear to require a credit check

Since the Paycheck Protection Program is intended to get emergency business funding into the hands of as many of America’s struggling business owners as quickly as possible, the SBA has apparently temporarily suspended the requirement of a credit check for this type of loan.

Typically, the SBA 7(a) loan program, which technically the PPP falls under, does require an examination of your credit before you can be approved. However, there does appear to be an exception in this particular case. 

Regardless, some business owners have reported that their lender has performed a credit check during their PPP loan approval. Let’s go over why that may be the case.

PPP lenders may potentially perform a hard credit inquiry as part of the approval process. Will this hurt my credit score?

We have gotten reports from some small business owners who have reported that their lenders have performed a “credit pull,” “credit check,” or hard credit inquiry as part of the Paycheck Protection Program loan application/approval process. 

good vs poor credit graph for PPP application

This can be for several reasons, but the most likely are that lenders are wary of any bad actors trying to take advantage of the current “panic” to apply for fraudulent loans, and a credit inquiry can be helpful in confirming your identity.

It also may simply be part of your lender’s standard loan approval process. The SBA allows a certain amount of flexibility among their approved lenders, so the documents required for a PPP loan and/or the loan approval process (including whether or not they perform a credit check) may be different between various SBA-approved lenders.

If you are concerned about whether your lender will perform a hard credit check as part of their PPP loan approval process, please ask them for specifics. Some lenders do, and some don’t.

Credit inquiry basics: hard inquiry vs. soft inquiry

It can be helpful for people to understand the difference between hard and soft credit checks when discussing the benefits or potential impacts of each type.

Hard credit inquiry

A hard inquiry, or hard “credit pull” is the term that describes a lender you’re applying with reviews your credit report as part of the process of loan approval.

A hard inquiry does appear on your credit report, and it will likely impact your credit scores. Depending on the source you read, you can expect a single hard credit inquiry to lower your credit score (temporarily) by approximately 3 to 7 points. If your credit score at the three main credit reporting agencies is typically “excellent” or “exceptional” at 800 or above, you can probably afford to lose a few points.

If your credit score typically hovers somewhere lower, near a tier that may influence lenders to either approve or deny your requests for credit, you may be more concerned about any “hard” inquiries made by your PPP lender.

You have to give your permission for a lender to perform this type inquiry, and you should also be reviewing your credit reports a couple of times a year to make sure there are no unauthorized parties applying for credit in your name without your permission.

Again, though, if you are in such bad need of funding that you’re applying for a PPP loan, you are likely not overly concerned about potentially losing a few points from your credit score, compared to the serious emotional, financial, and social impacts of losing your business.

Soft credit inquiry

A “soft pull” or a soft credit inquiry or check is the term for when you check your own credit (which you can do as many times as you like without harming your score) or when a credit card company or lender checks your credit in order to “preapprove” you for one of their offerings.

“Soft” credit checks or inquiries do not affect your credit scores.

You may also like: Do you have to pay back the PPP loan?

Go deeper: How many PPP loans can I get?

Read more: PPP loan for gig workers in 2021

Win new customers and build loyalty with your existing customers with Womply Email Marketing

Womply has made Email Marketing truly automatic for busy small business owners, independent contractors, and sole proprietors. Womply helps you turn customers into regulars and get more repeat business with targeted emails that send automatically when customers transact with you. Build customer loyalty and revenue, and get more repeat business with just a few clicks! 

Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

Recent Articles

9 Atlanta area events that can be great for your small business in 2022

In this 5-minute read: 9 events in Atlanta, GA in 2022 that your business should know about Start your year …

Read More

25 free business listing websites every small or local business should be on (Updated for 2022!)

Be sure to claim your company’s free listings on these sites so more customers can find your business. 

Read More

9 events that every Houston, TX area small business should know about in 2022

In this 5-minute read: 9 local events that Houston small businesses should take advantage of this year Attending events, business …

Read More

Small business events in Chicago: 8 ways to grow and market your business in 2022

In this 5-minute read: 8 Chicago events to add to your 2022 business calendar Wherever your business is located, you …

Read More

10 2022 Washington DC area events that can be great for your small business

In this 5-minute read: 10 events that Washington DC area businesses need to know about this year Which DC events …

Read More

5 Orlando area events in 2022 your small business should take advantage of

In this 5-minute read: 5 2022 events in Orlando, FL that your business needs to know about Which events may …

Read More

See why Womply is the #1 marketing and CRM solution used by 500,000+ businesses.