man holding social security card

Have you ever wondered why your lender requires you to provide your Social Security number when applying for a mortgage or how your credit score is affected when your lender pulls your credit report? We answer both these questions here.

Among the many questions clients often ask mortgage lenders are these two:

  • “Why do you need my Social Security number?”
  • “How does a credit report pull affect my credit score?”

Both bits of information are vital to your financial health, so when you’re applying for a mortgage, both need to be checked by your lender. We explain why they need your Social Security number and how your credit score is affected when lenders pull your report.

Social Security Number

Lenders need your Social Security number to run a credit check so they can see your credit score. They pull three reports by the major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Trans-Union. Once they see your credit scores, they match this information with the Social Security number you provide to verify all the information is correct.

Because your credit score reflects your reliability and the likelihood that you’ll pay off your debts, it is vital for lenders to see this number and your credit report. They need to be reassured they will get their money back before they offer you a loan.

How Your Credit Score Is Affected

A follow-up question from many clients is “How is my score going to be affected by having my credit report pulled?” You may have heard one of the many credit score myths that your score will tank as a result of one pull. While your score will go down, it’s not as bad as people often think.

When a lender checks your report, a hard inquiry is recorded. Typically, the first time you have your score accessed, your score will drop about three to five points. The pull may remain on your credit report for two years, but the damage to your score will decrease as time goes on. This is a minimal drop when you consider your overall score, and these points can be easily made up in a few simple steps.

Good News

The good news is that the three credit bureaus can differentiate what types of organizations are accessing your credit, and a pull from a mortgage lender isn’t viewed as negatively as some other types of organizations that might want to check your credit report.

If you do have your credit pulled, you have a 14-day window where your credit can be accessed multiple times with no additional impact on your score. This means that your credit score will only be affected after the initial pull, and any additional pulls within that two-week window won’t impact your score. Be mindful of this when you are looking at multiple lenders, as you’ll want them to pull your report around the same time so your score is only minimally impacted.

It’s important not to have your credit pulled too often, as you might be penalized. Applying for too much credit at once may flag you as a risk to lenders.

Applying for a mortgage can seem complicated, so questions are bound to come up. Do you have any related questions? Post them in the comments below, and we’ll be happy to answer them!

Related Posts

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. We are going through a refinance right now and we have provided all of the documents asked for, last 2 years of tax returns, W-2’s and everything else. Our Ss numbers appear on all of these and our credit has been run. We are only about a week from closing. Our lender has now asked me to send a picture of both our SS cards for verification. Why do they need a picture of our cards when they already have the information and we have already been approved.
    Thanks,
    Dave

    1. Hi Dave:

      Lenders have to do all sorts of routine verification checks. I’m sure it’s fine. I would just provide any info they asked for in order to make sure you get to the closing table.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

      1. Kevin, is your answer really “lenders have to do all sorts of routine verification checks?” That’s nonsense, especially in this situation when the lender already has more than enough information and has already approved them. If Dave says “no,” is the lender going to not finance it?

  2. But why is it necessary to access my credit report if I am calling only for a hypothetical proposal? If I say to Quicken that I would like to refinance for x amount, that I owe y amount and that the house is valued at z, and that my credit rating in excellent, good, or bad, why is there a need to inquire of the Big Three my actual credit report. Once I have made some inquiries of the lending agencies, and I decide to actually pursue refinancing or a mortgage, then the loan agency has every reason to check out my credit score (though why the mere pursuit of refinancing or a mortgage should result in a decrease in the credit score remains a capitalistic mystery).

    1. Hi Gary:

      The rates we have publicly available on our page are the best you’re going to get without pulling your credit. That’s because we don’t do a bait and switch on you. We want you to know what your actual rate could be from the very start. We don’t want to have your rate change out of the blue when it actually comes time to apply.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  3. why don’t these simply-minded people in the SS division of the government just do what was suggested some time ago? All social security numbers should have a four digit number ,PIN, attached to it and has to be used for opening new accounts, obtaining a credit card and any other reason. This way, having a ss number without the pin number can only be used for credit checks and ID’s.. What is wrong with these people? Do they want us to suffer through Id theft? Wake up people and get on your high horse and notify your leaders to get this through…

  4. Our laws, for our protection, are very clear that it is not necessary to give our social security number to anyone except for our federal government. Our social security numbers make it very easy to verify that we are who we say we are but there other ways to accomplish that.
    I would love to have done business with you but that is clearly a deal-breaker.

    Thanks,
    Jim.

    1. Hi Jim:

      I’m going to pass this to our client relations team to give you more information. I understand your hesitation completely. I can tell you that only those that need to see your information, whether it’s your Social Security number or anything else see it. Our systems are very locked down in this area. That’s not to say a breach could never happen, but we take every precaution.

      One of the big reasons we ask for your Social Security number is to pull your credit and get information on your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. We only use what we absolutely need. I’m going to pass this along and have someone reach out to you.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

    2. well, short answer is that these business make money off of your social in unethical ways. They can’t be bothered with cumbersome hinderances such as pin numbers…lol.

      1. Hi QH:

        I actually agree with you that there are probably better solutions coming in the future, but for right now the credit bureaus require us to provide Social Security number as part of identity verification processes. We take the privacy of this information extremely seriously and any information collected during the mortgage process is treated with the utmost respect and security.

        Thanks,
        Kevin Graham

  5. Hi, Kevin. My ex-husband is buying a home with his girlfriend and needed copies of our last two tax returns (we filed jointly). We are now legally divorced and I, obviously, won’t be a party to his loan. He and his girlfriend have excellent credit and have stable, good paying jobs (employed by their respective employers over 15 years each). They have supplied all the documents, however, I redacted my and my daughter’s social security numbers from the copies of the tax returns. Their mortgage broker claims that “invalidates” the documents (these are not certified copies and I easily could’ve manipulated data in them if I chose to). I call B.S. on the broker’s part. My ex’s info, or any other info, is not redacted. Will potential lender’s act reasonably in this situation since verifying his income is not an issue? Thanks, in advance, for your reply. RaeLynn

    1. I can tell you that lenders in this situation need unmodified documents. The investors in mortgage loans have very specific requirements and we have to keep very careful records. I also understand your concern for your privacy. That said, all lenders have very strict policies in place regarding the confidentiality and security around records. Only those with a need to look at the paperwork have access. I’m very confident any information you provide wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. It’s a highly regulated industry and every lender takes this stuff very seriously.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  6. I was just called by a “Kevin Adams”, odd that there is more than one Kevin, i.e. Kevin Graham as I see here, and this is the reason I do not feel that calls from so called lenders and asking for my social number might not be from the actual company the person says he or she is representing. Sorry, but in this day and age, things happen–and most times they are not good.

    1. Hi Charlie:

      The Kevin Adams you’re referring to is one of our bankers. His extension is 50246. Quicken Loans currently has around 12,000 team members ready and willing to help you with whatever mortgage goals you have. We have many capable Kevins. Things do happen, and you’re correct to be cautious. We ask for your Social Security number to make sure you are you and that we pull credit for the correct person. Thanks for checking!

      Thanks,
      Kevin

      1. adding a four digit pin number to the ss number which will not be needed to ID or checking credit will make loans a lot simpler and safer. Lets get it going…..

        1. Hi Louis:

          We would still need your Social Security number for our records and changing the law and the way Social Security works might take some time, but it might be a good idea to use a pin number for identification instead of the last four of your Social Security number. I’m going to pass this along. Thanks for reaching out!

          Kevin Graham

    1. Hi Ella:

      Yes, you have to provide your Social Security number when you do the application. It’s one of the ways a lender verifies that you are you when we talk to you and additionally, it’s how we check credit. It’s never given out and we treat it with the strictest security and confidence.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *