A soft credit search gives lenders a window into your debt history. It's invisible to other lenders (so it won't hurt your credit score) but you'll be able to see it in your credit file.
When we calculate your personalised rates for a Zopa loan, we use a soft credit search.
There's also such thing as a "hard credit search". It's similar to a soft credit search, but it shows up to other lenders (and can affect your credit score).
We only do a hard credit search when you apply for the loan.
Both types of search take place with the help of a credit reference agency.
In the market for a loan? Be sure to check which kind of search a lender does and when.