Santander introduced a soft credit check process across its intermediary business to ensure customers’ credit ratings are not affected at the early stages of application.
From today (4 December), the lender will check an applicant's credit report and make an enquiry search when a mortgage agreement in principle is submitted.
This data will be held on file and will remain valid for 60 days.
The applicant will be able to see a search if they request a copy of their credit file, but it will not be visible to other financial institutions and will not affect an applicant's ability to get further credit.
Once a full mortgage application is submitted, a full credit enquiry - also known as a 'hard' credit check - will be registered, and this will be visible to any other financial institutions who search a customer's file.
Brad Fordham, director of mortgage distribution at Santander UK, said the move will provide customers with the peace of mind that their credit rating will not be affected at the early stages of applying for a mortgage.
Mr Fordham said: "We are very pleased to be introducing soft credit checks for our intermediary partners. With the recent rise in base rates, many people will be prompted to shop around for mortgages.
"Our soft search will enable customers to do this at Santander without the risk of affecting their credit rating."
Daniel Bailey, principal at Derbyshire-based Middleton Finance, said: “A number of lenders do soft footprints. The concern is, when they do a full search, could that be a decline in some cases? You can have a bit of a false sense of security.
"I would not expect it to happen in a lot of cases - but if it is declined, you then have to look somewhere else."