When lenders run credit checks on your account, they will leave a mark. This mark is known as a footprint. Initially, they will run soft credit search, or credit check, which is an inquiry that occurs when a person or company checks your credit report as a background check. They're looking at key pieces of information to check an individual's credit worthiness, so that lenders can assess whether the individual will be successful in applying before carrying out the full examination of a credit report.
When a lender does this it will leave a Soft Footprint on your credit report. This means that it's within your interests to make fewer credit applications, thus ensuring that you don't appear to have been aggressively trying to borrow money in a short space of time.