A footprint isn’t always left by an organisation when they check your credit report, this is known as a ‘Soft Search’. It is recorded in your report, but only you can see it, no potential lenders can.
Examples of when these are created include: identity checks or quotes for car insurance; they simply want to check you are who you say you are, they’re not assessing your credit worthiness.
Many financial comparison sites and some credit card providers are now offering ‘eligibility’ features. These can check how likely you are to have your application accepted without performing a ‘Hard Search’.