Can You Remove Hard Inquiries From Your Credit Report
If a hard inquiry is the result of a credit application you made, it cannot be removed from your credit report. It is simply a matter of record, and it will fall off your report naturally after two yearsand will have no effect on your credit scores after one year.
However, if you discover a hard inquiry for a credit application you didn’t submit, it may be a sign of attempted fraud. In this case you can file a dispute to have the inquiry removed. Filing a dispute is free and fairly easy, but it’s only meant to help you remove incorrect information from your credit report. If the inquiry is determined to be the result of fraudulent activity, it will be removed.
If you find an unauthorized hard inquiry, be sure to review your reports for further signs of fraud, including unfamiliar accounts, and dispute them right away.
Work With A Credit Counseling Agency
Several non-profit credit counseling organizations, like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling , can help dispute inaccurate information on your credit report. The NFCC can provide debt counseling services, help review your credit reports, work with lenders, and help create a debt management plan free of charge.
As always, be wary of predatory credit organizations or companies. Make sure to find a reputable counseling agency and keep a lookout for any red flags, like hidden fees or lack of transparency.
When looking for a credit counselor, the Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to check out each potential agency with:
- The Attorney General of your state
- Local consumer protection agencies
- The United States Trustee program
If Warranted File A Dispute With The Corresponding Credit Bureau
If you dispute errors in your credit reports, including unauthorized hard inquiries, the credit bureaus are required to investigate. Theyre also required to correct information thats found to be inaccurate.
You can file a dispute with any of the three major consumer credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion that has an inaccurate hard inquiry recorded for you on its corresponding credit report. Credit Karma members can dispute errors on their TransUnion® report through the tool.
You may be able to dispute inquiries online, but consider mailing your dispute. Look for sample credit dispute letters online, like the one available from the Federal Trade Commission, to help you draft your dispute letter.
If the credit bureau in question investigates and finds that the inquiry wasnt authorized, it should remove the inquiry from your corresponding credit report.
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The Difference Between Hard And Soft Inquiries
- Soft inquiries have zero impact on your personal credit score. They only show up on credit reports you check yourself. When a lender pulls your credit report, soft credit checks arent even included.
- Hard inquiries have the potential to impact your credit score in a negative way. But the impact of hard inquiries is typically minor or nearly nonexistent. Although inquiries may stay on your credit report for up to 24 months, they will only affect your FICO Score for 12 months. VantageScore credit scores may consider hard inquiries for even less time than FICO.
How To Deal With Unauthorized Credit Inquiries
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Unauthorized credit inquiries are a sign that someone has fraudulently applied for credit in your name. They can hurt your credit score and make your financial life more difficult until theyre removed from your credit report.
A credit inquiry is a record that your credit report was accessed because you submitted a credit application somewhere.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act defines who can be granted legal access to your credit. These include you, a court order if youre alleged to have caused credit damage, debt collectors, lenders, employers and insurance underwriters.
An unauthorized credit inquiry is when your credit is being used fraudulently by someone, such as running up a lot of charges quickly.
Checking your credit report often, such as for free every four months through one of the three main credit bureaus, can help you spot unauthorized inquiries.
Not recognizing a name on the inquiry doesnt mean youve had your credit information stolen. It could be a collection agency that has pulled your report, which is one of the few times when your permission isnt needed to get access to your credit report.
Removing unauthorized credit inquiries
If you think your credit reports have been accessed without your permission, you can have the unauthorized inquiries removed.
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Can You Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report
When compared to other items that impact your credit score such as late or missed payments credit inquiries are the least important item to remove. However, there can still be some very good reasons for disputing and ultimately removing such an inquiry.
As an example, if you dont recognize a credit inquiry on your credit report, you could have been a victim of identity theft. In this case, it would be important to get the information removed, especially if its having a negative impact on your credit score.
Before you do so, though, remember that only hard credit inquiries conducted without your permission can be disputed. Therefore, if you willingly applied for a loan or credit and the corresponding inquiry has shown up on your report, you likely wont be able to have that particular credit inquiry removed.
If an item can be disputed, there are a couple of ways you can proceed. One way is to go directly to the creditor by sending them a certified letter in the mail. In your letter, be sure to point out which inquiry were not authorized, and then request that those inquiries be removed.
You could also contact the 3 big credit bureaus where the unauthorized inquiry has shown up. Because not all lenders and creditors report all information to all 3 of the bureaus, its possible that a particular inquiry will only show up on 1 or 2 of your credit reports.
Why Its Important To Remove Inaccurate Hard Inquiries
If you spot a hard credit inquiry on your credit report and its legitimate , theres nothing you can do to remove it besides wait. It wont impact your score after 12 months and will fall off your credit report after two years.
However, if you spot a hard credit inquiry you dont recognize, its vital to remove it. There are a few reasons for this. First, it means that youre being unfairly penalized for that error, even if it only has a small impact. Second, it could be a sign of fraud, so its important to investigate it further and to get it removed.
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Contact The Company Who Performed The Hard Inquiry
One method to get the hard inquiry off your credit report is to contact the company who pulled your credit report. The best way is to send a letter via certified mail and include the following details.
- Information about the hard inquiry including the date your credit report was accessed and company name
- State that you are disputing this entry because you did not authorize this hard inquiry
- State that you want them to remove the hard inquiry
- Ask them to send you documentation that the hard inquiry has been removed
- Ask them to send you proof if they believe that the hard inquiry was done with your authorization
- Include a copy of your credit report and highlight the entry you are disputing. If you have other supporting documents that will prove that the entry is unauthorized, inaccurate, or fraudulent, include these as well.
You can also use this sample letter from the Federal Trade Commission or FTC:
Review Your Credit Reports
You should make it a habit to regularly review your credit reports from the three major consumer credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The may not know which information is incorrect unless you flag it.
To check for incorrect hard inquiries on your credit reports, look for a section labeled something like
- Requests viewed by others
- Regular inquiries
There may also be a separate section for soft inquiries, which should be labeled something like requests viewed only by you. Unlike hard inquiries, soft inquiries wont affect your credit scores.
Not sure how to read the information your credit reports? Learn more about whats on your credit reports and how to read them.
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How Does A Hard Inquiry Affect Your Credit Score
One inquiry, as noted above, will only ding your score about five points. However, if you do something like apply for every credit card out there, you will find that your score will be more dramatically impacted. Thats because when you ask for new credit you are changing the status quo.
Questions like why do you want or need more credit, can you handle additional debt or what has changed in your life that you need new credit all create uncertainty. Adding new accounts changes the overall picture and your score will reflect new uncertainty until you have had the accounts long enough to show you can handle them. Your credit report is the indicator of how you handle the new credit you have been extended. If you manage it well, your report will reflect that and your score will reflect the reduced risk.
Hard Inquiries Or Hard Credit Pulls
These can potentially have a negative impact on credit scores.
A hard inquiry usually happens when a lender is checking your credit in order to make a lending decision, such as a bank deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Hard inquiries may occur when other types of companies check your credit as well, like a cell phone company deciding whether to give you a cell phone contract or a collection agency checking your credit for skip tracing purposes.
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What A Credit Card Issuer Or Lender Thinks When They See A Hard Inquiry On Your Credit Report
Hard inquiries fall under the “less influential” category when calculating credit scores using the VantageScore model, and they make up only 10% of a FICO score calculation. But they play a big part when it comes to credit card issuers and lenders assessing your potential risk.
Lenders pull your credit report to see how credit worthy you are, but finding a bunch of inquiries on your credit report will show them you may be financially stressed and a bigger risk for borrowing in the future.
According to FICO, “Statistically, people with six inquiries or more on their credit reports can be up to eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people with no inquiries on their reports.”
But while these hard inquiries do show risk, lenders also consider other factors when making approval decisions, such as your income and payment history.
How Do Hard Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score
You wont be penalized for a soft inquiry because it doesnt mean anything negative about you or your personal finances. Repeated hard inquiries, on the other hand, can indicate financial instability and damage your good credit.
Repeated hard inquiries in a short timespan can indicate youve been unsuccessful in securing a loan because of a bad credit score, or you are applying for more credit than you can afford to repay. In short, potential lenders see you as a financial risk, and your FICO score or VantageScore will reflect that belief.
That said, hard inquiries dont always hurt your credit score significantly. If youre shopping around for a mortgage or auto loan, different mortgage finance companies or auto dealerships may conduct hard pulls on your credit in a brief time period. As long as they all occur roughly within a 14-day window, theyll only appear on your credit score as a single inquiry.
Other hard inquiries that wont affect your credit score include credit checks conducted by utility companies, auto insurers and credit card companies to determine:
- If then need a security deposit from you
- How to set your premium
- Ways to market new products to you
In fact, applying for a credit card can affect your credit because it’s generally a hard inquiry. If you suspect you might be rejected or dont need the credit, it may be wise not to apply not just to avoid the hard pull, but because opening too many new credit accounts can hurt your credit, too.
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How To Remove Hard Inquiries From Your Credit Report
If the hard inquiry on your credit report is inaccurate, if it was unauthorized, or if you are a victim of identity theft, then it is possible to dispute the entry. How can you dispute a hard inquiry that appears on your credit report?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of hard inquiries.
What Is A Soft Inquiry
Soft inquiries, on the other hand, occur when a creditor checks your credit without your permission. This could be a lender with whom youve talked to for a pre-approval quote but havent actually applied for a loan.
Sometimes a soft inquiry might even be pulled by an existing creditor just checking on your current credit situation. Another example of a soft inquiry is from a credit card issuer that would like to send you credit card offers.
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A Credit Inquiry Is A Record Of When A Lender Or Creditor Requests Your Credit File
While a single hard inquiry, also known as a hard pull, is unlikely to impact your eligibility for new credit products such as a new credit card, it can affect your credit scores for up to two years.
When reviewing hard inquiries on your credit reports, you want to make sure that they are legitimate. What does that mean? For each hard inquiry line item you see, did you authorize the creditor or lender to pull your credit? If you did, you dont need to take any action.
But its possible that when youre monitoring your credit reports that youll flag instances of unauthorized hard inquiries. If you find one of these, youll want to file a dispute with the credit bureau that generated the report and ask the bureau to remove the unauthorized inquiry.
Heres how to dispute inaccurate hard inquiries from your credit reports.
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I Have Too Many Enquiries On My Credit File What Should I Do Now
Improving your credit file takes time, but you can start optimising it by following the tips below:
- Limit new applications. You can keep the number of credit enquiries on your file down by only applying for new products when it’s necessary. Applying for one account at a time and waiting a few months between applications will also help keep your credit enquiries to a minimum.
- Pay your accounts by the due date. Information about late payments can also have a negative impact on your credit file. Aim to make repayments by the due date on your statements.
- Settle outstanding debts. Repay any debts you can afford to pay off. This can show lenders that you are responsible with money.
- Close old accounts. Go through your credit file and check if there are any accounts that are still open that you don’t use. For example, an old joint electricity account from a sharehouse. Closing these or removing your name from them will ensure that only current, relevant details are on your credit report.
Can I Remove An Inquiry From My Credit Report
You cant remove a legitimate inquiry from your credit report.
The only inquires that can be removed from your credit report are those that are incorrect or erroneous, such as if a lender made a hard pull on your credit without proper authorization from you. In these cases, you can submit a request to have the inaccurate details removed from your report.
How long do credit inquiries stay on my credit report?
For a legit credit inquiry, youll usually have to wait three years to have a hard inquiry taken off your credit report though itll only impact your credit score for a few months if you make on-time payments. On the other hand, a soft pull on your credit report can only be seen by you and has no effect on your credit score whatsoever.
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