When Should You Review Your Credit Report
You should review your credit report before you apply for a new credit card or mortgage so as not to miss any errors.
You should also check it after two months of paying off your cards to see what was reported on your statements and compare these with the reports from the three major bureaus.
It is important to do this because even if you pay on time, accounts that close due to delinquency or that don’t charge each month can appear as late payments. As such, you need to double-check that all the information matches up correctly and that there are no errors.
How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On Your Credit Report Timeline
So, how long do credit inquiries stay on your report?
Typically, hard inquiries will stay on your credit report for 24 months. However, according to Experian, hard pulls generally stop affecting your credit score after 12 months. So, while lenders can still see these inquiries after this period of time, you dont have to worry about them dragging down your credit score after a year.
This timeline applies to any type of credit, including credit cards, business loans, personal loans, mortgages, student loans, etc.
Its also important to note that all hard inquiries made within 45 days only count as one hard pull, so you dont have to worry too much about your credit score when shopping for loan rates as long as you do it within that timeframe.
What’s A Credit Inquiry
A credit inquiry is simply a request for information about your credit history. It’s the process in which a consumer asks their lender for permission to take out an additional loan. For this request, the consumer’s personal information is sent to the lending company.
This inquiry request does not affect one’s creditworthiness, but the primary benefit of an inquiry is to provide data to potential creditors – an example would be asking someone who may be considering applying for a mortgage loan whether they would like to see copies of previous loans.
A lender’s check will be performed before deciding on providing finance. It is also used to track whether the applicant has changed address, or had more than one application with a lender recently , and it can also show how many different lenders have offered him credit – lending some insights into how the applicant manages his money.
One large inquiry over 3 months, such as an all-inclusive holiday or vehicle purchase finance package, would not affect your overall score as much as if you were obtaining multiple consumer loan products from more than one lender in a short space of time.
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How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On A Credit Report
Hard inquiries typically stay on your credit report for two years but some credit reporting bureaus may not factor it into your score after a year. You may also find that some credit scoring companies only consider hard inquiries from the past twelve months.
Are you comparing rates for auto loans, credit cards or more? When hard inquiries are pulled during a short period amount of time, credit reporting agencies generally recognize this as one event.
Unlike a soft inquiry, a hard inquiry should not be performed without your consent. If youve noticed a recent hard inquiry that you did not authorize, you can reach out to your credit reporting bureau. Once you contact them, you can find out more information on how to file a report and start the process of removing that inquiry from your report.
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How Much Does A Hard Inquiry Lower Your Credit Scores
How many points does a hard inquiry cost you off your credit score? FICO® reports that a hard inquiry will reduce your credit score by five points or less. Your scores should rebound in a few months.
If you have less-than-stellar credit and a lot of hard inquiries for different types of credit within a short time, the effects will last longer your overall credit score may be slightly reduced for as much as a year. After two years, hard inquiries drop off your credit report entirely.
In general, the number of hard inquiries on your credit report isn’t a major factor in your credit score. The FICO® Score model considers your payment history, , total debt, length of credit history, credit mix and new credit when calculating your credit score. Hard inquiries are part of the “new credit” category, but they don’t weigh heavily relative to the other factors.
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Help For Consumer Credit Issues
If you are struggling with credit issues, including learning how to use credit, debt collectors, student loan debt, medical or other debt, we are here to help. Our network of consumer credit attorneys is knowledgeable and cares about the little guy. We know that big businesses and lenders often take advantage of consumers, so we fight for your rights against unethical credit practices. Contact us for a free consultation to see if we can help. If we take your case, you dont pay until you win.
Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score Less Over Time
Even though the impact on your credit scores lessens over time, lenders will still be able to see the full list of hard inquiries at the bottom of your credit report for a full 2 years.
Also, remember that the difference between being approved or denied for credit, or getting a lower or higher interest rate, is typically decided based on pre-set score ranges.
If your credit score is on the cusp between poor and fair, 5-10 points might make all the difference in getting better loan terms.
One or two hard inquiries could be all that is standing between you and better interest rates or access to a loan at all. So while hard inquiries may not have a huge impact on some peoples credit scores, they can leave a lasting imprint on the financial lives of many.
Can Hard Inquiries Be Disputed
When you check your credit report, make sure you keep an eye out for hard inquiries that you dont recognize. This could be a warning sign that someone is attempting to apply for credit in your name. Dispute any suspected fraud with the credit bureau.
If, on the other hand, a company pulled your credit report in error, you can ask the company to contact the credit bureau to have the inquiry removed. If a hard inquiry on your credit report is inaccurate, you can dispute it as you would any other credit report error.
Legitimate inquiries cant be disputed or removed from your credit report until the two-year time period is up.
Know Your Rights When Dealing With Credit Bureaus
The Federal Trade Commission enforces several laws that give you important consumer rights when you deal with creditors and the three credit reporting agencies.
One of the most important pieces of legislation is the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1990 which requires creditors and the credit bureaus to report accurate information in your credit file.
So if a hard credit inquiry is not accurate, you have the right to have it removed within 30 days. Inaccuracies happen more often than most consumers think. All too often, consumers just accept the information in their credit report as true.
When its not true, you could be paying a lot more in interest rates than you should be. Your credit applications could also be denied when they shouldnt be. Or you could get low-balled on your new credit limits.
Thats your job as a consumer. To keep the best credit, check your credit file at least once a year for inaccuracies.
You can also sign up for a free service like or which will send you a text message when someone authorizes a hard credit check.
Some of your existing creditors such as Discover may offer this service, too.
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How Long Does A Credit Check Take
Nowadays, most lending institutions have automatic systems to run credit checks for them. These systems can finish a check in less than five seconds. Of course, if you want to conduct a credit check on yourself, it will take a bit longer. First, youll need to request your report at annualcreditreport.com by entering your name, address, social security number, and date of birth in an online form. Once you take care of that, you should be able to access your report right away.
Third parties that are checking your credit without the help of an automatic system – e.g., landlords – may have to wait 2 to 10 days to get your reports.
How To Dispute A Credit Inquiry
Now is the time to do some maintenance on your credit report to make sure no errors or false inquires have slipped through the cracks. Heres how to get started:
Review your credit report
Start by getting a inquiries and reference against the inquiries you know youve made any recent loan or credit card applications. Flag any unfamiliar inquiries that you dont recall approving.
Follow up on suspicious inquiries
If youve identified an inquiry you dont remember approving, nows the time to contact the lender associated with it. Find out what the inquiry was made for to figure out whether you approved it or not.
Submit a credit report dispute letter
If youve followed up on unfamiliar inquiries and still feel that authorization was not properly given, you can submit a request to the credit reporting agency for incorrect details to be removed using a . Make sure your request is to the credit reporting agency who provided you with your credit report, as details may vary between them. For example, if you got your credit report from Equifax, youd submit a request to Equifax to have the error removed and then check with TransUnion and Experian to see if the same false inquiry is listed.
Wait for an outcome
The credit bureau you filed a request with will then review the details before providing you with an outcome. If youre unsuccessful, the listing will remain. If your request was successful, itll be removed.
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Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure
The best way to prevent having too many hard inquiries on your credit is to keep track of how many hard pulls you have in your credit history. You can easily keep a list for each time you apply for a new loan or credit card, mortgage or apartment lease. You want to keep your number of credit inquiries to less than 6 per year.
So if you rent an apartment, buy a washing machine and dryer on store credit, buy a car, and apply for two credit cards and a store credit card in the same month, you will not likely qualify for a student loan from a private lender anytime soon. It will also most likely be at least a year before mortgage companies will want you to buy a home.
How Rate Shopping Affects Your Credit Score
The FICO score ignores all mortgage and auto inquiries made in the 30 days before scoring. If you find a loan within 30 days, the inquiries wont affect your score while youre rate shopping.
The credit-scoring model recognizes that many consumers shop around for the best interest rates before purchasing a car or home, and that their searching may cause multiple lenders to request their credit report. To compensate for this, multiple auto or mortgage inquiries in any 14-day period are counted as just one inquiry.
In the newest formula used to calculate FICO scores, that 14-day period has been expanded to any 45-day period, Watt said.
This means consumers can shop around for an auto loan for up to 45 days without affecting their scores.
If youre wondering how to get the most bang for your buck while rate shopping, a nonprofit credit counselor can help walk you through the process. The advice is free and can save you from committing a costly error while perusing over various rates.
To sum things up, soft inquiries have no effect on your credit score. They happen all the time without your knowledge, so dont worry about them. A single hard inquiry will go mostly unnoticed by the credit bureaus. Any damage done will mend itself in a couple months.
However, if you make too many hard inquiries in a short enough period of time, your credit score will plummet.
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How Long Does Information Stay On My Equifax Credit Report
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Most types of negative information generally remain on your Equifax credit report for 6 years
Closed accounts that were paid as agreed remain on your Equifax credit report for up to 10 years after they were reported as closed by the lender
Hard inquiries may remain on your Equifax credit report for 3 years
When it comes to credit reports, one of the most frequently asked questions is: How long does information stay on my Equifax credit report? The answer is that it depends on the type of information and whether its considered positive or negative.
Generally speaking, negative information such as late or missed payments, accounts that have been sent to collection agencies, or a bankruptcy stays on credit reports for approximately six years. Here is a breakdown of some the different types of negative information and how long you can expect the information to be on your Equifax credit report:
Here are some examples of “positive” information and how long it stays on your Equifax credit report:
- Active accounts paid as agreed. Active credit accounts that are paid as agreed remain on your Equifax credit report as long as the account is open and the lender is reporting it.
- Closed accounts paid as agreed. If the last status of the account is reported by the lender as paid as agreed, the account would stay on your Equifax credit report for up to 10 years from the date it was reported by the lender as closed to Equifax.
How Much Does A Hard Inquiry Affect Your Credit Score
How much a hard inquiry affects your credit score depends on the length of your credit history. Hard inquiries have a greater impact on your score if you have a short credit history or just a few credit accounts. 1
Typically, hard inquiries only take a few points off your credit score. In most cases, youll lose a maximum of five points off your FICO score and 510 points off your VantageScore credit score. 23
By comparison, factors like your payment history and have a much larger effect on your credit score. For instance, being 30 days late on a payment can cause your FICO score to drop by over 80 points. 4
Soft inquiries dont hurt your credit score
Hard inquiries can be contrasted with soft inquiries, which dont affect your credit rating and arent visible to prospective lenders. Examples of when you might receive a soft inquiry include when a prospective employer runs a background check on you or a credit card issuer pre-approves you for a card.
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But What If Im Rate Shopping
So does all this mean you shouldnt get multiple quotes when youre rate shopping for the best mortgage or car loan? Each time you get a rate quote your credit score goes down, right?
No, not if the hard credit checks happen within a 30-day period. All of them should count as one hard inquiry.
Plus, a soft inquiry will usually be enough to get an accurate rate quote while youre comparing lenders.
When you ask for a quote, be sure to find out whether the lender will do a hard check.
How Hard Inquiries Impact Credit Scores
Too many hard inquiries within a short period of time flag you as a higher-risk borrower to a lender checking your credit report. Applying for a credit card a few too many times only to be denied could cause a drop in your credit score.
Even if you are successful in each credit card application you make, opening too many credit card accounts at once could cause a temporary plunge in your credit score. A general rule to follow when it comes to hard inquiries is to avoid them until necessary, i.e., only apply for new credit when you absolutely need to.
How Long Does a Hard Inquiry Remain on your Credit Report?
A hard inquiry can stay on your credit report for up to two years. However, they typically affect credit scores for only a year. How long and how much hard inquiries negatively impact your credit score depends on the unique circumstances of your credit history and how many credit card applications you completed.
What Triggers A Hard Inquiry On Your Credit Report
If you see a hard inquiry listed on your credit report it is because you have applied for credit in the last two years.
A hard inquiry will also end up on your personal credit report when you open a business credit card. This is because your personal credit is usually reviewed by the issuer even when applying for a small business credit card, such as the Capital One Spark Classic for Business.
When you apply for a mortgage, student or auto loan, a hard inquiry will be noted on your credit report. There’s a difference, however, between applying for multiple credit cards in a short amount of time and shopping around for the best mortgage rate in a short amount of time.
“There are certain instances, such as applying for a car loan or a mortgage, that only count as one inquiry for scoring purposes as long as they occur within a certain window of time, typically 14 to 45 days,” Shon Anderson, a certified financial planner and president at Anderson Financial Strategies, tells CNBC Select. “The reason is they know you are probably shopping around for the best terms, and you are probably not going to get three or four car loans or mortgages all at once.”