What Should I Look For When Attempting To Remove Credit Inquiries
You should periodically check your credit report to make sure that you do not see any, as such items may be the result of identity theft or errors that should be dealt with as soon as possible to avoid losing money or further damage to your credit score. Although even legitimate inquiries will have a minor negative impact on your credit score, watching for unusual inquiries from companies you do not recognize can help you catch potential issues before they have the opportunity to become larger problems.
How To Write A Credit Inquiry Removal Letter
Sometimes companies and individuals make hard inquiries that you did not authorize. In those cases, there is a way to remove the hard inquiry and improve your credit as a result. Its called a credit inquiry removal letter or a credit inquiry dispute letter.
Even if a hard is questionable and you are not sure if you made it or not, you can dispute it as the burden of proof is on the credit bureaus and your creditors.
We have prepared a sample letter to send to the credit bureaus requesting an investigation of an unauthorized inquiry appearing on your credit report.
How Hard Credit Inquiry Removal Works
Hard Credit Inquiry Removal is one of the most effective and fast strategies to boost your credit score. Each recent hard credit inquiry can cost you up to 5 points on your FICO score. We can remove hard credit inquiries from your credit report in 24 hrs. Fill out this form and we will get back to you with a quote the same day.
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Do Not Dispute An Inquiry Linked To An Account You Opened
You should always make sure that you do not dispute any inquiries on your credit report that refer to any illegitimate accounts. If you dispute such an inquiry, the credit bureaus will reach out to the creditor and notify them of your dispute. The creditor would then suspect you to be involved in fraudulent activities and would close the account.
Sample Letter To Get Hard Inquiries Removed From Your Credit Report
If youâre going to dispute an error on your credit report, itâs best to write a letter to the credit reporting agencies. Though many bureaus have online forms, they often include forced arbitration forms, which will prevent you from filing a lawsuit over the dispute, something you may ultimately need to do.
Writing a letter may feel overwhelming. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission both provide a sample cover letter and a template of the information that the dispute letter needs to include. Your letter should contain the following info:
Information that identifies you:
The number from the account
You should number each item that you want corrected
The dates that the dispute occurred
Explain each inaccuracy
The company that has the information in dispute
Finally, make sure you include a summary or list of the documents you submitted to support your claim.
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What If The Company Disputes A False Inquiry Claim
When a company disputes the claim, it is the companys responsibility to give evidence backing this claim. In case they do not give any evidence, you can get the inquiry removed.
If you happen to write to the credit bureaus, you need to mention that the company disputed the claim and has not provided any evidence for it.
Check Your Credit Report Regularly
It isn’t common to find inaccurate information on your credit report, but it can happen. To avoid letting fraudulent and other erroneous information go unchecked, make it a goal to check your credit report regularly. Review what’s listed and watch out for anything you don’t recognize.
Also keep an eye on your credit score , and watch out for sudden drops that could indicate fraudulent activity, such as a bogus account opened in your name that’s gone unpaid.
It’s not always possible to prevent identity theft, but as you keep track of your credit history, you’ll be in a better position to stop a difficult situation from getting much worse.
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Negative Credit Report Entries That Impact Your Score The Most
Most accurate negative items stay in your file for around seven years. Fortunately, their impact diminishes as time goes by, even if they are still listed on the report.
For example, a collection from a few years ago will carry less weight than a recent one especially if there arent any new negative items in your history. Improving your debt management after receiving a derogatory mark can show lenders you’re unlikely to repeat the issue and help increase your score.
These are the most common items that can lower your credit score:
Multiple hard inquiries
Multiple hard credit checks over a short amount of time are a red flag for lenders, as it tells them that you are applying for credit too often and, potentially, being denied.
However, there are some exceptions to this. For example, if youre looking to buy a home and want to compare interest rates between several lenders, you can. FICO and VantageScore, the two most commonly used credit scoring models, give consumers a window of around 14 to 45 to compare rates this is known as rate shopping. All credit inquiries done between this period of time will show up on your file as one item.
Foreclosure can also cause a credit score to drop substantially. According to FICO, a score can drop up to 100 points from a foreclosure, depending on the consumers starting score. Foreclosures stay on your record for seven years.
Why Should I Care About Hard Inquiries
Hard inquiries are different from other inquiries listed on your report because they will affect your FICO score.
Anytime you give a lender permission to pull your credit, itll be reported on your credit history.
You may be wondering what happens if you need to shop multiple lenders for a loan.
After all, there are times you need to compare lenders when you need a mortgage or auto loan and they all need to pull your credit.
Thankfully, while you are shopping for your particular loan, you will be granted a 45-day time period to receive multiple rate quotes which will all count as only one hard inquiry.
So is there a way to dispute a hard inquiry and have it removed?
Its possible a hard inquiry can affect your score as much as 5 points.
And heres another shocker A hard inquiry can stay on your report for up to two years.
After all, two years is a long time when youre working hard to improve your credit score.
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What To Do If You Spot A Problem
If you cant trace the reason for a hard inquiry or you believe it was done without your consent, you can dispute it online. If the credit bureau cant confirm it as a legitimate inquiry, its required to remove it. Contact each credit bureau individually:
If you suspect fraud, you can have a fraud alert added to your credit reports, which flags applications in your name as requiring extra scrutiny. Alert any one credit reporting agency it will share information with the other two.
Or, for the best protection, simply freeze your credit with all three bureaus to stop anyone from opening new credit in your name.
Is It Possible To Remove A Hard Inquiry
I started this column out by saying that removing accurate and timely information from your report is generally not possible. This is true for hard inquiries as well. If you did apply for creditagain, whether or not you were approvedthose inquiries will show up on your credit report and affect your credit score.
However, there is one big fat exception to this: identity theft. In the case of identity theftwhere someone else applied for credit in your name without your knowledge or approvalthose inquiries can and should be removed.
This can be a detailed process, but the Federal Trade Commission has listed out the necessary steps here. As with all disputes, keep good records and in the case of identity theft, be sure to get a police report documenting the theft.
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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.
Is It Better To Dispute Online Or By Mail
There are mixed opinions among experts about whether its better to dispute by mail or online. Each approach has its pros and cons.
Pros and cons of disputing by mail
Many experts recommend disputing by certified mail because it provides a clear paper trail with dates and proof of receipt. However, it does have downsides. For example, it takes longer for your dispute to be received and processed, and you could be at risk of identity theft in the event that your letter is misdelivered or stolen.
Pros and cons of disputing online
Disputing your credit report online is quick and convenient, but it also comes with downsides that you should carefully consider. For instance, online dispute forms sometimes limit your options when it comes to describing your situation. This might prevent you from accurately explaining why you believe the hard inquiry is invalid.
More importantly, filing a dispute online sometimes requires accepting terms and conditions that will waive your right to sue the credit bureaus. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion all have binding arbitration clauses in their service agreements, which seriously limits your right to hold them legally responsible in court if they fail to properly handle your dispute. 567
You can sometimes opt out of these arbitration agreements, but you have to do so proactively, and theres usually a time limit after which you cannot do so.
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What If The Information Is Rightbut Not Good
If theres information in your credit history thats correct, but negative for example, if youve made late payments the credit bureaus can put it in your credit report. But it doesnt stay there forever. As long as the information is correct, a credit bureau can report most negative information for seven years, and bankruptcy information for 10 years.
Focus Your Credit Repair Efforts On More Serious Items
While having too many credit inquiries can hurt your credit score, they are the smallest scoring factor. In fact, each hard inquiry typically deducts about five points from your credit score.
We find that most people spend too much time worrying about credit inquiries. They usually have worse negative items on their credit report that have a much bigger impact on their credit score.
But if you apply for credit cards every month, either out of necessity or as a rewards bonus hack, you can really start to cause some damage.
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Can You Dispute Hard Inquiries
If you do not recognize a hard inquiry for your credit history, you might be a victim of identity theft, and you should contact the credit bureaus right away. The credit bureaus are required by law to inform you if a hard inquiry is made in your name. A hard pull that you dont know about could mean someone is trying to take out loans using your identity.
Otherwise, if a hard inquiry is legitimate, i.e., you know you approved the request, there is no way to dispute it.
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Identify The Cause Of Your Low Credit Score
When trying to develop a plan on how to clean up your credit report, you need to review it to identify factors that are negatively impacting your score. If you are unfamiliar with how credit scores are calculated, you are probably unsure about the factors that can lower this important credit metric.
Some of the most common factors that can negatively impact your credit score are:
- Too many credit inquiries
- Short credit history
- Late payments
If you want a quick way to improve your credit score, then you need to work on getting credit inquiries removed from your credit report. With some online research, you can identifyhow to remove inquiries from credit reports and improve your overall credit score.
How To Remove A Credit Inquiry From Your Credit Reports
If youre trying to improve your credit score, check your credit report. If there are incorrect hard inquiries on your credit report, you may be able to get them removed.
If youre wondering how to remove a credit inquiry from your credit report, there are a few points to think about before you start the process.
First, it helps to know there are two types of : hard and soft. Both types of inquiries will appear on your credit report, but hard and soft inquiries are different: Only hard inquiries can affect your credit score soft inquiries dont.
So, when you want to remove an inquiry from your credit report, its the hard inquiries youll be focused on.
Youll be looking for issues like reporting errors or unauthorized hard inquiries which can indicate an identity thief has used your Social Security number or other personal I.D. to determine if you can remove inquiries from your report and whether its worth doing so.
You can seek to remove inaccurate hard inquiries from your credit report by filing a dispute or a credit inquiry removal letter with the three major credit bureaus.
But you cant remove hard inquiries from your credit report if theyre accurate. In these cases, youll have to wait for any accurate information about hard inquiries to fall off your credit report, which usually occurs automatically after two years.
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Why Remove Hard Inquiries
For certain credit files, inquiries files can be the difference between a loan approval and a denial, whereas for others it has no noticeable impact what so ever. In this article, I am only referring to hard inquiries. The inquiries where you authorized a third party to check your credit report in order to obtain credit, unlike soft inquires where there is no credit application involved.
Inquiry deletions off Experian, Transunion, Equifax
So, before we move into how to remove hard inquiries, lets explore if deleting inquiries will make any useful impact on your particular credit report.
Impact Of Identity Theft On Your Credit Report
Identity theft when someone steals your personal information and uses it to open new financial accounts can wreak havoc on your credit. These new accounts show up on your credit record and hurt your score, especially if theyre delinquent or if the identity thief applied for several in a short amount of time.
Cleaning up your credit after identity theft can take anywhere from several months to years. The longer it takes you to realize someone stole your identity, the more difficult it will be to undo the damage. This is why keeping a close eye on your report and learning how to protect yourself from identity theft will help you to keep your information safe.
How to remove negative items related to identity theft
If you believe youve been a victim of identity fraud, file a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. You should also file a police report.
To prevent further damage to your credit history, these are the steps you should take:
- Notify the incident to Transunion, Experian and Equifax through phone or mail
- Place a security freeze and fraud alert on your credit report
- Request a copy of your credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com
- Look out for unauthorized transactions or new accounts that dont belong to you
- Contact creditors to close compromised accounts
- Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection or credit monitoring service
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What Is A Credit Inquiry Removal Letter
A credit inquiry removal letter is used to dispute an unauthorized inquiry. It is sent to the credit bureaus to request that a credit inquiry be removed. Once the credit bureaus receive your letter, they are obligated to investigate your claim with the creditor who placed the hard inquiry on your credit report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the information provider has 30 days to report back to the credit bureau with proof that you authorized the credit inquiry. If they fail to respond or provide proof, the credit inquiry must be removed from your credit report.
What If My Dispute Is Declined
Theres nothing worse in the Miles & Points game than the sinking feeling that comes from being declined for a new travel credit card. Id rate losing a credit bureau dispute as a close second, though.
This is because it can often be difficult not to mention intensely more frustrating to try and appeal the decision of a credit bureau. As enormous corporations, TransUnion and Equifax will probably not give you a detailed reason as to why your dispute was rejected so as to cover themselves on the liability front.
Worse, even if you do wish to appeal your case, any defined timeline in which the company will have to respond to you will be treated as more of a guideline.
Worse yet, the bureau could simply reiterate its decision.
This does not mean youre out of options. Some declined disputes will offer you the chance to follow up with the credit bureau. Even if this isnt offered, Id try and call in to follow-up on the dispute.
As always, remain polite with the customer service representative. It is likely they wont know the specifics of your case, but gently attempt to get a file number assigned to your escalation and keep it for future reference or calls.
When they do mail you back, make sure to keep the mail correspondence going until you get a definitive answer to your appeal.
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