You may have looked at your credit report recently and noticed something that you aren’t familiar with: an inquiry. Or, you may have been denied a loan because you have too many inquires. In any case, credit inquires can be tricky.
While it’s rare to find something inaccurate on your credit report, it can happen. This is why it’s important to check your report regularly.
In this article, we’re going to discuss:
- What credit inquiries are
- The types of inquiries
- How they affect your credit report
- What to do should you find a reason to need to remove an inquiry
What are Credit Inquiries?
A credit inquiry is created when an institution pulls your credit record. In simple terms, a credit inquiry is a credit check. Inquiries occur when a company or person is legally authorized to see your credit report.
Anytime you apply for credit, the institution will want to see your history as a borrower. This helps them see how high of a potential risk you may be.
When is the last time you applied for credit? The following examples are just a few reasons a credit inquiry may show up on your credit report:
- Applying for a personal loan
- Purchasing a new car or house
- Applying for a store credit card
- Applying for a job where a credit check is required
You may or may not have done a few of the things listed but they all result in an inquiry being added to your credit report. It is required by law that the institution provide you with the results.
The results can vary. If the lender sees that you have missed multiple payments in the past, they may choose to deny you. They may also choose to give you the loan, but with a higher interest rate. In some cases, the institution may ask you to have a cosigner.
What are the Types of Credit Inquiries?
Credit inquires come in two forms: hard and soft. The difference between the two depends on who requests your credit information and the reason behind the request.
We’re going to break down the two types below as well as find out how to remove them from your credit report.
- Hard inquires can have a major effect on your credit report.
Hard Inquiries Explained
Hard inquiries impact your credit score. It’s essential to understand what they are and why you should do your best to limit them.
A hard inquiry–also known as a “hard pull”– occurs when you apply for a new line of credit. A hard pull is linked to an application such as a credit card or mortgage. When applying for a line a credit, you will generally need to provide your address, name, phone number and Social Security number, as these are needed to accurately pull your credit report.
Although a hard inquiry will only negatively harm your credit score for a few months, it will be on your credit report for two years. It’s important to keep these to a minimum because too many hard inquires in a short time may make it look like you’re fishing for loans you can’t pay back.
If you’re shopping around for a new car or house, however, it’s a good idea to keep your inquiries within a 14 to 45-day period. This is because all inquiries in this period will only count as one. Hard inquiries can also occur if you currently have an open line of credit with a company, or if you’re applying for a position with a salary over $70,000.
What Are Soft Inquiries On My Report?
The other type of inquiry is a soft inquiry. Filling out an application for credit does not result in a soft inquiry. One of the differences between a hard and soft inquiry lies in who requests your credit report. Below are a couple of reasons why a soft inquiry may show up on your credit report:
- You seek preapproval for a loan or credit card.
- One of your creditors checks your credit report.
- A company looks at your credit report for a background check.
The other main difference is a soft inquiry doesn’t affect your credit score at all.
How To Remove Inquiries From My Credit Report?
Removing inquiries from your credit report can be a challenge. The very first question you should ask yourself is should you remove an inquiry?
When it comes to soft inquiries, there’s really no reason to go through the process of removing them since they don’t affect your credit score. Deciding whether or not to remove hard inquiries is more complicated. As a general rule of thumb, if the inquiry is legit, you may not want to go through the trouble.
However, if you checked your credit report and noticed a hard pull that wasn’t authorized by you, it may be a good idea to file a dispute. An unauthorized inquiry can take many forms. For example, if you provided your Social Security number to the company repairing your home, they may have taken that as a reason to check your credit.
If you were looking online for the best mortgage rates, the website may have sent your application to various lenders.
One way to dispute a hard inquiry is by a certified letter. Your letter should include the reason you are writing, the company that requested your credit report, the reason for your dispute, and your request to have the inquiry removed. Your letter should be sent to each of the credit bureaus.
If writing a formal letter doesn’t fit your taste, the other option is to let the inquiry go away on its own, in two years. It’s important to check your credit report regularly on the off chance that you do see something inaccurate. While removing a credit inquiry from your credit report isn’t a life or death situation, it could be the 10-points needed to be approved for your loan.