- Too many hard inquiries on your credit report can negatively impact your credit score and make it harder to get approved for credit in the future.
- Each hard inquiry can lower your credit score by a few points and appear on your credit report for up to two years.
- Monitor your credit report to identify, dispute, and request removal of potentially unauthorized inquiries.
- Contact the lender or credit bureau reporting the error to request removal
If you’re looking to improve your credit score, one step is to remove hard inquiries from your credit report. To do this, you can request removal of inquiries made in error or any unauthorized inquiries.
Understanding Hard Credit Inquiries
A hard credit inquiry records when a lender or creditor checks your credit report after applying for credit or a loan. Each hard inquiry can lower your credit score and affect your ability to get approved for a loan or credit card in the future.
There are several reasons why a hard inquiry may appear on your credit report:
- Authorized checks: When you apply for credit or a loan, a lender or creditor initiates a hard inquiry that deducts several points from your credit score.
- Reporting errors: If a lender mistakenly pulled your credit report and made a hard inquiry, you can request the removal of the inquiry from your credit report by contacting the lender directly.
- Potential identity theft: Hard inquiries can also result from fraudulent activity related to identity theft.
The Impact Of Hard Inquiries
Maintaining a good credit report involves understanding hard inquiries and how they affect your credit score. When you apply for credit or a loan, a lender or creditor initiates a hard inquiry that can deduct several points from your credit score.
Although not all hard inquiries have the same impact, they are all recorded on your credit report for up to two years.
How To Remove Hard Inquiries
The Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates credit bureaus like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax to inform individuals when a business entity or creditor conducts a “hard pull” or hard inquiry on their credit report.
To remove hard inquiries from your credit report, you can contact the lender or creditor directly and request removal or dispute the inquiry with the credit reporting agency.
Removing hard inquiries from your credit report can be time-consuming, though relatively straightforward. Here are the steps you can take to achieve this goal:
Check Your Credit Report
To remove hard inquiries from your credit report, start by checking your credit report for any inaccuracies. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year. Be sure to review your report for any hard inquiries you did not authorize or made without your consent.
Dispute Unauthorized Inquiries
If you discover any hard inquiries on your credit report that you did not authorize, you can challenge them with the credit bureaus. You’ll need to provide evidence that the inquiry was unauthorized, such as a letter from the lender stating that you did not apply for credit with them.
Request Removal Of Inquiries Made In Error
If a lender mistakenly pulled your credit report and made a hard inquiry, you can request removal by contacting the lender directly.
Contact The Lender
Explain (in as much detail as possible) why you believe there is an error on your credit report and ask them to remove the inquiry. The lender’s contact information can be found on their website.
Start A Dispute
Sometimes, the company may not be responsive or willing to help remove the inquiry. If they reject your request or are non-responsive, it may be time to file a formal dispute online or via mail.
While you can file over the phone, this limits your ability to record and document a paper trail if the situation escalates.
- Personal info, including name, Social Security Number (SSN), address, and contact information
- A timeline breaking down the steps you took (including dates) up to this point
- The credit bureau(s) where this inquiry appears on your credit report
- Your request for removal and reasons why
- Copies of relevant documents to support the investigation (proof of identity theft, bank statements, letters from relevant companies, etc.)
The FTC’s dispute letter template is a great place to start.
Submit Your Dispute
The following are the three credit bureaus’ websites, phone numbers, and mailing addresses. Remember to keep a detailed paper trail, take notes along the way, and send letters via certified mail.
Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA, 19016
Request Removal Of Inquiries When You Are Denied Credit
If you were denied credit, the lender may have performed a hard inquiry on your credit report. Though not guaranteed, you can try contacting the lender to request that they remove the inquiry from your credit report.
What To Expect After Requesting Removal Of A Hard Inquiry
After requesting the removal of a hard inquiry, the credit bureau(s) will investigate your dispute and verify the information with the lender or creditor who made the inquiry. The creditor or lender must respond within 30 days.
If The Inquiry Was Made In Error
The credit bureaus will investigate your dispute and verify the information with the lender or creditor who made the inquiry. They will remove it from your credit report if it was made in error. However, removing it if it was authorized may be more difficult.
If Your Dispute Is Successful
Upon successfully removing an inquiry from your credit report, you should notice an increase in your credit score. However, it’s important to remember that various other factors, including your payment history and outstanding debts, impact your score.
Regularly checking your credit report is crucial to ensure all inquiries are legitimate. Removing unauthorized or erroneous inquiries can help improve your credit score and increase your future approval odds.
By monitoring your credit, you can protect your financial standing and make informed decisions about your credit.
What Is A Hard Inquiry?
A hard credit inquiry records when a lender or creditor checks your credit report when you apply for credit or a loan.
Each hard inquiry can lower your credit score and affect your ability to get approved for a loan or credit card in the future. This is because each hard inquiry is considered a sign that you’re seeking new lines of credit, which lenders consider a risk factor.
What’s The Difference Between A Hard Credit Inquiry And A Soft Credit Inquiry?
A hard credit inquiry can impact your credit score, while a soft credit inquiry does not. Soft inquiries are typically made by employers, landlords, or insurance companies.
Do I Need To Authorize A Hard Credit Inquiry?
Yes, you must provide authorization before a lender or creditor can perform a hard credit inquiry.
How Does A Hard Credit Inquiry Affect My Credit Score?
Each hard inquiry can lower your credit score by a few points.
Why Do Hard Inquiries Lower Your Credit Score?
Hard inquiries are considered a sign that you’re seeking new credit, which can be viewed as a risk factor by lenders.
How Many Points Do Hard Inquiries Lower Your Credit Score?
Each hard inquiry can lower your credit score by a few points. The exact number can vary depending on other factors of your credit history.
How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On Your Credit Report?
Hard inquiries can remain on your credit report for up to two years.
Will A Hard Credit Inquiry Affect My Ability To Get Approved For Credit In The Future?
Too many hard inquiries on your credit report can negatively impact your credit score and make it harder to get approved for credit in the future.
Can I Dispute A Hard Credit Inquiry If I Don’t Recognize It?
Yes, you can dispute a hard credit inquiry you don’t recognize by contacting the credit bureaus and showing proof that the inquiry was unauthorized.
Can You Remove A Hard Inquiry If You Were Denied Credit?
It’s possible to have a hard inquiry removed if you were denied credit and the inquiry was made in error.
Can You Dispute A Hard Inquiry That Was Made With Your Consent?
No, successfully disputing a hard inquiry that you authorized is unlikely.