How Do I Remove Hard Inquiries from Credit Reports?
Have you ever applied for a loan, credit card, or any other type of credit? Then you were also the subject of a hard inquiry. These are assessments creditors make with your permission. Hard inquiries involve reviewing your personal payment history and assessing if you are a financially responsible individual. But they may also leave a mark on your credit score, causing it to go down a bit. So how do you remove hard inquiries from credit reports that damage your credit scores?
If you ever discover unauthorized hard inquiries, there are things you can do to have the inquiry removed from your credit report.
What is a Hard Inquiry?
Lenders and other creditors perform hard inquiries when you apply for a new loan or credit card. They check to see if you meet their lending criteria. You may also come across the term ‘hard pull’ or ‘hard credit check,’ but these are just other names for a hard inquiry.
The first thing you should know is the difference between a hard and a soft inquiry. Soft inquiries happen at your request when you want to check the state of your credit report. In other words, soft inquiries occur when you request to see your own credit. They also occur if the lenders or creditors check you out before sending you a pre-approval offer. The most important thing to know is that soft inquiries do not impact your credit score.
How Hard Inquiries Affect Your Credit Scores
On the other hand, hard inquiries can leave a ding in your credit score of up to five points. That doesn’t sound like much.
But consider this: credit scores are graded in the 300-850 range. Depending on the lender, you must meet a certain threshold. For example, your lender may need your scores to be at least 680. Imagine you’re score is at 675. Even you’re only shy by a few points, you’re still below the threshold and that will affect the type of loan for which you quality. In other words, a few points really can make the difference.
Generally speaking, the more hard inquiries you have, the more your score may be bumped down. However, hard inquiries stop impacting your credit score after 12 months. They continue to show up on your credit reports for another 12 months but get automatically erased by bureaus after that. In total, hard inquiries stop showing up two years after the original assessment. That’s an 8-year difference compared to Chapter 7 bankruptcy that stays on your report for ten years.
Second, not all hard inquiries impact credit scores. If you are shopping for mortgage rates at different lenders, for example, you may be subjected to a few hard inquiries in a short time. Credit calculator models will consider them as just one inquiry as long as you apply for those loans within a 2-week timeframe.
How to Remove Any Hard Inquiries from Your Credit Reports
Here are the three most basic ways of staying up-to-date with the hard inquiries in your credit reports.
Stay Informed About the State of Your Credit Reports
Your credit reports can get updated as often as every month. Lenders and other creditors report your financial behavior to credit bureaus who then make changes to your reports. The three largest bureaus in the US are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You’ll find similar information on all three reports, but differences are common. Some creditors only report to 2 out of 3 bureaus. You should make a habit of regularly checking your reports.
Be on the Lookout for Inaccurate Hard Inquiries in Your Report
Each time you check out your credit reports, scan the section of ‘Hard Inquiries.’ There may be some inquiries there that you don’t recognize.
At times, the company listed as the one who performed the inquiry is not the one you’ve dealt with. That tends to happen if a retailer works with a bank to manage its credit card program. Thus, you need to look into the matter more thoroughly to assess if the inquiry is legit or not.
Send a Dispute
You should dispute all inquiries that are not legit with each one of the three bureaus. Forward the reports that display the questionable inquiries to credit bureaus.
Three things are most often to blame for incorrect hard inquiries. The first one is that you may have been subjected to a hard inquiry without your consent. Another thing that may happen is an honest mistake. Or, you may be a victim of fraud.
Whatever your case is, the sooner you dispute these inquiries, the better your chances for a quick credit repair process. At White, Jacobs and Associates, we offer support and a whole team of experts ready to navigate you through this often confusing process. Contact us today for a free consultation to get educated on the more intricate and often confusing parts of the process of building great credit.