Are you looking for the easiest way to remove inquiries from your credit report? If so, you aren’t alone. Today, people across the country are searching for viable and effective ways to remove hard inquiries and improve their credit rating.
The process you must follow to dispute hard inquiries on your credit report requires you to work with the credit reporting agency and the creditor that made the inquiry (in some cases). These hard inquiries are unable to be removed unless they are caused by an act of identity theft. If this is not the case, they are going to fall off on their own after a period of two years.
According to the FCRA – Fair Credit Reporting Act – it requires the credit bureaus (including Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) to let consumers know when a creditor or another business has performed a hard inquiry on your credit report. They do this by making a note of the inquiry in your credit file.
Keep reading to learn more about hard inquiries and how they will affect your credit score. You can also learn how to dispute these on your credit report.
What is a Hard Credit Inquiry?
A hard inquiry occurs if you apply for a new credit card or loan. It involves the lender you are applying for credit with checking one or all of your credit reports. This is done to figure out if you meet the creditor’s creditworthiness criteria. Sometimes, this is referred to as a hard pull or hard credit check.
A hard inquiry differs from a soft inquiry in two ways –
1. Hard inquiries occur when you are applying for some type of financing (i.e., a credit card or loan). A soft inquiry occurs upon your request, such as if you want to check your credit or if a lender checks your credit before they send you a preapproved offer.
2. Soft inquiries don’t impact your credit score, but hard inquiries are going to knock off a few points of your credit rating.
The higher the number of hard inquiries you have on your reports, the riskier that you will be perceived by a prospective lender. Why? Because if you apply for various types of credit regularly, it may show you are financially unstable, and that is going to translate to higher risk in the lender’s eyes.
A hard inquiry is going to stay on your credit report for two years before going away on their own. If you have legitimate hard inquiries, you will probably have to wait until the two years ha passed.
Not all hard inquiries will impact your credit rating. When you are shopping for a mortgage or an auto loan, you will likely have several hard inquiries, because lenders will check your credit to figure out what rate and terms to extend to you in an official offer. As long as you are applying for the loans within 14 days, the credit scoring models in place will consider them as a single inquiry.
Should You Try to Remove the Hard Inquiries?
The idea of removing these hard inquiries off of your credit report to help raise your credit score may sound like a good idea in theory. However, disputing a real hard inquiry isn’t going to result in your score change.
You can dispute the inquiries that are a result of fraud. This may happen if an identity thief uses your Social Security number or other personal information to open a new account under your name.
For most people, a single additional hard inquiry may drop their score by several points, but a new lender is not likely to decline your application for credit just because there are hard inquiries on your credit report. Even though a hard inquiry will take two years to fall of the credit report, the impact is only going to last for a few months.
However, if there are already a few hard inquiries on your report from the past few years or if you have more serious issues that are impacting your credit, a new inquiry my make it harder to be approved for a credit card or preapproved for a loan with better terms and a better rate.
Disputing Inaccurate Hard Inquiries on Your Own
You need to check your credit report on a regular basis to make sure they are accurate. If you notice that there is a hard inquiry that you believe was the result of identity theft, you can file a dispute with the three national reporting agencies to have the inaccurate information removed.
However, it’s not that easy. The first step in the process is to file a report through the credit agency’s Dispute Center and to verify all your information. The next step is to confirm that the inquiry was not caused by identity theft.
Make sure that you don’t recognize the name of the lender before moving forward with the dispute. If you don’t recognize the company, be sure to contact them for more information. If the hard inquiry occurs because of identity theft, the dispute can be handled through the credit bureau. After you have submitted the order, you will have to wait around 30 days to see something happen.
Check What’s Going on with Your Credit Report Regularly
It’s important to check what is going on with your credit report on a regular basis and report any inaccuracies or problems right away. This is the only way that you are going to be able to maintain your newly cleaned credit report. Take some time to look at the general outline of your report a few times a year, as this is going to help ensure you don’t experience any issues that may reduce your credit rating now or in the future.
Being informed and knowing when to take action and dispute problems on your credit report will help you maintain a good score and remove any issues that are inaccurate or that are the result of fraud. Be sure to keep this information in mind moving forward.