Hard Inquiries on Your Credit Report

Before you get annoyed about all those inquiries on your credit report, read this.

Only a hard inquiry affects your credit score.

A hard inquiry is when you apply for a loan or credit card and the lender then pulls your credit report. Only at YOUR request, does the creditor order your report in order to approve your application.

A soft inquiry is when your creditor conducts their periodic check to make sure your credit isn’t going downhill in a hand basket. A soft inquiry does not affect your score in any way, so don’t worry about it.

A hard inquiry stays on your report for two years, BUT…
it only affects your score for 12 months. So, don’t concern yourself with inquiries that are more than a year old. They mean nothing to you.

Your Legal Rights

In order to make a hard inquiry, the person ordering your credit must have your permission. If anyone pulled your credit without your knowledge and consent, they have violated the law; therefore, they must inform the credit bureaus that the inquiry was made in error and to remove it.

Sometimes credit card companies perform massive soft inquiries looking for candidates to send solicitations to. I suggest you stop those immediately by going to http://www.optoutprescreen.com. That way, an identify thief can’t steal the application from your mailbox and open a card in your name.

A court order is a permissible purpose for pulling credit, even without your written consent.

Don’t Make False Accusations

If you applied for credit, don’t accuse the creditor of making an inquiry without your consent.

Likewise, don’t write to Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion claiming an inquiry was unauthorized when it was, because doing so is saying the creditor broke the law when he or she did not.

Stand Up For Your Rights

On the other hand, if you applied for financing with an auto dealership, then later discover 25 inquiries on your report, that is not right, and you have good reason to demand that the auto dealer instruct the credit bureaus to remove them. If a bank or other lender pulled your credit on the sly, they are in violation of the law and must make it right for you.

If you are married in a community property state and your spouse applies for a loan and gives the loan officer your name, social security number, and date of birth, the loan officer may pull both of your credit reports.

No one can pull your credit report without having your social security number. Remember that and keep your SS private when you don’t want an inquiry on your report.

Inquiries That Don’t Count

An employer, an insurance agent, or government licensing agent may pull your credit (with your knowledge and consent), but this type of inquiry does not affect your credit report, so do not be concerned. Your score will not be docked.

The Most Damaging Inquiries

The most damaging inquiries to your credit report would be when you apply for multiple store cards in a short amount of time. This often happens during the holiday season when store clerks entice you to open a credit card in order to save money on your purchase. If you have a Visa card (or two) and a MasterCard, then you don’t need a wallet full of individual store cards. Just say no thank you.

Inquiries make up 10 percent of your score. If you have A credit and you need to apply for financing, you have nothing to fear about a hard inquiry appearing on your report.

If you need to repair and restore your credit,  check out this guide here.