How to remove credit inquiries?
What is a Hard Inquiry?A hard inquiry occurs when someone you plan to do business with, such as a lender, checks your credit report. They do this to understand the risk you pose as a potential borrower and how you have managed past debt obligations.
Hard inquiries can lower your credit score by up to five points. While they stay on your credit report for two years, they only affect your score for one.
You may also be familiar with soft inquiries, which have no impact on your credit score. Soft inquiries generally occur when you check your credit or when a credit card provider or lender sends you pre-approval offers in the mail.
Related: What’s the Difference Between a Hard and Soft Credit Check?
Why it is important to eliminate inaccurate queriesIf you spot a strong credit inquiry on your credit report and it is legitimate (meaning you knew you were applying for credit), there is nothing you can do to eliminate it other than wait. It will not affect your score after 12 months and will disappear from your credit report after two years.
However, if you spot a hard credit inquiry you don’t recognize, it’s vital to remove it. There are a few reasons for this. First, it means that you’re being unfairly penalized for that error, even if it only has a small impact. Second, it could be a sign of fraud, so it’s important to investigate it further and to get it removed.
How to Remove Inaccurate Hard Inquiries In 3 StepsWhile removing an item from your credit report is not as simple as checking your email, it’s not as difficult as it might sound. Here’s how you can dispute inaccurate inquiries and iron out your credit.
1. Check Your Credit Reports for FreeThe first step is to get your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Often, the same information is recorded on all three, but not always, and that’s why it’s important to check all three.
You can typically pull your credit reports for free once per year on AnnualCreditReport.com. However, due to Covid-19, you can order free weekly credit reports until April 20, 2022.
2. Look for Any Inaccurate Hard InquiriesOnce you’ve received your credit report, there will be a section for “Hard Inquiries.” You’ll want to scan over the entire report to make sure it’s accurate, but pay close attention to the inquiry section. If there are any hard inquiries listed here, make sure that you recognize them.
It’s important to note that sometimes the company listed that made the inquiry doesn’t match exactly with who you did business with. This often happens if a retailer partners with a bank to manage its credit card program.
For example, while you may have thought you were applying for a card with Victoria’s Secret or Sportsman’s Warehouse, you may have a credit inquiry from Comenity Bank, which manages the credit cards for these two retailers. Thus, you may have to do a bit of Google sleuthing to make sure an inquiry is legitimate.
3. Submit a DisputeInaccurate hard inquiries could happen for two reasons.
First, if you were shopping around for a new service, the provider may have checked your credit report without you realizing it. For example, if you’re shopping around for a new cell phone carrier and the company did a hard credit check against your knowledge or approval, that could be grounds for submitting a dispute.
Second, if you find an inquiry that you don’t recognize at all, it could be an honest mistake, or it could be a sign of fraud. It’s important to reach out to the company listed to check. If it is a fraudulent inquiry, it may be a good idea to set up a credit freeze or even a fraud alert.