Are you thinking of how to remove inquiries from your credit report to improve your credit score?
Removing inquiries from your credit report can be done if they are because of identity theft or fraud. Otherwise, if you gave permission for your credit to be pulled, then under the law the inquiries can remain on your credit report. There are different types of inquiries that you need to be aware of before requesting that they are removed.
First, you should make sure you know what inquiries actually are. Do you know what types of inquiries there are and what inquiries can you remove from your credit report?
What Types of Credit Report Inquiries There Are and What Inquiries Hurt Your Credit Score
There are two kinds of credit inquiries on a credit report:
- Hard credit inquiries (aka hard pull)
- Soft credit inquiries
Soft Credit Inquiries
The soft inquiries don’t change your credit score at all, so you don’t have to worry about removing them.
A soft credit inquiry can appear when someone requests to check your credit report, including yourself. Some other common reasons that trigger a soft inquiry are:
- A potential employer checks your report while considering hiring you
- Credit check for insurance
- Yourself checking your credit report
- Your creditors might check your report to send you relevant offers
- A landlord may check your report to decide if you’re a responsible payer
- Internet and phone companies that you applied to receive their services
Soft credit inquires don’t require your permission in opposite to hard credit inquiries.
Hard Credit Inquiries
This type of inquiries appears when you apply for a new credit card, loan, or other financial services related to borrowing money.
Hard credit inquiries can deduct a few points from your personal credit score (5-10 points, but often less). According to FICO, hard inquiries count as 10% fo your overall score.
Although they disappear naturally after 24 months, FICO considers them to determine your credit score only for the last 12 months.
Often, one hard inquiry is nothing to worry about. The only thing you should take into account is to avoid applying for many different loans or credit cards in a short period of time.
This behavior triggers a red flag for creditors and can deduct many points of your credit score.
Note that when you’re searching on the market for the most suitable loan (to buy a car or a house for example) and you check multiple loan offers, the hard inquiries from various companies will count as one. As long as you stay within a time frame of 2-4 weeks, credit scoring companies like FICO understand it and count it as one hard inquiry.
This way, you should try to stay within this time frame (it can be from 14-45 days, depending on the issuer) while searching for a new loan to make hard pulls count as one.
What types of inquiries Can You Remove of Your Credit Report?
You can only dispute hard credit inquiries that happened without your consent. They may be the result of a mistake, identity theft, or fraudulent activity.
This is not a common scenario, but it can happen.
Note that when you apply for a new loan or credit card, you give permission to your issuer to do a hard pull on your credit report. As a result, you can’t remove this kind of hard credit inquiries.
On the other hand, it’s important to check your credit report at least once a year and make sure you recognize all hard inquiries.
If you don’t recognize a certain activity, you can contact the company mentioned in your credit report to ask for more details. If you still don’t recognize this activity, you should contact one of the three major credit reporting bureaus to ask for more information.
Take into account that issuers, businesses or services often use third-party companies to search for better loan terms or other reasons.
This way, you may not recognize a name written on your credit report but that doesn’t mean it’s something you need to worry about.
You only have to ask for more details to make sure you’re not a victim of identity theft. Data breaches and hackers’ attacks can happen, so you may be a victim even if you’re careful and responsible about sharing your personal information.
Further, you can’t remove a hard inquiry if a company declined your request for a new loan or credit card. No matter if they accept or reject your application, it remains a hard credit check that you gave your consent about.
What should you do if you spot an unauthorized activity on your credit report?
How to Remove Hard Inquiries from Your Credit Report
The most obvious and easy way to remove hard credit inquiries from your credit report is to wait for 24 months to fall off naturally. Anyway, they affect your personal credit score negatively for only 12 months (according to FICO).
Otherwise, you can remove hard pulls from your credit report by filing a dispute to three major credit scoring agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Note that not every issuer reports to all three bureaus, so contact only the agencies that have reported the unauthorized hard inquiry.
Each of these bureaus has details on their websites about removing such inquiries from your credit reports. You can contact them by:
- Email (Online)
- Writing a certified letter
If you need to submit a dispute about an invalid hard inquiry on your credit report, make sure you include the necessary details mentioned below. You can use this template for reference:
How to Remove Inquiries From Credit Report Sample Letter
“Your Phone Number”
“Creditor’s details (name and address)”
“Topic: Unauthorized Credit Inquiry”
Dear Madam / Sir
I received my credit report from [insert name of the credit berau]. It mentions that your company reported a hard credit inquiry [Insert the details of the inquiry and attach related files if possible]. However, I never authorized this inquiry. For this reason, I’m sending this letter to dispute this inquiry from my credit report because it negatively affects my credit acquisition and applications for loans.
If you find that I indeed gave my consent for this inquiry, please forward me the relevant documents.
Thank you for your assistance.
Can Your Prevent Unauthorized Credit Inquiries?
Fortunately, you can prevent credit inquiries from happening without your consent using credit freeze (or security freeze).
This means that your credit report is locked and creditors and issuers haven’t access to it.
This way, even if you’re an identity theft victim, they can’t use your identity to obtain credit using your name. It’s unlikely any creditor will approve a loan without checking your credit report.
All three credit scoring companies have programs for credit/security freeze. Of course, not even you can apply for a new credit card or loan during a credit freeze. However, you can permanently or temporarily lift the freeze if you want to apply for credit or a loan.
How To Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report – Summary
You can’t remove a hard credit inquiry that is a result of an application you gave your consent for. However, you can dispute hard inquiries that you didn’t give permission for such as identity theft or fraudulent activity.
For this reason, it’s recommended to check your credit report at least once every 12 months (you can obtain your credit report for free) to make sure that it doesn’t include inaccurate information that can harm your credit score.
Even if you don’t recognize some names that requested a hard pull on your report, it can be third party companies. Investigate the situation more by contacting them before you file a dispute to three major credit reporting companies.
Can You Dispute Inquiries From Your Credit Report FAQs
A hard inquiry only deducts a few points from your credit report (often less than five). FICO considers hard credit inquiries as 10% to determine your credit score. The only real problem is if you have many hard credit inquiries in a short period of time (other than checking for loans).
You can find a sample letter as well as all the details you need to include in the post above.
You can wait for the 24 months period to fall off naturally or send a letter/email to the credit reporting bureaus.
No, soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score at all.
You can only dispute hard credit inquiries that you didn’t give your consent like identity theft or fraudulent activity.
If you’re sure a hard credit inquiry is conducted without your permission, you can contact by phone, letter, or email any of the credit reporting agencies that mention this inquiry on your credit report.
Unfortunately not. It doesn’t matter if they rejected or approved your application.
No, it’s impossible to dispute hard credit inquiries you gave your consent for.
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