Did you make a credit inquiry to raise your credit score? Credit inquiries can actually lower your credit score. Don’t get caught in the trap of having too many credit inquiries draining your credit score. We will walk you through how to remove credit inquiries.
What is a credit inquiry?
A credit inquiry is a credit check or a credit pull. Credit inquiries happen when a company or person requests to see your credit report. You go through the credit check process whenever you apply for a loan, credit card, or buy a car.
Credit checks give a brief financial history to lenders, so they are helpful for these companies. You may also pull a credit inquiry on yourself to see if there has been any sort of identity theft attached to you or your social security number.
Hard inquiries vs soft inquiries
Hard inquiries also go by the name hard credit check or hard pull. This process occurs when you apply for a loan or credit check. The lender will make a hard inquiry to evaluate your ability to pay back the loan or credit card through your credit score.
Soft inquiries are known as soft credit checks or soft pulls. A soft inquiry happens when you check your credit score. A soft credit check also occurs when lenders are preparing a pre-approval offer.
The biggest difference between a hard and soft inquiry is the hard credit check affects your credit score.
How do hard inquiries affect your credit score?
Hard inquiries send your credit score up a few points and account for 10% of your overall score. The other thing to be aware of is how lenders view hard inquiries. Too many hard inquiries often make you look risky because it seems like you are applying for too many loans. Lenders view this unfavorably.
It also takes two years for a hard inquiry to vanish from your credit score. So, hard inquiries are there for the foreseeable future.
Should you remove hard inquiries?
You may want to remove every hard inquiry on your credit report, but that’s not always the best answer. You should only remove a few hard inquiries done without your knowledge. These happen in situations where you have identity theft, and someone uses your Social Security number or fraud.
The bottom line is that you should only remove hard inquiries if the inquiry occurred without your knowledge, without your approval, or the number of inquiries exceeded what you expected.
How to remove inquiries from credit report
So, removing inquiries is the right decision for you. But what’s next? Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to remove credit inquiries.
Check your credit report
The first step in removing hard inquiries is to evaluate your credit report. You can get a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Don’t assume they are all the same because each report will have different information. Examine all three credit bureau reports: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Credit reports are free annually, so it’s a good financial habit to do this once a year.
Look for inaccurate hard inquiries
Once you get the report, look over the whole thing. There should be a hard inquiries section. Make sure you recognize each hard inquiry on your report. But don’t jump to conclusions if you see any information you don’t recognize.
Often, companies will outsource their credit checks to other companies. This usually happens with store credit cards, so do a quick Google search to see if the name listed on the hard inquiry matches up with a company you recognize.
Submit a dispute
If you find inaccurate hard inquiries, you can file a dispute by mail, phone, or online. Here’s a list of ways to get in touch with the three major credit bureaus.
Dispute errors with Experian
- Online: Experian online dispute page
- Mail: Send a dispute letter to Experian, P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013
- Phone: (888) 397-3742 or the phone number listed on your credit report
Dispute errors with Equifax
- Online: Equifax online dispute page
- Mail: Send a dispute letter to Equifax Information Services, LLC, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374
- Phone: (886) 349-5191
Dispute errors with TransUnion
- Online: TransUnion online dispute page
- Mail: Send a dispute letter to TransUnion Consumer Solutions, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
- Phone: (800) 916-8800
How to write a dispute letter
Are you having trouble writing a dispute letter? Here’s an excellent credit report dispute template. Use this for sending disputes through the mail.
Turn around your credit today!
There’s a lot that goes into your credit report. A credit inquiry is just one piece of the puzzle. Once you have removed hard inquiries that don’t belong, you can use several other strategies to raise your credit. Follow our steps and be on your way to a healthy credit score!
How can I get inquiries removed from my credit report fast?
You can either contact the creditor or the credit bureau. But you should only do this in cases of fraud.
Can you remove credit inquiries from your credit report?
You can remove credit inquiries from your credit report in instances of identity theft and fraud. But your credit inquiries will naturally be removed from your credit report after two years.
Can I remove inquiries online?
Yes, valid errors can be removed online. Each of the three major credit reporting bureaus has online dispute pages.