How Many Points Does Your Credit Score Go Down For An Inquiry?

Credit inquiries are one of the most common questions we get here at Credit Sesame. So how many points does your credit score go down for an inquiry?

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The Basics of Inquiries

An inquiry is when a lender checks your credit report when you apply for credit. Inquiries can stay on your credit report for up to two years, but they only impact your score for the first year. An inquiry only ding your score by a few points, so don’t worry too much about it if you only have a few.

What is an inquiry?

An inquiry is a request for your credit report. When you apply for credit, an inquiry is placed on your report. Inquiries stay on your report for up to two years and can help lenders determine whether to approve you for credit.

Inquiries are divided into two types: hard inquiries and soft inquiries. Hard inquiries are made when you apply for new credit, such as a credit card or loan. Soft inquiries are made when you check your own credit or when companies check your credit as part of a pre-approval process. Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score.

Hard inquiries can lower your credit score by a few points. If you have multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time, it could signal to lenders that you’re in financial distress and may be more likely to default on a loan.

What types of inquiries are there?

There are two types of inquiries: soft and hard. Soft inquiries don’t affect your score. They happen when you or a company checks your credit for information purposes only. For example, when you check your own credit report or when a company checks your credit to pre-approve you for an offer. Hard inquiries can affect your score and are generated when you apply for new credit, such as a credit card, loan or mortgage.

How Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score

An inquiry is when a lender checks your credit report when you apply for credit. Inquiries can stay on your credit report for up to two years, but only the inquiries from the past year are used in your FICO® Score.

Hard inquiries

When a lender checks your credit score before approving a loan, it is called a hard inquiry. Too many hard inquiries in a short period of time can have an adverse effect on your credit score.

Lenders usually do a hard inquiry when you apply for a new credit card, loan or mortgage. Hard inquiries stay on your credit report for two years, but only affect your score for the first year.

After 12 months, hard inquiries will fall off your credit report and will no longer impact your score.

Soft inquiries, on the other hand, do not affect your score. Soft inquiries occur when you check your own credit score or when a lender checks your credit to pre-approve you for an offer.

Soft inquiries

A soft inquiry is when a creditor checks your credit report for informational purposes and does not affect your credit score. Examples of when a soft inquiry may occur are when you check your own credit report or when a creditor checks your report for pre-approval for a credit card offer. While soft inquiries don’t have an impact on your credit score, hard inquiries do.

How to Avoid Inquiries

Inquiries are one of the most common ways that people end up with a lower credit score. An inquiry is basically when someone asks the credit bureau for your credit score. If you have too many inquiries, it can lower your credit score.

Monitor your credit report

One of the best ways to avoid inquiries is to regularly check your credit report and score. This way, you can catch any suspicious activity early, including inquiries that you don’t recognize.

You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also get your credit score from a number of sources, including your bank or credit card issuer, or you can purchase it from a credit-scoring company like FICO® or VantageScore®.

Once you have your credit report and score, review them carefully. If you see any inquiries that you don’t recognize, contact the creditor to find out if they have authorized a pull of your credit. If not, you may be the victim of identity theft, and you should take steps to protect yourself.

Inquiries remain on your credit report for two years, but they generally only impact your score for the first year. So, if you see an inquiry on your report that’s more than a year old, it’s probably not impacting your score anymore and you can disregard it.

Opt-out of pre-screened offers

You can avoid inquiries resulting from pre-screened offers of credit and insurance by opting-out of these offers.

Pre-screened offers are based on information in your credit report that indicates you may meet certain criteria for creditworthiness. For example, you may be pre-screened for a credit card offer because you have an excellent credit score.

If you enter your name and address to receive more information about the offer, the company doing the pre-screening — called a creditor — may do a hard inquiry on your report.

You have the right to opt-out of pre-screening from both creditors and insurers by calling 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting www.optoutprescreen.com.

How to Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report

If you’re trying to improve your credit score, one of the things you may be wondering is how many points your credit score goes down for an inquiry. Inquiries can stay on your credit report for up to two years, and they can have a negative impact on your credit score. But there are a few things you can do to remove inquiries from your credit report.

Wait it out

According to Experian, “Inquiries stay on your credit report for two years and can only impact your score for the first year.” So even though having inquiries on your credit report can be annoying, they won’t be affecting your credit score for long. And if you want them off your credit report sooner, you can always dispute them.

dispute the inquiry

If you believe an inquiry is not accurate, you can dispute it with the credit bureau that issued the report. You will need to provide documentation to support your claim, and the credit bureau will investigate your claim. If the inquiry is found to be inaccurate, it will be removed from your report.

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