Find out how to remove hard inquiries from your credit report so that your score can improve.
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What is a hard inquiry?
A hard inquiry is a type of credit check that occurs when a lender or service provider checks your credit report to determine your creditworthiness. Hard inquiries are typically initiated by creditors or lenders when you apply for a new line of credit, such as a credit card, auto loan, mortgage, or other type of loan.
Hard inquiries can stay on your credit report for up to two years, but they typically only affect your credit scores for up to one year. Additionally, hard inquiries only count against your credit scores if they are within a certain time period, typically within the past 12 months.
If you have multiple hard inquiries on your credit report from a short period of time, it could signify to lenders that you are in financial distress or that you are trying to open too many lines of credit at once. This could result in lower credit scores and make it more difficult to obtain new lines of credit in the future.
How do hard inquiries affect your credit score?
A hard inquiry is when a lender checks your credit report before approving you for a loan or extending you credit. Hard inquiries can slightly reduce your credit score. The effect is often temporary and disappears after a year or so.
If you’re shopping for a loan or credit card, it’s best to do it within a short period of time, so that all the inquiries are treated as one. This is called rate shopping and is perfectly legitimate.
How long do hard inquiries stay on your credit report?
As a general rule, hard inquiries stay on your credit report for two years. However, they are only factored into your FICO score for the first 12 months. So, if you have several hard inquiries in a 12-month period, they will only have an impact on your score for that year. After that, the inquiries will fall off your report and will no longer affect your score.
How to remove hard inquiries from your credit report
Request a goodwill adjustment
If you have hard inquiries on your credit report, you might be able to get them removed by requesting a goodwill adjustment from the creditor. This is basically a request to have the hard inquiry removed because it’s not an accurate reflection of your credit history or creditworthiness.
To request a goodwill adjustment, you’ll need to send a goodwill letter to the creditor explaining why you believe the hard inquiry should be removed. The creditor isn’t required to grant your request, but if they do, they’ll usually remove the hard inquiry from your report right away.
Dispute the inquiry with the credit bureau
If you notice a hard inquiry on your credit report that you don’t recognize, you can dispute it with the credit bureau. If the bureau agrees that the inquiry is unauthorized, they will remove it from your report.
The first step is to contact the credit bureau in writing and explain that you believe the inquiry is unauthorized. Include any supporting documentation, such as a copy of your credit report with the inquiry in question highlighted.
The credit bureau will investigate and get back to you within 30 days. If they determine that the inquiry is unauthorized, they will remove it from your report. If they determine that the inquiry is legitimate, they will leave it on your report.
Send a cease and desist letter to the creditor
If you find a hard inquiry on your credit report that you don’t recognize, it could be the result of identity theft. In this case, you should send a cease and desist letter to the creditor, demanding that they remove the inquiry from your report.
You can also dispute the inquiry with the credit bureau. If they find that the inquiry was unauthorized, they will remove it from your report.
If you have authorized the hard inquiry, but you still want it removed, you can try writing a goodwill letter to the creditor. In this letter, you explain why you are requesting that they remove the inquiry, and ask them to do so as a goodwill gesture.