Your credit score is an important factor in many areas of your life, from getting approved for a loan to renting an apartment. That’s why it’s crucial to stay on top of your credit report and make sure it’s accurate. Let’s take a look at how to remove hard inquiries from your credit report and tips to improve your overall credit score.
What are credit inquiries?
A credit report contains a record of all your credit accounts, payment history, and any inquiries made on your credit. When someone makes an inquiry on your credit, it means they’ve requested to view your credit report. Too many inquiries can negatively impact your credit score, so it’s important to keep them to a minimum.
A credit inquiry can be made by anyone who has a legitimate reason to access your credit report, including lenders, credit card companies, landlords, employers, insurance companies, and even yourself.
Lenders and credit card companies may make inquiries when you apply for credit or a loan. Landlords and employers may make inquiries as part of a background check. Insurance companies may make inquiries when you apply for insurance.
It’s also worth noting that not all inquiries are created equal. There are two types of inquiries: hard inquiries and soft inquiries. Hard inquiries are the ones that can affect your credit score and require the lender or company to ask your permission before making. Soft inquiries are only visible to you, don’t affect your score, and can be made without your permission. Examples of soft inquiries include when you check your own credit report or when a lender makes a pre-approved credit offer.
How long do hard inquiries stay on your credit report?
Keep in mind that inquiries on your credit report aren’t permanent. While they can negatively impact your credit score in the short term, they typically only stay on your credit report for two years. After that time, they’ll automatically be removed from your credit report.
How do hard inquiries affect your credit score?
- Hard inquiries indicate that you’ve applied for credit or a loan. When you apply for credit, it means you’re seeking to take on more debt, which can be seen as a risk factor by lenders.
- Each hard inquiry can lower your credit score by a few points.
- Multiple inquiries within a short period of time can have a more significant impact on your credit score.
- Lenders may perceive you as a higher risk borrower if you have a lot of recent hard inquiries on your credit report.
How to remove hard inquiries from your credit report?
If you have hard inquiries on your credit report that are inaccurate or you don’t recognize, you can dispute them with the credit reporting agency. You can do this by contacting the credit bureau and providing evidence that the inquiry was unauthorized or not conducted by you. Once the dispute is processed, the inquiry will be removed from your credit report.
If the inquiry is accurate, you can still try to have it removed by contacting the lender who made the inquiry and requesting that they remove it. If you have a good relationship with the lender or if it was a simple mistake, they may be willing to remove the inquiry from your credit report.
While removing unauthorized inquiries from your credit report may not result in a significant boost to your credit score, it is still a recommended practice to ensure the accuracy and currency of your credit report.
How to dispute hard inquiries:
- For Experian, visit https://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html or call 888-397-3742
- For TransUnion, visit https://www.transunion.com/credit-disputes/dispute-your-credit or call 800-916-8800
- For Equifax, visit https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-dispute or call 886-349-5191
What else should you look for on your credit report?
Mistakes can be made by the three major credit bureaus which can result in errors on your credit report. The following are some common types of credit reporting errors:
- Errors with your personal identifiable information (PII), such as an incorrect name, address, or phone number
- Confusion of account information with someone who has a similar or the same name as you
- Listing the same debt multiple times with different names
- Incorrect account information due to identity theft (Brigit can help you with identity theft protection)
- Inaccurate dates (e.g. opening date, last payment date, or date of first delinquency)
- Reports of late payments or delinquencies that are incorrect
- Reporting authorized users as the account owner
- Marking closed accounts as open or vice versa
Balance and data management mistakes
- Incorrect current balance or credit limit
- Reinsertion of incorrect information even after rectification
- Listing the same accounts with different creditors multiple times
How to help your credit
Brigit’s Credit Builder* can help you build credit by reporting on-time payments to the three credit bureaus. Want to learn more? Check out this 30-second video or visit https://www.hellobrigit.com/credit-builder.
*Impact to score may vary. Some users’ scores may not improve. Results will depend on many factors, including on-time payment history, the status of non-Brigit accounts, and financial history. Results show that customers with a starting credit score of 600 or below were more likely to see positive score change results.
Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.