iQuanti: Your credit score provides lenders a way to measure how likely you're able to pay back a loan or credit card balance. They perform a hard credit check to check your score, also called a hard inquiry.
This slightly dings your credit score temporarily, but responsible use of credit quickly outweighs the damage. The trouble comes when you incur too many hard inquiries at once — this can do a lot more damage and cause credit application denials. This article will explain how hard inquiries work and dive into how to remove hard inquiries from your credit report.
How do hard inquiries work?
Lenders run a hard inquiry on you when you apply for new credit, such as new credit cards or loans. This lets them look over your credit score and history to make a lending decision. Many hard inquiries within a short time may be treated as one hard inquiry for certain types of loans, like auto and home loans. Credit bureaus understand the importance of rate shopping for these loans, so all hard inquiries within a couple of weeks may be lumped into one.
How hard inquiries impact your credit
Hard inquiries temporarily lower your credit score. When you don't have much of a credit history, they can have a larger impact. They also reduce your chances of getting approved for new credit if you apply too soon. For instance, if you apply for a loan one week after getting a new credit card, you may be denied despite having a good credit score.
Hard inquiry effects fade after one year. Each hard inquiry falls off your report completely after two years. So, applying for credit sparingly can minimize credit damage.
In general, having six or more hard inquiries is seen as too many. Having this many hard inquiries can significantly impact your score and make lenders more likely to deny you, even if your score is otherwise sufficient.
How can I remove hard inquiries from my credit report?
As mentioned, hard inquiries are automatically removed from your credit report two years following the date they were run. You can't remove legitimate hard inquiries earlier than that. For instance, if you apply for a credit card on Jan. 1, 2022, it will be removed from your report on Jan. 1, 2024.
That said, errors can happen. The credit bureaus may fail to remove hard inquiries from your report after two years, or you may get a hard inquiry through error or even fraud. Request your free annual copy of your credit report from all three bureaus and look for these errors.
If you see any you don't recognize, do some research first — sometimes, the card issuer's name doesn't match the name of the company that actually manages the card. For instance, a retail store credit card account might be listed under the partner bank's name instead of the store name.
If the hard inquiry is truly an error, file a dispute with each bureau immediately. Consider freezing your credit if you suspect fraud and stay in communication with the bureaus until the inquiry is removed.
Keep hard inquiries to a minimum
Hard inquiries may hurt your score temporarily, but the long-term positive credit history you can build is well worth it. Since six or more hard inquiries are seen by lenders as problematic, and hard inquiries fall off your report after two years, wait at least six months between new credit applications.
Additionally, check your credit every year by requesting your free annual report from the three bureaus and dispute any hard inquiries that look incorrect. Keeping your hard inquiries down and cleaning up your report will allow you to enjoy the benefits of responsible credit usage to the fullest.
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Original Source: How Many Hard Inquiries Is Too Many?