Credit inquiries are when potential lenders request to see your credit file. A single hard inquiry also called a “hard pull,” isn’t likely to impact your eligibility for a new line of credit, such as a credit card. However, it can, in certain cases, affect your credit score for around two years.
How do you get a hard inquiry removed from your Credit Report?
You can write to any of the three major credit card companies to investigate surprise inquiries.
Reviewing Your Credit Report
When you review the inquiries on your credit report, you want to make sure they’re correct.
What does this mean?
For every hard inquiry on your credit report, you need to decide if you gave that credit lender or creditor permission to pull your credit report. If you gave permission, then you don’t have to do anything.
But it may happen when you monitor your credit report that you’ll find an unknown hard inquiry.
If you find one of these, you will want to know how to get it removed.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), credit bureaus must inform consumers when creditors or other business entities perform hard inquiries on their credit reports.
The way that credit bureaus do this is by noting the hard inquiry on your credit report.
To get the inquiry off your credit report, you’ll want to file a dispute with the major credit bureau that created the report and ask them to remove that inaccurate inquiry.
Below we’ll go into more detail about how to find inaccurate inquiries on your credit report and the process of filing a dispute claim.
How to Get Inquiries Off Your Credit Report
The best thing you can do to get incorrect inquiries off your credit report is to file a dispute.
Here’s a rundown of how to file a dispute.
Always Review Credit Reports When They’re Available
You need to make it a habit to review your credit reports regularly from the three largest credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
These credit bureaus won’t know what’s incorrect on your credit report unless you report it.
To look for incorrect inquiries on the credit reports that you get from the credit bureaus, look for the section labeled:
- Regular inquiries
- Requests reviewed by others
- Hard inquiries
- Credit Inquiries
You might also find a section specifically for soft inquiries labeled “Request reviewed by you.”
Soft inquiries, unlike hard inquiries, will not impact your credit score. A soft credit inquiry can occur if you check your credit score using free credit score tracking websites such as Credit Karma.
They appear on your credit report but do not affect your credit score.
Hard inquiries can hurt your credit score or even reduce it.
This is all because anyone who recently applied for new credit can be seen as a risky borrower. You’ll find that this is primarily the case when you carry large credit balances or large loan amounts.
Search for Incorrect or Unauthorized Hard Inquiries
You can send in a dispute to get rid of any hard inquiries if:
- You didn’t apply for a new line of credit, such as a credit card
- You didn’t authorize the credit inquiry
If you did authorize the hard inquiry or applied for the credit account with the credit card company, then you’re unable to remove it from your credit report. It will remain on your credit report to accurately represent your overall credit history.
However, even if the hard inquiry is accurate, the inquiry will be removed from your credit report after two years.
Not Every Suspicious Inquiry Is Fraudulent
There might be some inquiries on your credit report that seems suspicious. There could be more inquiries than you expected, or you may not recognize the company’s name that made the hard inquiry. But these situations don’t always indicate fraud or a mistake.
As an example, you might have hired a loan broker that ended up shopping around to help you find the best possible rate on a loan.
Your broker submitted each application in your name, which could have led to an authorized hard inquiry, even if you didn’t take out a loan with that company.
But if you find any inquiries you can’t find a reason for, then it might be fraud, and you should look into it more.
If Fraud is Suspected, You Need to Act Fast
If you find an inquiry that you know you didn’t authorize and is showing up on your credit report, it could be because:
- Somebody fraudulently applied for credit using your confidential information
- A creditor was able to pull your credit report without your permission
- One of the major credit bureaus mistakenly put that inquiry on your credit report
Has your identity been stolen?
If you find an unauthorized inquiry because somebody applied for credit with your confidential information, it can indicate that someone was able to steal your identity.
You may want to take other steps as soon as you notice the unauthorized activity to prevent that person from using your information even more.
Some things that you should consider doing include:
- Turning on a fraud alert for your credit reports
- Reporting the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission
- Placing a police report
- You might even consider locking your credit or freezing your credit
Be Regular in Checking Your Credit Reports
You should continue to check your credit reports to see if any fraudulent accounts appear after that unauthorized hard inquiry.
If any fraudulent accounts appear on your credit report, you need to contact the creditor to get the account closed.
Suppose you find that a creditor pulled your credit report without permission or that the credit reporting bureau incorrectly put an inquiry on your report. In that case, that incorrect inquiry will harm your credit until you can take action.
It doesn’t matter how the incorrect inquiry got on your credit report. You must file a dispute with the credit bureau with the credit report showing incorrect information. The dispute requests the bureau to take the incorrect inquiry off your credit report.
If Necessary, File the Dispute with the Credit Bureau
If you file a dispute for any errors found on your credit report, the credit bureau must investigate the errors. They’re also required to fix any information they find inaccurate.
You can file disputes with any of the three significant credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax – that show an inaccurate inquiry recorded on their credit report.
You might be able to file disputes for inaccurate inquiries online, but you should consider mailing any dispute. A good idea would be to look for sample dispute letters or a credit inquiry removal letter on the internet to help you write your dispute letter.
If the credit bureau does an investigation and finds that you didn’t authorize the inquiry in question, they should remove it from your credit report.
Impact of Hard Credit Inquiries
A hard credit inquiry’s impact on your credit score will depend on your current situation. For some, hard inquiries can decrease credit scores, which makes it harder to get new credit.
For others, the hard inquiries barely impact their credit scores.
Regularly checking your credit report for any unauthorized inquiries is always a good idea. If you find an inaccurate or unauthorized hard credit inquiry when you do a credit check, you can do something about it.
Getting inquiries off your credit report is as easy as filing a dispute with the credit bureau. When you file a dispute with the credit bureau, they must investigate the claim to see if it’s correct.
If they find that you’re right and the hard inquiry was unauthorized or inaccurate, they must remove it from your credit report.
Never be afraid of disputing what looks incorrect on your credit report because getting incorrect information off your report will help your credit score, which in turn will help you get better interest rates and credit offers.