A hard inquiry will stay on your credit report for 2 years.
Hard inquiries affect your FICO score for 1 year.
An inquiry will not drop your credit score more than 5 points. However, in many cases it will not cause your score to drop by more than a couple points.
There are times when you can have multiple inquiries and it will not count against your credit score.
In this article we are going to look at the differences between hard and soft inquiries, and how you can remove a hard inquiry from your credit report.
Hard vs Soft Credit Inquiry
There are two types of credit inquiries, hard and soft inquiries. A hard pull occurs when you fill out a loan or credit card application with a lender or credit issuer giving them permission to pull your report.
A hard inquiry will stay on your credit report for 24 months, but are only factored into your credit score for 12 months.
Anytime you check your credit report or score online at sites like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame it does not affect your score, this is a soft credit inquiry.
The credit scores you see from online sites where you can pull your score yourself are not your FICO scores, they are your consumer credit scores. The scores you see online and the score a lender sees will be different.
Here are some examples of hard and soft inquiries
Types of Soft inquires
- Checking your credit yourself online
- When getting a new phone carrier
- Auto insurance companies
- Employer background checks
- Pre-Qualified credit card and loan offers
Types of Hard inquiries
- Car loan or lease application
- When applying for student loans
- Personal or business loan applications
- Mortgage loans
- Applying for a credit card
How much will hard inquiries drop your credit score?
According to FICO.com a single hard inquiry will drop your FICO score by no more than 5 points or less. This is not to say that each hard inquiry will drop your score by as much as 5 points.
Since the credit score ranges are 350-850 and the fact that inquiries only make up about 5% of your score, the maximum points credit inquiries account for is about 40-45 points regardless of how many inquiries you have.
If you have a long establish credit profile with many different types of credit accounts. A single inquiry will have less of an impact on your score than someone with little credit history.
For those with longer established credit profiles a single inquiry may not impact your credit score at all. It is important to limit the amount of hard inquiries on your credit report so you can maximize your credit score.
New accounts make up 10% of your FICO credit score, inquiries make up a portion of the “New Account” category, but is only one of the factors. Because of this, inquires account for 5% or less of your total FICO score.
A single hard inquiry can drop your credit score by as much as 5 points. However, someone with a long, established credit profile will not be as affected by a hard pull as someone with little credit history.
Whenever you apply for a new car loan or a mortgage loan you have a period of 14-30 days to have multiple inquires pulled without it affecting your score. This is known as “rate shopping”. FICO allows for multiple inquires from the same types of lenders so consumers will not be negatively impacted for “rate shopping”.
- Auto loan inquiries have a 14 day “rate shopping” period
- Mortgage loan inquiries have a 30 day “rate shopping” period
When applying for a new vehicle or home loan it’s best to wait until you’re ready to buy before having lenders pull your credit. Only the first inquiry affects your credit score, the rest are ignored if within the rate shopping window.
Why it’s a good thing to have several lenders pull your credit
It’s a good thing to have several mortgage companies or car dealerships pull your credit, as long as it is within the “rate shopping” window. You can use other lenders quotes to help you negotiate the best deal on your loan.
Disputing inquiries on your credit report
You can dispute hard inquires if you believe you did not authorize the company to pull your credit or if there is possible identify fraud. To dispute inquiries you can initiate your dispute by phone, mail, or online with the credit bureaus. The credit bureau will contact the creditor that made the inquiry and make them validate they had your authorization.
If they are not able to validate the credit pull, or fail to respond within 30 days the credit bureau will remove the inquiry.
Consumer Dispute Center
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Phone: 800-916-8800 – 8am-11pm EST
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Phone: (714) 830-7000
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
Phone: (800) 846-5279
Credit Inquiries FAQ
What is a hard credit inquiry?
A hard inquiry is any inquiry you initiate with a bank, lender, or credit card issuer. Hard inquiries do have an impact on your credit score.
How do you get inquiries off your credit report?
If you have an inquiry on your credit report you don’t believe is legitimate. You can dispute the hard inquiry with the credit bureaus, who will investigate it with the creditor.
How long do hard inquires stay on your credit?
Inquiries stay on your credit report for a period of 24 months.
How long does a hard credit inquiry affect your credit score?
Inquires affect your credit score for 12 months. Inquires over the last 6 months will have a bigger impact on your credit score than recent hard inquiries do.
How much does an inquiry lower your credit score?
The amount of points you lose with a single inquiry will depend on your credit profile. If you have a long established credit history, a single inquiry will not have much of an impact on your FICO score. If you have a thin credit profile a single inquiry could affect your credit score by as much as 5 points. The total amount of points inquiries can have on your credit score is estimated to be 40-45 points.
Does it hurt my credit when I check my credit score?
No. When you check your credit score yourself online it is considered a soft credit inquiry. A soft pull does not negatively impact your credit score.
Randall has over 15 years of experience in the mortgage and credit industries. He spends a chunk of time helping consumers understand their credit, advise them on how to increase their credit, and lending his mortgage expertise to help them find the right type of loan. Randall lives in Dallas, Texas with his two sons.