FAQs about Credit Report Inquiries
What are credit report inquiries?
Credit inquiries are requests by a “legitimate business” to check your credit. You can see these inquiries on a credit report under the Inquiries Section. Generally you will see a few inquiries on your credit report if you are shopping for a new car, refinancing a home, or looking for a place to rent.
Where do credit report inquiries appear?
Typically inquiries are toward the end of a credit report in their own section .
What is the difference between a hard and soft inquiry?
According to myFICO soft inquiries are all credit inquiries where your credit is NOT being reviewed by a prospective lender. These include inquiries where you’re checking your own credit (such as checking your score in myFICO), credit checks made by businesses to offer you goods or services (such as promotional offers by credit card companies), or inquiries made by businesses with whom you already have a credit account.
Hard inquiries are inquiries where a potential lender is reviewing your credit because you’ve applied for credit with them. These include credit checks when you’ve applied for an auto loan, mortgage or credit card. Each of these types of credit checks count as a single inquiry.
What are some examples of soft inquiries?
- Checking your own credit
- A company/business you already have a credit card with
- Promotional offers from credit card companies
- Applying to rent a property from a landlord or property manager
What are some examples of hard inquiries?
- Applying for an auto loan
- Applying for a mortgage
- Applying for a credit card
How do inquiries affect my score?
Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score. Hard inquiries will take less than 5 points off your score.
Are there any exceptions or tips you can give me?
If you are shopping around for a home, car or rental property the smart thing to do is reduce your “shopping” period to 45 days or less. Your FICO score will then consider all these inquiries as a single inquiry and only affect your score once.
What if I don’t recognize an inquiry or I feel it is an unauthorized inquiry?
Hard credit inquiries may only be completed with a person’s consent. If you suspect that there has been an unauthorized inquiry with your credit, first establish that the inquiry hasn’t come from a legitimate pre-screening, or through a promotional event. If the legitimacy of the inquiry is still in question, request more information about the inquiry, as well as proof of authorization to run the inquiry. After undertaking these steps, if the authenticity of the inquiry is still suspect, begin a dispute. The inquiring agency has 30 days to respond in writing under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, after which, the reporting bureau is obligated to follow up with the inquiring agency. If proof of authorization is still not provided, then the credit reporting agency is obligated to remove the inquiry from your credit report.