How to dispute credit inquiries

How to dispute credit inquiries

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If you’ve checked your credit reports, you may have noticed you’re not the only one taking a peek.

Credit card issuers and lenders check your credit reports to gauge risk when you apply.

Utilities use them to decide whether to charge you a deposit.

Companies may check your credit standing so they can market products to you.

Potential landlords and employers may look to see how reliable you are.

Inquiries stay on your report for two years, but not all of them affect your score. Here’s what you need to know about when and how to remove a hard inquiry from your credit report.

How to dispute credit inquiries

How to find and evaluate inquiries

You’re entitled to free credit reports direct from the three major credit bureaus at least once every 12 months. Request them by using .

Look over the section labeled “inquiries.” You’re concerned with hard inquiries , the kind that happen when you apply for credit. Those can cause a small, temporary drop in your score. Soft inquiries, such as when you check your own credit or a marketer screens you for a pre-approved offer, don’t affect your score.

Each credit bureau or website presents information in its own way, but all will label any inquiries that might affect your score. If you don’t recognize something, it’s worth investigating. Reasons you might not recognize the entry range from benign to worrisome:

A store credit card you applied for may be issued through a financial institution with a different name.

Your car loan application may have gone to multiple lenders (a single authorization at a dealership can sometimes result in several inquiries).

Debt collectors are allowed to check credit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, although most often these are soft inquiries.

You may have fallen victim to identity theft and someone is opening fraudulent accounts in your name.

What to do if you spot a problem

If you can’t trace the reason for a hard inquiry or you believe it was done without your consent, you can dispute it online. If the credit bureau can’t confirm it as a legitimate inquiry, it’s required to remove it. Contact each credit bureau individually:

If you suspect fraud, you can have a fraud alert added to your credit reports, which flags applications in your name as requiring extra scrutiny. Alert any one credit reporting agency; it will share information with the other two.

Or, for the best protection, simply freeze your credit with all three bureaus to stop anyone from opening new credit in your name.

Don’t worry about the rest

Legitimate hard inquiries can ding your credit score , but not by much and not for long. “Hard inquiries . represent potential new debt that doesn’t yet appear in the credit report as an account,” says Rod Griffin, Experian’s director of public education.

“Typically, any impact drops off dramatically after a month or two,” Griffin says, either because you did not add the debt, so there’s no risk, or you did open an account and it’s now wrapped into other credit factors.

Some companies say they can remove even legitimate inquiries from your report — for a fee — but NerdWallet advises against using them. As long as you’re not continuing to pile up applications, time will repair any damage to your credit.

Griffin advises keeping perspective because other things influence your credit score more (namely, paying bills on time and using less than 30% of your credit limits ).

“Hard inquiries alone will never be the reason a person is declined” for credit, he says. “Inquiries may be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, but they will not be the entire bale of hay.”

About the author: Bev O’Shea writes about credit for NerdWallet. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, MarketWatch and elsewhere. Read more

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Disputes are an important tool to take control of your credit health. Managing your information is fast, easy, free and secure through the TransUnion Service Center.

If you’ve already started a dispute online, you can log in to check its status.

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Learn about different ways to take charge of your credit health.

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Some of your personal information can be updated online, but some changes require you to mail in supporting documents..


Read about how and when balances update on your credit report and what accounts can be disputed online.


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It’s fast, free and easy to manage a dispute online, but if you’d prefer to dispute by mail or phone, follow these instructions.


To complete a dispute by mail, provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Personal Information: Name, DOB, Address, SSN
  • Name of company that reported the item you’re disputing and the partial account number (from your credit report)
  • Reason for your dispute
  • Any corrections to your personal information (address, phone number, etc.)

Send your documents to:

TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000

Please note: We accept either standard or certified mail.


Talk to one of our dispute experts:

(833) 395-6941
Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM ET

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Use these strategies to help you remove hard inquiries from your credit report.

If you’ve read your credit report recently, then you’ve probably come across the term “hard inquiry,” or something similar sounding.

They make it sound so serious – and quite permanent.

Can you remove hard inquiries from your credit report?

Fortunately, there are proven ways to review and dispute these inquiries which we will discuss below.

Important: This article provides DIY hard inquiry removal. If you don’t have the time or patience to work on your credit, we highly recommend our #1 credit repair company.

What Exactly Is a Hard Inquiry?

In the credit world, when you apply for credit, the lender will “pull your credit,” which is referred to as a “hard inquiry.”

It’s simply an evaluation of your credit by a potential lender.

A lender reviews your credit anytime you apply for a mortgage or auto loan.

Basically, if you’ve requested a business to review your credit for lending, then it’s going to be referred to as a hard inquiry.

Why Should I Care about Hard Inquiries?

Hard inquiries are different from other inquiries listed on your report because they will affect your FICO score.

Anytime you give a lender permission to pull your credit, it’ll be reported on your credit history.

You may be wondering what happens if you need to shop multiple lenders for a loan.

After all, there are times you need to compare lenders when you need a mortgage or auto loan – and they all need to pull your credit.

Thankfully, while you are shopping for your particular loan, you will be granted a 45-day time period to receive multiple rate quotes which will all count as only one hard inquiry.

So is there a way to dispute a hard inquiry and have it removed?

It’s possible a hard inquiry can affect your score as much as 5 points.

And here’s another shocker – A hard inquiry can stay on your report for up to two years.

After all, two years is a long time when you’re working hard to improve your credit score.

Three Steps to Have Hard Inquiries Removed From Your Credit Report

Since a hard inquiry can impact your score, let’s talk about legitimate ways of how to remove hard inquiries from your credit report.

Quick Tip:

If you did not authorize the lender to make a hard inquiry of your records, then you can dispute it!

1. Review Your Credit Reports for Free

Your first step in reviewing hard inquiries is to pull your own credit reports.

But don’t worry, you won’t be dinged for checking your credit because as a consumer you are entitled to a free report annually from each of the credit bureaus.

The three credit agencies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. But you can also visit MyFICO for obtaining your reports and your credit score.

It’s tempting to not look at your credit too often, but trust me, knowledge is power!

You’re not only evaluating your current score, but you’re confirming if the hard inquiries listed are legitimate.

2. Locate the Hard Inquiries Listed on Your Report

Locate the section in your report containing the Hard Inquiry information.

Equifax and Experian make it incredibly easy for you. You will see a header titled “Hard Inquiries.”

With TransUnion, you will want to look for the “Regular Inquiries” section.

Take a look at all the inquiries listed. Pay close attention – did you authorize this lender to access your information?

If you aren’t sure if this is worth your time to review your report, believe me, it is.

There are over 1.3 billion transactions monthly being reported to the credit agencies. It’s very possible a mistake could occur!

If they are not legitimate, then you have recourse. Once you’ve identified the unauthorized (or inaccurate) hard inquiry, then it’s time to dispute it.

3. Dispute an Unauthorized or Inaccurate Hard Inquiry

Remember, if you did request the credit inquiry because you were applying for a loan, then you can’t dispute it with the agencies.

But if something looks suspicious, then let’s take action.

If you find you could have a case of identity theft you’re dealing with, then you will need to file a police report.

You would need the information from your police report to help you dispute the unauthorized inquiry.

If you think this is a case of a mistake in reporting, then you can work directly with each bureau.

File A Dispute with Each Credit Bureau

Since you receive three different credit reports, you’ll need to dispute the inquiry with each corresponding bureau.

Disputing a hard inquiry is a fairly straightforward process.

As a consumer, you have the right to send a letter of dispute to each agency.

The agencies have step-by-step instructions for submitting the dispute online.

However, you should take it a step further and send your dispute via certified mail too.

Remember, you can use a template to ask the agency to verify the accuracy of the inquiry.

You will need to continue to follow up to make sure the inaccurate inquiry is removed.

You’re your best resource to make sure your credit report is properly restored.

Warning about Credit Disputes

Credit disputes don’t always work (or at least not immediately).

When our co-founder, Mark Huntley, filed an Equifax dispute, they lowered his score by 72 points that same day! (Don’t worry, it came back, and then some, shortly).

But the point is, you may want professional help when dealing with the credit bureaus.

Or perhaps you’ve tried removing the inaccurate hard inquiries yourself but haven’t had success, then it’s time to call the professionals.

If you’ve ever searched for a credit repair company, then you’ll quickly realize there are a lot of choices and some really horrible sounding reviews of many of them.

We like to recommend The Credit Pros. Not only are they super helpful in removing inquiries, but they also offer the lowest monthly credit repair plan cost in the industry, and have a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

How to dispute credit inquiries

Credit inquiries can impact your credit score. Hard inquiries can lower your credit score, while soft inquiries won’t have an impact.

Table of Contents

What is a Hard Inquiry?

Hard inquiries, such as those made by credit card companies, mortgage companies, and other similar institutions, can have serious effects on your credit score. These types of inquiries stay on your report for two years, but usually only affect your credit score for the first year.

Hard inquiries that you have authorized, such as through a credit card application, cannot be removed from your credit score, and will have to be mitigated with other credit repair strategies.

However, hard inquiries that you have not authorized can be removed from your credit report with a credit inquiry removal letter. Below we’ve provided some tips for removing unauthorized hard inquiries from your credit report, as well as a credit inquiry removal letter template for your professional use.

Removing Hard Credit Inquiries From Your Credit Report

A credit inquiry letter is really the only guaranteed way to remove a hard inquiry from your report. However, there are some additional steps besides just filing your dispute letter that will make this process easier.

Know Which Hard Inquiries Can Cause Problems

If you are shopping around for a house or a new car, you may have multiple hard inquiries as you talk to different creditors. As long as this is done within a relatively short time span, typically within 45 days, the credit bureaus will recognize this and not penalize you for all of the inquiries.

Be Mindful of Racking up Hard Inquiries

You can manage the amount of damage that hard inquiries do to your report in the first place by being mindful of what types of accounts or applications require them.

If you space these applications out over long periods of time, between six months to a year, you can see less damage to your credit score, and may find it easier to recover. This may not be possible in all circumstances, but it can be a good credit management strategy.

Use a Professional Credit Repair Company

Disputing a credit inquiry is a waiting game. If you would rather not take the time, you can hire a professional, experienced credit repair company to write the letter and do the waiting for you. They will contact TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian on your behalf. They can also help with other negative items listed on your credit report.

When Do You Use a Credit Inquiry Letter?

Credit inquiry letters are typically used to identify or reverse fraud. If you are the victim of identity theft, a thief could be using your information to open credit cards and hitting your profile with hard inquiries, making a credit inquiry letter essential to recovering from this attack.

Credit inquiry letters can also be used as a way to ask a bureau if an inquiry was actually legitimate. Because these inquiries can take some time to process, you may only find this helpful if you are seriously skeptical of an inquiry on your report.

Sample Credit Inquiry Removal Letter

Complaint Department
[Insert the bureau’s address]

Request for Investigation of Unauthorized Inquiry

To Whom It May Concern:

I received a copy of my credit report from your organization on [insert date of report] and I noticed an unauthorized inquiry had been made by [insert name of creditor].

I contacted [creditor] and asked them to remove their credit inquiry from my credit profile.

I request that you initiate an investigation into [creditor’s] inquiry on my credit report to determine who authorized the inquiry. If you find that I did not authorize the inquiry, please remove the inquiry from my credit file and send me an updated copy of my credit report.

If, however, you find the inquiry valid, please send me a description of the procedures used in your investigation within 15 business days of the completion of the investigation.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

[Your Signature]
[Your Printed Name]

Enclosures: [List what you are enclosing.].

Information to Include With Your Inquiry Removal Letter

You should take the time to personalize your credit inquiry letter based on your situation. This can make your letter much more effective, and it will be taken more seriously. Here are a few rules you should stick to:

  • Be courteous: Remember that there is a person on the other end of the letter, and it helps to be kind instead of combative.
  • Send copies, not originals: Your letter should include a copy of your credit report with the disputed inquiry circled, it should not be the original copy. You should also include a dispute form with your letter, which can be found at each bureau’s website.
  • Edit beforehand: Have someone else proofread your letter, ideally someone who has sent a letter like this before.
  • Use certified mail: Send the letter and accompanying enclosures by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. This way, you will receive a notice when the bureau has received the letter.

Below, you’ll find the addresses for the three major credit bureaus, to which you’ll send your letter.

It’s good to know how to remove hard inquiries from your credit report because they can ding your credit score – or be an early warning of identity theft.

By Carla Fried | American Express Credit Intel Freelance Contributor

6 Min Read | October 28, 2020 in Credit Score

How to dispute credit inquiries



When you apply for a loan or a new credit card, your credit report will receive a hard inquiry that can lower your credit score – but typically by only a few points.

A legitimate hard inquiry usually can’t be removed. But it disappears from your credit report after two years, and typically only impacts your score for about one year.

If you find an unauthorized hard inquiry on your report you can file a dispute and request that it be removed.

Whenever you apply for a loan or new credit, lenders usually ask for a close look at your credit report. With your permission, lenders and other creditors make a “hard inquiry” so they can review the details of your personal financial life to help them consider whether to approve your application and what terms to offer you if they do. Each hard inquiry can cause your credit score to dip – yet another reason to regularly monitor your credit report and credit score.

In the event you discover an unauthorized hard inquiry, there are steps you can take to file a formal dispute and request that the hard inquiry be removed from your credit report. Here’s what you need to know about how the credit bureaus handle inquiries, the impact of certain types of inquiries, and how to request the removal of an unauthorized hard inquiry from your credit report.

Don’t Sweat the Soft Inquiries

Before you request to remove any inquiry from your credit report, it’s worth knowing that in the world of credit reports your file includes both “soft” inquires and “hard” inquiries – and you thought only taco shells came in hard and soft versions.

  • Soft inquiry: This is usually a non-event because it doesn’t impact your credit score. When you check your own credit score, that’s a soft inquiry. If a creditor or lender you’re already doing business with wants to check your score that’s also considered a soft inquiry. Businesses that want to know if you’re a good candidate for a preapproval offer can also make a soft inquiry.
  • Hard inquiry: A lender makes a hard inquiry when you make a formal request to borrow money – when you apply for any type of loan, apply for a new credit card, or ask to have your credit card limit raised.

If you receive a preapproval marketing pitch for a credit card, that’s likely the result of a soft inquiry. If you then follow through and apply, that triggers a hard inquiry, which is also sometimes called a “hard pull.”

Hard Inquiries Can Ding Your Credit Score

Only hard inquiries can impact your credit score, and federal regulations require any business that wants to make a hard inquiry to first get your permission.

Hard inquiries on your credit report, along with any new accounts you’ve recently opened or loans you’ve received, together account for 10% of your FICO score. FICO credit scores are the most widely used by lenders and creditors. Even though a hard inquiry will hurt your credit score, it’s generally only a minor dip. FICO says a single hard inquiry will typically cause a drop of less than five points. 1 To learn more about how different factors influence your credit score, see “What Affects Your Credit Score.”

Hard Inquiry Removal

When you discover an unauthorized hard inquiry, it’s a good idea to check if your credit report is also listing a new credit card or a loan that you don’t recognize. That could indicate identity theft – more about that later.

If you see an unauthorized hard inquiry without an associated fraudulent account, you can request that the unauthorized hard inquiry be erased from your account by filing a formal dispute with the credit bureaus. Because the government and the credit reporting industry recognize credit reports can be error-prone, they provide a way to dispute your credit report. Here are the main steps:

  • Get a copy of your credit report, look for hard inquiries and make sure you recognize – and authorized – all that you find.
  • If you find an unauthorized hard inquiry, write a dispute letter or fill out an online form to report it and request its removal.
  • You’ll need to collect documents to support your claims.
  • Each bureau – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – lets you file disputes through online forms, telephone, or postal mail.
  • Allow 30 days or less to get the results of a dispute investigation.

Multiple Similar Hard Inquiries Get Special Treatment

The two most popular credit scoring models don’t ding you for being a smart consumer who shops around for the best loan. FICO typically doesn’t factor in similar hard inquiries from different lenders if they’re made within 30 days. This applies when you’re shopping for car loans, mortgages, and student loans. A new version of FICO that lenders may use counts all similar checks made within 45 days as one hard inquiry – but it usually takes years for lenders to adopt new credit scoring models, so banking on 30 days is safer.

The VantageScore system developed by the three major credit bureaus has a two-week window for similar hard inquires, recording them as only one. 2

You Can’t Remove Authorized Hard Inquiries

Legitimate hard inquiries can’t be removed from your credit report. But they do fade away. A hard inquiry that you authorized will show up on your credit report for 24 months, but it only impacts your credit score during the first 12 months.

Unauthorized Hard Inquiries May Be an ID Theft Warning

Whether you prefer do-it-yourself credit report monitoring or use a credit monitoring service to keep an eye on your reports, it’s important to watch for and act on any unauthorized hard inquiries that show up. They can be a sign you’re a victim of identity theft.

Identity thieves usually piece together enough of your personal information to apply for a loan or credit card posing as you, which will trigger a hard inquiry on your report. If that happens, it’s a good idea to contact the lender or credit card issuer ASAP, alert them to the fraud, and follow their directions for shutting down the account.

You may also want to consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report, which makes it harder for thieves to open a new account posing as you. An even stronger protection is to put your credit report under a credit freeze. A freeze prevents any business from making any type of inquiry. When you’re shopping for a loan or credit, you can “unfreeze” your credit report to allow an authorized hard inquiry to go through.

The website maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a free step-by-step guide to help you deal with identity theft. 3

The Takeaway

Lenders and creditors will ask your permission to make a “hard inquiry” check of your credit report when you apply for a loan or credit. An authorized hard inquiry stays on your credit report for two years and can have a small negative impact on your credit score for up to a year. If you find an unauthorized hard inquiry on your report you can file a dispute and request it be removed.

How to dispute credit inquiries

You applied for a loan and found out that it was not approved. You are informed that your credit profile does not meet the underwriting guidelines but you can get a copy of your credit report if you want to dispute the inquiries you have with the business credit bureaus. When this happens, you will want to do whatever possible to remove the authorized inquires from credit reports to increase your credit score. Today we will discuss how to remove credit inquiries from your credit report.

What Is an Inquiry?

An inquiry is a document record that has the details of who has reviewed your credit report. Whenever anyone reviews your credit report, it is shows up on your inquiry and is on your credit report for two years, unless the inquire is disputed and removed.

A credit profile has two different types of inquires; hard inquires and soft inquires. You can learn how to remove authorized inquiries from credit report for either.

Hard Inquiries

A hard inquiry is a credit request that you initiate yourself such as submitting an application for approval. It is called a hard inquiry because it is derived from the hard data used by a creditor. A hard inquiry negatively impacts credit scores and lending decisions so if this shows up on your credit report, you should learn how to remove it.

When the creditor pulls up your credit report and sees a hard inquiry, it is a red flag. The creditor presumes that the inquiries will lead to an increase in your debt. Lenders get extremely concerned when they see a hard inquiry because it says that have been overspending and making late payments.

Each time you submit an application to a bank results in a request to view your credit. Hard pulls are really impactful when your credit report shows an excessive amount. This is the biggest reason to why you need to learn how to remove authorized inquires from credit reports.

A hard inquiry reduces a credit score by 5 points. If there are three hard inquiries or more, this indicates the credit applicant could be in financial trouble.

Soft Inquiries

When you request to view your own credit report, soft inquiries requests are not visible to anyone and do not affect your credit score. They are also known as soft pulls. Soft inquiries include employer credit check or credit reviews done by existing creditors.

How to Dispute

You have the right to dispute any kind of inquire on your credit report. When you are disputing, a credit bureau or creditor verifies your authorization, or they remove the inquiry. Creditors have certain time fames to follow and when they fail your dispute is deleted by their inability to meet a preset deadline.

If you cannot remember requesting credit from a company that appears as an inquiry on your credit report, send a letter of dispute because the burden of proof is on the creditor or the bureaus. There are times when a company makes a hard inquiry without your authorization. If this happens, you need to proactively dispute the validity of the hard inquiry.

Alternative Ways to Remove Inquiries

Find the company’s address and send a dispute letter to remove the inquiry. It is best you send this letter by certified mail, so you have proof of delivery. Below are other tips to helm you remove inquiries from credit reports.

  • The best time to dispute a hard inquiry is between November through January.
  • Remember to contact each credit bureau independently.
  • Only dispute creditors you have no relationship with and dispute it as a fraud. For the incorrect inquiries that you do have relationships with you must contact directly.
  • If you have an Experian hard inquiry, call them to report your discovery and ask them to remove duplicate inquiries that are over two years old.

The Bottom Line

Credit scores affect lending decisions. Be sure to remove any inquiries on your credit report that you believe are a mistake as quickly as possible. Lenders are more likely to give you funds if you have a good credit score and no hard inquiries on your credit report.

How to dispute credit inquiries

You’ve applied for multiple lines of credit and checked your credit score a few too many times. You’re not being approved, but you’re not sure why.

For starters, you should know that too many credit inquiries on your credit report will start to have a negative impact on your score. If you’re suffering from perpetual bad credit (despite your best efforts), there may be a deeper reason that your credit score isn’t as high as you would like, and multiple credit inquiries aren’t helping your cause. Let’s take a look at what types of things could be affecting your credit and how you can begin to fix your credit.

Table of Contents

How Do Credit Inquiries Affect My Credit Score?

Credit inquiries actually don’t individually affect your credit score that much. According to FICO, a single inquiry only affects your score by less than five points. As such, if you’re stressing about a single credit application or inquiry into your credit score, don’t. It shouldn’t have any lasting effects on your score.

However, if you’ve made multiple applications, or inquired many times about your score, that number will go up. Especially in the case where your credit history is quite bare, you might see a larger impact. If your credit history is short and you don’t have much credit to speak of, it could have a larger impact. If there are inquiries you did not authorize, you can dispute the inquiry with the credit bureaus.

Hard Inquiries

There are two different types of credit checks; hard inquiries and soft inquiries. A hard inquiry is when a bank or lender checks your credit score and history in order to determine if you qualify for a loan. Hard inquiries will negatively affect your credit score, usually by only a few points per inquiry.

Soft Inquiries

Soft inquiries include credit checks done by loan companies that want to pre-approve you for an offer that you haven’t applied for. It also includes free annual credit checks done by yourself. Soft inquiries will not affect your overall credit score.

This brings us to take a more detailed look into exactly why your credit score could be suffering. It might not simply be due to credit inquiries, and there could be other issues at play. Let’s get to know some other issues that could lower your credit score.

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on Your Credit Report?

A hard inquiry will generally appear on your credit report for up to 2 years (12-24 months), but it should only impact your actual credit score for up to 12 months, or 1 year. So, each time you have a hard inquiry into your credit, you’ll see that item appear on reports from each of the three credit bureaus and stay on those reports for about 2 years, but your FICO credit score should only be impacted for a maximum of 12 months.

Why Isn’t My Credit Score Improving?

Making Payments on Time & Lowering Your Credit Utilization

Before applying for any new lines of credit, it’s always a good idea to step back and examine your financial habits. Making your loan payments on time is a huge part of your credit score. This means, if you’re paying on time for a while and then you miss a few months, those missed payments are still going to be considered on your credit report. The best thing you can do for your credit score is to work on consistency. Work on a reasonable budget and make your payments on time.

The second largest aspect of credit scoring is credit utilization, so if you work on making payments on time, you’re also working on the second issue. Credit utilization is a measure of how much credit you’re using in total as compared to what your maximum limit is. If your limit is $1000 and you’re using $995, your credit utilization is high. Your score will benefit greatly from paying off some of that debt.

Credit Report Mistakes

The next area that could be weighing down your credit is that you have mistakes on your report that you’re unaware of. In some cases, certain negative items may errantly show up on your history multiple times. Another example of that would be issues appearing as unresolved, even though they have been taken care of. This could happen if you’re working with a few companies to resolve a debt, such as a bank and a debt collector. We’ve provided sample letter templates and information on how to remove these mistakes.

Fraudulent Account Inquiries & Credit Applications

Lastly, if you’re making payments on time, lowering your credit utilization, and you’ve cleared up any mistakes and your score is still looking pretty sad, there could be a possibility of fraud on your account. If your personal information (like social security number) has been stolen, scammers may be opening new accounts in your name without your knowledge. These accounts are neglected, often over-utilized and never paid off, which has a terrible impact on your credit score. Plus, each time a new account is opened, you’ll have a hard inquiry drop your credit score a few more points. However, you will be able to see all open accounts on your detailed credit history report. If you’re checking for mistakes every year, which you should be, you most likely already saw some lines of credit that you don’t recognize. It is also possible to dispute having too many hard inquiries on your credit report.

Having multiple hard inquiries in a short time could drop your credit score. While credit unions will recognize if you are shopping around for a car, it’s better to not have too many inquiries in quick succession. If you suspect fraud or don’t understand why your score isn’t improving, it may be time to consider credit repair services.

For more letter templates and disputing items on your credit report, visit our dispute letter resource center.

How to dispute credit inquiries

How to dispute credit inquiries

How to dispute credit inquiries

Because inquiries on your credit report can cause your credit score to drop a bit, you might be inclined to remove them. However, hard inquiries—those that are made because you applied for more credit—can not be removed unless they are inaccurate or fraudulent.

Since hard inquiries have only a small effect on your credit score and they go away after two years, you shouldn’t waste your time trying to get them taken off your report. The wiser action is to limit the number of credit applications you make over a short period of time.  

Credit Inquiries or Credit Pulls

Businesses that extend credit—including credit card issuers and mortgage lenders—check your credit when you make an application for services with them. Reviewing your credit enables these businesses to determine whether you qualify for the type of account or service you’re applying for.

The major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—keep a record of all the businesses that have requested your credit report or your credit score. This record is listed in a separate section of your credit report for inquiries. All the credit inquiries—which are also referred to as credit pulls—made to your credit report within the last 24 months are listed on your credit report.  

Hard vs. Soft Credit Inquiries

Hard inquiries are the only type of credit pull that can affect your credit score, and they’re the only ones that businesses will see on your credit report. Credit inquiries that don’t affect your score and don’t appear on your report are called soft pulls. Examples of soft inquiries include you checking your own report and a potential employer accessing it during a background check. And credit card issuers may do soft inquiries when they are preparing promotional card offers.    

Credit inquiries carried out by insurance companies when you’re seeking quotes for various kinds of policies are considered soft inquiries and do not show up on your credit report.

Effect on Scores

A hard credit inquiry typically deducts less than five points from your FICO credit score, according to FICO, which is one of the two main companies that calculate credit scores. (The other is VantageScore.) FICO’s range of possible credit scores goes from 300 to 850.

While they are taken into consideration, hard inquiries aren’t all that important in generating a FICO Score. FICO says the number of hard inquiries in a person’s report accounts for only 10% of the score.

Although a hard inquiry remains on your credit report for two years, FICO considers only hard inquiries from the past 12 months when determining your credit score.

FICO also recognizes periods when you might be shopping around for the best rate on a particular type of loan and so combines all inquiries for that same type of loan into one inquiry—as long as they occur within fairly close proximity. The number of days in the shopping period actually depends on the request made by the potential lender; it could be 14 or 45. FICO also disregards shopping periods that occur 30 or fewer days prior to the generation of a score.  

If you’re rate shopping, do it within as tight of a time frame as possible to enable the multiple inquiries to be combined.

Why Lenders Use Hard Inquiries

Since inquiries can reveal whether you’ve been shopping for credit recently, potential creditors can attempt to predict whether you’ve recently taken on other debt that will make it harder for you to pay off the credit card or loan you’re applying for.

According to FICO, consumers with six or more inquiries on their credit report can be up to eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people with no inquiries. That is why the company considers hard inquiries made within the past year in its credit scoring calculation—and why lenders consider them in making decisions about extending credit.  

Verifying Unfamiliar Inquiries

It’s important to check your credit reports periodically to ensure they are free of errors. If there are unfamiliar credit inquiries on a report, you should first try to verify them. Contact the business in question and ask them to explain the nature of their inquiry.

Experian offers four scenarios in which a legitimate hard inquiry can appear to be fraudulent   :

  • Someone who did a home repair for you may have checked your credit report to see whether you could be trusted to pay the bill.
  • If you looked for the best mortgage rate online or otherwise worked with a mortgage service provider, your request could have been sent to more potential lenders than you realized.
  • Similarly, a car dealership may have sent your auto loan application to multiple banks to find you the most favorable interest rate.
  • If you applied for a credit card for use at a particular store, the inquiry may not clearly identify the store but may instead name the bank that runs the store’s credit card program.

Removing Inaccurate Inquiries

If there are inaccuracies, you can have them removed by filing a dispute with the credit bureau. You can do that online, by phone, or in writing, according to the instructions on the credit bureau’s website.

You should also ask the credit bureau about the possibility any inaccurate inquiries were the result of identity theft. Consider placing a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit report to prevent further unauthorized inquiries and potentially the opening of fraudulent accounts.

The credit bureau is required to do an investigation with the company whose inquiry you’re disputing. If the investigation shows the inquiry was indeed included on your report in error, the inquiry will be removed.

Removing Legitimate Inquiries

Trying to remove an inquiry that resulted from an application you actually made is next to impossible. Credit bureaus have a right to report accurate information within the proper credit reporting time limit. You can’t remove inquiries from your credit report simply because you decided against a new line of credit or you don’t like having the inquiry there.

Fortunately, hard inquiries are not a big cause for concern. They can affect your credit score only slightly—and only for one year. And you have the power to limit the number of hard inquiries on your report by minimizing the number of credit applications you make over a 12-month time frame.

How to dispute credit inquiries

“The more, the merrier” saying does not apply to credit inquiries. Whenever you apply for credit, the lender obtains (inquires) a copy of your credit report from one or more of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) The inquiry appears on your credit and it influences the calculation of your credit score. The only inquiries that affect your credit score result from your attempts to secure credit. Inquiries of your credit by employers have no bearing on the calculation of your credit score.

How Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score

Credit inquiries contribute around 10% of your credit score. Recently opened credit accounts in different credit categories immediately diminish your credit worthiness in the eyes of lenders. However, lenders perceive installment loans such as home mortgages more favorably than they perceive new accounts like revolving credit cards. The number of credit inquiries over the past two years influences your credit score. This is important to note for consumers that apply for multiple credit cards over the holidays. Your credit score automatically decreases 12 months after a credit inquiry, but the inquiry remains on your credit report for two years. Prospective employers that meticulously examine your credit history ignore the credit score and place more emphasis on your recent credit history.

Is It Possible to Remove Credit Inquiries?

Our Lexington law credit repair firm helps clients improve credit scores by implementing strategies that include removing inquiries from credit reports. The first step we take involves requesting a copy of your credit report to examine every credit inquiry that appears at the bottom of the page. We consult with you to ensure every item that appears in the credit inquiry section is a credit request you have authorized. If you did not authorize a credit inquiry, we take immediate action to have the inquiry removed from your credit report. Businesses tend to respond more swiftly to credit inquiry disputes formally filed by attorneys.

Quick Response to Our Disputes

You can deal with unauthorized credit inquiries, but you can expect delays in the handling of your disputes by creditors and the three major credit bureaus. After you hire us to remove inquiries from your credit report, we immediately begin to correspond with each creditor by sending an initial email followed up with a certified letter in the mail clearly stating you never authorized the credit inquiry. To stop companies from performing unauthorized inquiries, we strongly urge our clients to order a freeze on their credit reports. A credit report freeze prevents lenders and creditors from receiving your credit information. Moreover, a credit report freeze prevents identity thieves from taking out loans in your name.

Our Lexington law credit repair firm helps clients navigate the choppy waters of restoring the faith of lenders. You might need our services only to dispute a credit inquiry. However, we also refer clients to credit repair companies that deal with credit issues more significant than inquiries. A credit repair professional can help you improve your credit score by interacting directly with lenders and creditors.

How to dispute credit inquiries

An inquiry is the term used in the world of credit reporting to describe the record of someone pulling or accessing a copy of your credit report. There are two type of inquiries; soft and hard. The actual record of the inquiry is very simple contains only two pieces of information. First, the inquiry shows the data of the access into your credit report. Second, the inquiry identifies the company or party that did the accessing.

Soft inquiries, such as those that occur when you check your own credit reports, are nothing to worry about from a credit score perspective because nobody sees them but you. However hard inquiries, such as those that occur when a lender checks your credit, do have the potential to negatively impact your credit scores. If you pull your credit reports (remember, that’s a soft inquiry) and discover hard inquiries that you do not recognize it can be somewhat upsetting. Your credit scores could potentially be damaged by inquiries that you did not authorize.

Because of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) you are able dispute information on your credit reports which you believe to be incorrect or caused by fraudulent activity. This means that you have the right to dispute anything including accounts, collections, public records, and, you guessed it, inquiries. In fact, inquiries that you do not recognize should be disputed since they are sometimes a sign of identity theft. Here’s how…

Dispute Process

The dispute process for a hard credit inquiry is essentially the same as any other type of credit dispute. In case you are not familiar with the credit dispute process afforded to you under the FCRA, here is a brief overview.

    Initiate the Dispute

To begin the dispute process you have to notify the credit reporting agencies (CRAs) – Equifax, Trans Union, and/or Experian – that you disagree with information on your credit reports. You can initiate your dispute via mail, online, over the phone, or even by fax.
The Investigation and Verification

The CRAs contact the company (aka data furnisher) who is reporting the allegedly false information on your credit reports. The data furnisher either confirms the information is accurate or, if the data furnisher agrees that incorrect information is being reported, requests that the information be updated or deleted.

Your Results

The CRAs either update the information on your credit reports, delete the information, or leave the information unchanged. Whatever the results, the CRAs are required to send you updates with the results of your investigation within 30-45 days after you initiated your original disputes.

The Catch

Although it is possible for you to dispute hard inquiries on your credit reports just like you can dispute any other information, it may be less likely for you to actually see an inquiry deleted. The credit reporting agencies will generally remove inquiries from your credit reports that are deemed to be a result of identity theft. However, if a hard inquiry appearing on your credit report was simply unauthorized and not fraudulent then you may have a difficult time having the inquiry deleted because it is a matter of fact that someone pulled the report, which is all the inquiry is meant to convey.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released an opinion letter on this very subject which states “The fact that a consumer report was requested “in error” does not nullify the fact that the report was furnished; that information must be retained by the CRA so that it can comply with [the Fair Credit Reporting Act].” To be a little more clear, even if a lender agrees that your credit report should not have been pulled that does not change the fact that the CRAs did indeed share copies of your credit reports with the lender. At that point it’s a crap shoot as to whether or not the credit bureaus will remove the inquiry.

How to dispute credit inquiries

Nicholas Aja

Seeking advice / direction.

As all do, I qualified with multiple lenders seeking the best terms / interest rates.

My credit score has been destroyed from this though, because each inquiry is noted individually. I now have 6 hard inquiries.

Unless I totally misunderstood something, it was my understanding that as long as inquiries were filed within a certain amount of time, that they would only appear as one.

I had 2 in September and 4 in November.

Can I dispute these? If so, how?

Thanks in advance,

How to dispute credit inquiries

  • Posts 9.5K
  • Votes 10K

Chris Mason (Moderator) –

There’s nothing to dispute. You inquired about credit 6 times. So, 6 credit inquires appear on your credit. That’s accurate. I can sit here and “dispute” that I’m middle aged all I want, it’s not going to change my hairline.

And that’s not why your credit is low right now, anyways. You closed in December, meaning your first mortgage payment was probably due Feb 1, but it probably hasn’t reported to your credit yet.

So, to summarize:

– You are now several hundred thousand dollars in new debt.

– If you’re a first time buyer, your credit history probably has zero track record of managing hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.

– You have zero on time payment history on that debt. You have (as far as what has been processed by the credit reporting agencies) not made even a single payment on that hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Of course your FICO is low. Until you establish that on-time payment history, objectively speaking, it should be low. It’s a measure of how risky it is to lend you more money, at the moment. What percentage of people in your position absolutely max themselves out in terms of how much mortgage they can get, and then the week after closing open and max out 5 credit cards to get furniture, none of which they can actually handle? Huge risk! It’s an accurate reflection of how much of a credit risk you are right now.

It’s all good though. Once you establish that on-time payment history, typically, your FICO score will wind up higher than it was in November 2020. Getting a mortgage (that you pay on time) helps your credit, it is undeniably true, but there’s some nuance in the early/mid-stages of it, where you are at right now.

With the increase in utilization of mobile banking, many of us can secure our financial stability by simply using our phones.

We can check the amount of money we have, and even identify the time and place any type of purchases were made.

Furthermore, most of us take advantage of the one free credit report we are allowed each year.

Unauthorized Credit Checks

However, there may be some inquiries that we do not recognize.

This may be a sign of an individual seeking credit through fraudulent means, such as taking out credit using your name.

It does not mean that you are subject to identity theft.

One thing we are unaware of is that we can take the same action for unknown inquiries as we do for unknown purchases.

You must deal with this circumstance promptly to minimize the amount of damage it could do to your future credit score.

The steps needed to dispute an inquiry involves:

  1. Identifying the types of inquiries. There are two types, the first is a “soft” inquiry which is not identified as fraud. This may be a prescreening for credit with various store you often visit, an employer or an insurance agency. It can be a promotional inquiry that may have been acquired through applying for a retail store account. Some of these inquiries may not even be marked as promotional. On the other hand, “hard” inquiries are made when an individual tries to take credit out using your information. This can affect your credit score, decreasing it by a few points, and may even affect your chances of taking out the best loans, car deals, home sales, etc.
  2. Contact the Creditor. You may call the creditor assigned to that inquiry, and find out what it was for. Most companies utilize a third party to execute any credit checks, and you may not recognize the names. Speaking with the creditor may clear up any confusion you had, or give you insight on how you are subject to fraud.
  3. Look over your three major credit reports. Equifax , Experian , and TransUnion are three major credit bureaus that companies often go to when seeking your credit report. As mentioned, you are allowed one free report through the website a year. You may use each report given and identify if any others have picked up the inquiry. You may dispute any other inquiries made with any of the three, and they will send a verification request to that credit company. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act , creditors have 30 days to verify your data. If you do not get a response within that time period, they are obligated to remove the inquiry.
  4. Freeze your credit report. For added security, you may take the option to freeze any or all of your three credit reports. This makes it impossible for any additional creditors to view your report. However, some collection agencies, creditors, and even the government may still view it if they had prior access to it. You may be charged for freezing and unfreezing credit reports. The cost of this action can vary from state to state , you may be charged a fee between $2 to $15. You must contact each individual credit reporting agency to freeze your report. TransUnion offers individuals the option to put fraud alerts on their reports as well . They are legally obligated to notify Experian and Equinox of this alert, and each of your reports will be put on alert. This effect lasts for 90 days after you get the confirmation, and even if the inquiries are disputed, you will still be warned of any fraudulent inquiries during that 90 day period.

If you are subject to identity theft, you must also take additional steps to protect yourself:

  1. File a complaint about identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allows you to file a complaint online . You will receive an Identity Theft Affidavit directly from the FTC website after you submit a complaint. It is critical that you save and print this document because it is only available to view once after getting it online. This is an important document, that is key to any future investigations needed to be made if you are in fact a victim of identity theft.
  2. Get the local police department involved. Bring a copy of the Identity Theft Affidavit you received from the Federal Trade Commission’s website to a local police department you reside in. In addition to this, you must also bring a photo ID (government-issued), and a proof of residence (government mail, mortgage, utility bill) to file an official report. This is an essential step to take since it separates those who are actual victims of identity theft from the ones who are just willing to lie to a law enforcement agencies to remove items from their reports. This may be an incredibly simple step that a lot of individuals overlook.
  3. Send a letter to the creditor. If the responsible party for the inquiry is not helpful when it comes to the unauthorized item in your report, you may send them a letter asking for proof of authorization. The Federal Trade Commission has sample letters available that may serve as a guideline. You must also send them a copy of your identity theft report, comprising of the Identity Theft Affidavit and police report you filed with the department. If they do not take any action to investigate the matters, you may hire an attorney. It is important to save all of the conversations you have with the creditor as it may be used as evidence against them.

Most of the time, following these guidelines will resolve the issue with your credit report, and the unauthorized inquiries will be removed.

However, if no action was taken in resolving your issue, you may file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against the three major credit bureaus and the creditor involved.

You may also want to hire an attorney specializing in consumer law.

Not to long ago TransUnion had a server error, where the company had deleted a ton of inquiries from consumer credit reports, then proceeded to reinsert those inquiries BACK to the consumer credit reports! Now, heres the deal, TransUnion failed to follow the LEGAL procedure to actually do so!

Would you like to find out how you can remove most to all of your inquiries from your TransUnion credit report?

Follow these important steps for a quick “do it yourself” approach to removing hard and soft inquiries reporting to your TransUnion credit report.

Keep in mind this will ONLY work for TransUnion inquiries.

Step One.

You will need to pull and obtain an official copy of your credit report. In this case Credit Karma and

will not (i repeat WILL NOT) work for this process. I recommend using ScoreSense or Credit Check Total to monitor and pull an accurate credit report.

Step Two.

After listing the inquiries reported on your TransUnion credit report you will need to call the TransUnion 1-800 (watch video for the full number) to speak to a representative and tell them that you have been a VICTIM of their “inquiry issue”. Make sure to keep the list of inquiries from your credit report close, as you will need to list off the inquiries to the representative; they will remove them for you.

Step Three.

Remember now, the bureaus are not here to help, rather then keep you as a victim of poor credit because they PROFIT from BAD CREDIT. You may or may not run into the conversation with the representative stating that you were NOT a victim of their faults with the misreported inquiries.

Step Four (Alternate Approach)

In the case of denial to remove the inquiries- visit the consumer finance website to file a complaint. This is the website for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Find the tab to file a complaint through their website under the category of “credit reporting.” List your inquiries desired to be deleted, and include that their customer service would not help and take care of the negative inquiries reporting to your credit report.

Step Five.

Once you have completed steps 1-4 check back to your credit monitoring site in about 5 days (maybe a few more) and

There should be no remaining inquiries on your TransUnion credit report.

I want you to keep in mind how important this can be for your credit rating…

Inquiries affect your credit score typically weighing it down to a negative impact; by following these simple instructions you can and will see a increase in points to your TransUnion credit score.

Would you like to talk more about the benefits of having good credit, or receive a FREE consultation?

How to dispute credit inquiries

Hard Credit Inquiry Removal is one of the most effective and fast strategies to boost your credit score. Each recent hard credit inquiry can cost you up to 5 points on your FICO score. We can remove hard credit inquiries from your credit report in 24 hrs. Fill out this form and we will get back to you with a quote the same day.

Here is the best way to get rid of hard credit inquiries from your credit report:

This may be your first time hearing the word “credit inquiries”… don’t be alarmed this topic is becoming more and more popular… As credit card use is on the rise so are these notorious “credit inquiries” Every time you give a business permission to run your credit while applying for financing in some way, you will most likely get a hard credit inquiry. Too many of these hard credit inquiries and your credit score will be affected for the worse. They can even stay on your credit report for up to two whole years. It is in your best interest to get these removed asap.

Do I really need to get hard credit inquiry removal?

No, of course not. No one will make you remove these hard credit inquiries. But the question is do you want your credit score to be at its best? If so, then you surely want to get these removed. In the grand scheme of things hard credit inquiries only play a minor role impacting your overall credit score. But these little inquiries can make a big difference depending on how many you have and what you are trying to do…

What is a hard credit inquiry?

Each time you apply for credit for the first time you will receive a hard credit inquiry. You receive these because the creditor pulled your credit profile and it is a way of tracking the way you use your credit. For example: if you have too many inquiries it will show the credit bureaus that you are looking to get a high credit limit. This can lead to many other questions… Basically, it can be perceived that you are a risk with too many of these inquiries in just a short amount of time. Now that is just one example. That is why it is best not to have too many of these inquiries and even get them removed right away.

There are two kinds of credit inquiries

  • Hard credit inquiries show up on your credit score whenever you apply for credit for the first time and you give permission for them to pull your credit. These inquiries affect your credit score.
  • Soft credit inquiries happen when your credit is checked after the first time. Credit card companies will do this to see if you qualify for certain credit cards and so forth. That is why you get “pre-qualified” letters from credit cards in the mail. It does not mean that they did a hard pull on your credit, but they have just checked your credit profile.

“I have a lot of credit inquiries, is this hurting my credit score?”

  • Unfortunately, yes. Too many inquiries will lower your overall credit score and you can even be automatically denied because of them…
  • Having too many inquiries can raise a lot of questions to potential creditors. The basic question is why do you have all these inquiries? Unfortunately, you cannot explain yourself when they do a hard credit pull. Most of the time it is automated and it is just a fact that you have these inquiries… That is why it is best to get them removed to eliminate all possible doubt with your potential creditors.

How Hard Credit Inquiry Removal Works:

Keep in mind that all credit inquiries must be removed from your credit report after 2 years. If you do not have any plans on using your credit for anything serious in the next two years it might just be best to wait. But if you do plan on using your credit relatively soon, then it is wise to get them removed. Here is what you can do to get started:

Step #1
Get access to your 3 Bureau Credit Report. There are numerous credit monitoring websites out there that can provide you with your three bureau credit report. Find the one you are most comfortable with and take some time to review that report. You will want to find the section that says “inquiries” Don’t worry, you will not get a hard credit inquiry for just ordering your 3 bureau credit report…

Step #2

Get the address for each of the hard credit inquires. Some credit monitoring websites will provide the address freely, others will not. You need to get the addresses to your hard credit inquiries one way or another. It is a necessary step to begin the dispute process. If you have difficulty finding the address, try using a different credit monitoring website. Last case scenario, you will want to try and call the credit bureaus yourself.

Step #3
Draft a letter to each of the creditors asking them to remove your inquiries. The Fair Credit Reporting Act only permits authorized inquiries to show up on your credit report. You will want to challenge them in a sincere way and ask for proof that you gave them permission to give you a hard credit inquiry. If they cannot provide proof, according to The Fair Credit Reporting Act, they must remove that inquiry…

Step #4
Some creditors will provide data showing that you gave them permission. You will want to observe these documents very closely and look at the facts. Many times there can be irrelevant, wrong, or strange information. If that is the case stand firm and try to make your point. If they are unwavering you can let them know you will contact the State Banking Commission. Make sure to send your mail via certified mail so you will know when they receive it. They can ignore you and if they do that will be even more grounds for you to get your inquiry removed.

Here is what some clients say about our services

Starting Credit Repair and Hard Credit Inquiry removal.

If your credit ratings have been taking a beating it is time to do something about it. It is essential that you come to a stop and assess your debt situation. Bear in mind that your credit rating affects various aspects of life. Making it possible to:

    • obtain loans
    • lease cars
    • acquire lines of credit
    • and purchase a home on mortgage.

Therefore, if you suffer from bad credit and a lot of hard credit inquiries life may get tough…

Various financial institutions, real estate agencies, and even potential employers use your credit score to make a final decision. So, what can someone do to help eliminate bad credit? Well, this is where hiring a credit repair firm like Credit Repair Co may come in handy, where professionals work with you to help to:

    • save you money
    • lower interest rates on loans
    • and gain better financial position in the future.

Why hire Credit Repair Co for hard credit inquiry removal?

When you sign up for a credit repair service like Credit Repair Co, you are allowing professionals with years of experience in the field of financing and budgeting to take charge of working with credit bureaus and creditors on your behalf. Not only does this help you step-by-step in improving your credit score. It also helps you resolve financial issues. They even offer a 3 year warranty for making sure that your credit remains clean.

How to dispute credit inquiries

You’ve probably heard that certain credit inquiries are bad for your credit profile, and naturally, you may have wondered how to remove credit inquiries. Let’s jump into the details, including a quick review of how credit inquiries work and a rundown of how you can remove hard inquiries.

Credit inquiries: Quick review

Any time you apply for credit, the lender will gather information about you to decide if they want to lend you money, how much, and at what interest rate.

To accomplish this, lenders will often access your credit report. Your credit report is a statement of information about your credit history and current credit situation. It contains details about current and past, including the amount you borrowed and your payment history. In addition to lenders, other entities—like employers and landlords, for example—can check your credit as part of their due diligence process.

You actually have more than one credit report. That’s because there are multiple credit report agencies (or bureaus). The major three are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Credit scores are calculated based on your credit report. There are multiple companies that calculate credit scores, including FICO and TransUnion. Each three-digit score is based on a different model, so your scores might vary across providers. Lenders often consider your credit score in conjunction with your credit report.

Each time an entity accesses your credit report—“pulls” your credit—it is considered an inquiry. There are two types of inquiries:

  • A hard inquiry is generated when a potential lender accesses your credit report as part of an official loan application. Hard inquiries are done with your permission and can affect your credit score.
  • A soft inquiry happens when you check your own credit or when lender does a preliminary credit check to offer your pre-approval. A soft inquiry can happen without your permission or knowledge, and won’t affect your credit score.

Why worry about hard inquiries?

Soft inquiries are not recorded on your credit report and do not impact your credit score. This means checking your own credit report will never hurt your credit score—a common misconception.

Hard inquiries are recorded on your credit report and might impact your credit score. Credit scoring models focus primarily on your payment history, credit utilization ratio, and the types of credit that you have—but they also consider any new loans you might be taking out. Since a hard inquiry indicates you’re applying for new credit, it can sometimes hurt your credit score.

Credit inquiry removal: How to get started
If you’re wondering how many hard inquiries you have—and if any of them could be removed—the first step is checking your credit reports. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus. Remember, checking your own credit report has no impact on your credit scores.

If you order all three reports at the same time, you can easily do a side-by-side comparison, but you won’t be able to order any more free reports for 12 months. As such, some experts recommend staggering your requests throughout the year so you can view a new report every four months.

Credit inquiry removal: Erroneous inquiries
If you find a hard inquiry that you believe is an error, you can dispute it by phone, written letter or online. The Consumer Finance Protection Board recommends that you dispute the error with the credit bureau itself and also with the company who provided the hard inquiry (known as the furnisher). If the hard inquiry is determined to be inaccurate and your report is corrected, the furnisher must notify all the credit bureaus.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have certain rights—including how disputed information is investigated. Make sure your follow the proper process to take full advantage of your rights.

If you think the erroneous hard inquiry might be due to identity theft or fraud, you’ll need to take additional steps, such as freezing your credit or enabling a fraud alert to lessen the chances of future fraudulent actions.

Credit inquiry removal: Accurate inquiries
If a hard inquiry on your credit report is the accurate result of a credit application you submitted, there’s nothing you can do to have it removed. Credit bureaus are not required to remove accurate information unless it can’t be verified.

Credit inquiry removal: How much will it help your score?
The degree to which a hard inquiry hurts your score—and therefore how much it would help to have it removed—depends on your unique situation and the particular credit scoring model. For some borrowers, the impact will be neutral; for others, a hard inquiry can knock several points off their score, so removing an erroneous hard inquiry could improve their score by a few points.

Keep in mind, too, the effect of a hard inquiry on your credit score is relatively short-lived. The hard inquiry stays on your credit report for two years, but it stops impacting your credit score after about one year.

RISE is here to help you build a better financial future. With RISE, you borrow what you need, when you need it. Apply for an online installment loan with RISE today.

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I couldnt find this information anywhere. so i decided to post it for you guys.
This applies to Equifax ONLY.

Let’s start off by going to their website.
Currently it’s located at Equifax Personal Solutions: Credit Reports, Credit Scores, Protection Against Identity Theft or Please Wait For Page To Load.
On the page you will see the ‘Online Dispute’ tab.
After clicking the tab, you will need to input a ‘zip code’, and click ‘Submit’.

After clicking submit, you will have two choices to dispute. Either you have a ‘confirmation number’ or you can dispute everything manually.

“If you do not have a confirmation number, click here to start your investigation.” CLICK THERE
This step is for the manual disputes to do credit inquiries.

You can only dispute 6 items at a time with the manual disputes. If you are disputing Credit Inquiries, replace the account number with ‘INQUIRY 05/10/2007’. The date will need to be the exact inquiry date that appears on your credit report. If you have different dates, then you will need to dispute each one. The name of the company that appears on the credit report inquiry needs to be filled under the Collection Agency, Courthouse, or Credit Company Name.

Normally, they will remove all inquiries EXCEPT if there’s an open account with the same creditor around that inquiry date.

Just for Equifax.

Are there ways to dispute inquiries on Transunion and Experian?

I couldnt find this information anywhere. so i decided to post it for you guys.
This applies to Equifax ONLY.

Let’s start off by going to their website.
Currently it’s located at [URL=””]Equifax Personal Solutions: Credit Reports, Credit Scores, Protection Against Identity Theft[/URL] or [URL=””]Please Wait For Page To Load[/URL].
On the page you will see the ‘Online Dispute’ tab.
After clicking the tab, you will need to input a ‘zip code’, and click ‘Submit’.

After clicking submit, you will have two choices to dispute. Either you have a ‘confirmation number’ or you can dispute everything manually.

“If you do not have a confirmation number, click here to start your investigation.” CLICK THERE
This step is for the manual disputes to do credit inquiries.

You can only dispute 6 items at a time with the manual disputes. If you are disputing Credit Inquiries, replace the account number with ‘INQUIRY 05/10/2007’. The date will need to be the exact inquiry date that appears on your credit report. If you have different dates, then you will need to dispute each one. The name of the company that appears on the credit report inquiry needs to be filled under the Collection Agency, Courthouse, or Credit Company Name.

Normally, they will remove all inquiries EXCEPT if there’s an open account with the same creditor around that inquiry date.

Trying to apply for credit and getting turned down? There’s a few things to be cautious about and over applying is definitely one of them. Below we’re gonna explain what exactly is a hard inquiry, how they affect your credit, why you might want to report them and how.

What’s a Hard Inquiry?

When you apply for credit, whether it’s a loan, mortgage, or even a credit card, the financial institution checks your credit. This is what’s called a hard inquiry. Those checks into your credit which ultimately affect your credit score and will show on your credit report. These hard inquiries affect your credit by maybe 3-7 points. This can be recovered easily in a few months. The issue becomes when you have multiple hard inquiries. These can easily collect up to 100 which has a huge hit on your credit. The financial institution is looking for these because the more you have the more you’re searching for credit which can be a red flag. No one’s going to loan credit to someone who’s actively searching in multiple places. It can show unreliability and that you’ll be less likely to afford to pay them back along with everyone else you’ve filled with in request for credit. Being known as a risky borrower isn’t something many people want, especially when you need credit for whatever reason.

How do they Affect your Credit?

Typically a single hard inquiry wouldn’t affect anything. Like mentioned above you could recover in a few months. It is when you have multiple that can affect you. It may be hard to keep the number of hard inquiries down because they are required for multiple things. Loans, mortgages, credit cards and even keep a good credit score. Life takes unexpected turns so trying to limit the amount of times you need credit or apply for it can be impossible to control.

Why Report Them?

To try to be cautious and wary of your credit score, you want to keep track of them. Go through them and make sure you know the financial institution or the cause behind each inquiry. You can typically find your inquiries on your credit report under “inquiries” or “requests viewed by others.” Another thing you need to be wary of is to not confuse soft inquiries with hard inquiries. A soft inquiry is when you’ve personally checked your credit score, these don’t affect your score. It’s the hard inquiries you need to be cautious of. If there’s one that you don’t know about, that’s when you can dispute it and get the best luck.

You don’t want to just dispute any and all hard inquiries. You sign and give permission for a financial institution to check into your credit and do an inquiry. If there’s one that you don’t recognize or that wasn’t done with your permission or done legally then you have every right to dispute it and you should. You can read more here about why you should report a dispute.

How to Report a Dispute

After you’ve found a hard inquiry on your credit report that doesn’t belong or one that you know wasn’t done with your permission then you can dispute it. You’ll start by filing a dispute. The credit bureau is required to investigate the dispute within 30 days of your filing date.

There’s a few places you can get help and tools to help you file a dispute. These can make the process easier and ensure it’s done properly. You can file through major bureaus such as Transunion, Equifax, or Experian. Once the dispute is filled the bureau will investigate it. If they find that the inquiry was unauthorized then it will be removed from your credit report and you’d be notified.

We hope this was helpful and gave you a better understanding of what a hard inquiry is, the effects it has on your credit and the steps to finding unauthorized ones and how to dispute them. Having hard inquiries can be impossible to avoid. Most are authorized (and needed). However, sometimes a financial institution can accidentally run two, or one may be done without your authorization. This is when you have the ability to dispute them and have every right to do so.

A credit inquiry is a request by a legitimate business to check the credit history of a potential customer. There are hard and soft inquires, but only hard inquiries will affect the FICO score.

Soft inquiries include inquiries that the person makes on his or her own credit score as well as inquiries made by businesses that want to send promotional material or offers for credit cards.

Hard inquiries include inquiries made by a potential lender to decide if they want to extend credit to the consumer.

Large Number Of Hard Inquiries

A large number of inquiries on a credit report can make it extremely difficult or impossible for the consumer to buy a house, car or any purchase that requires credit.

Consumers should take the time to review their credit report to find out if there are any unauthorized credit inquiries on their credit report.

If this is the case, they can send a credit inquiry removal letter and have all or some of the hard inquiries removed. This would most likely raise their credit score.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers have the right to dispute any inaccurate information on their credit report.

How To Remove Hard Credit Inquiries?

Credit inquiries are a reasonable way for a lending institution to determine if a person is a good risk before they lend them money.

When they make a hard inquiry it will show on the consumer’s credit report. If this is done without the consumer’s knowledge or permission, it may result in too many inquiries that will lower the consumer’s credit score.

The consumer should view their credit report at least once or twice a year to see if there are any irregularities. If they are applying for credit and constantly getting turned down, it may be because their credit score is unfairly low.

3 Major Credit Bureaus

The first thing to do is make a request to the three major credit bureaus; Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

If the credit bureaus are able to identify the consumer’s identity, and there is no freeze on their report, they can order it online. Otherwise, they need to submit the request by phone or through the mail.

The consumer will find a list of enquires on the credit reports from the past two years. They should make a list of any that are unauthorized along with the company’s contact information and the date of the inquiry.

This list will be added to the credit inquiry removal letter sent to each of the credit bureaus. Each dispute will need to be put on a separate form. The form can be downloaded from the credit bureau’s websites.

Time For Research

It may take from 30 to 45 days for the dispute to be researched by the credit bureau. They need to contact each company to determine if the inquiry was authorized or not. Any unauthorized inquires will be removed from the consumer’s credit report.

They will inform the consumer that they are removing the inquiries. It may take up to 30 days to update the credit report. The consumer should order another copy of their credit report after 30 days to make sure the unauthorized inquires have been removed.

Here is a sample hard credit inquiry removal letter. It needs to be sent by certified mail to each of the three main credit bureaus. Any enclosures should be copies. No original documents should be sent.

Sample 1 – Hard Credit Inquiry Removal Letter

Billie Jean
234 Jelly Avenue
Longside, NJ, 08095
SSN: 123456789

February 5, 2020

Credit Bureaus Name
Credit Bureaus Address
City, State, Zip Code

RE: Hard Credit Inquiry Removal Request

Dear Sir/Madam: unless the name of the agent is known

The purpose of this letter is to have several unauthorized hard credit inquiries removed from my credit report. I have received a copy of my credit report from your bureau on 01/23/2020 and noticed that there are three unauthorized inquiries listed.

The unauthorized inquiries are listed below, and I have also highlighted them on the enclosed copy of my credit report.

Item One Name of Company
Item Two Name of Financial Institution
Item Three Name of Credit Union

I have sent letters to these three companies and asked them to stop the unauthorized inquiries and have them removed from my credit report.

However, it has been 60 days and I have had no response from them. The letters were sent by certified mail, so I am sure when they were received.

Kindly investigate my claim in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you find any unauthorized inquiries, please remove them as quickly as possible and send me a copy of my new, accurate credit report.

Thank you for your timely attention to this matter. I can be reached at 555-123-4567 or at [email protected] if you need any further information.

Billie Jean
List of Enclosures

Sample 2 – Hard Credit Inquiry Removal Letter

Jay Smith
123 Oak Street
Camden, NJ 12345

P. O. Box 122
New York City, NY 20009

RE: Hard Credit Inquiry Removal Request

Dear (Name of the Recipient or Sir or Madam):

I am writing to request several credit inquiries that were unauthorized be removed from my credit report. On April 18, 2020, I received a copy of my credit report and became aware of five inquiries that I did not authorize. They are as follows:

1. Name of the Inquiring Company
2. Name of the Inquiring Company
3. Name of the Inquiring Company
4. Name of the Inquiring Company
5. Name of the Inquiring Company

Each company has received a letter sent by certified mail stating that the inquiries were not authorized, and I have requested them to be stopped. In addition, I have asked for their removal from my credit report.

In keeping with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I am asking that my claim is investigated and any and all unauthorized inquiries removed from my credit report. I would appreciate a copy of my credit report once the inaccuracies are removed.

Credit inquiries are the way businesses determine a person’s credit worthiness. There are two types of credit inquiries.

A hard inquiry occurs when potential lenders check the credit history of a person requesting a loan. This type of inquiry affects the credit score. When there are several of these types of inquiries, a credit score can be lowered substantially. Since the credit score is used to determine credit worthiness, too many hard inquiries can make it very difficult to obtain a loan.

How to dispute credit inquiries

A soft inquiry is when a person checks their own credit. It is also known as a soft inquiry when companies check a credit history in order to offer credit cards or other types of credit in a promotional way.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects people from credit inquiries without their permission. It was enacted to provide privacy, accuracy, and fair credit reporting. This act also allows a consumer to dispute any inquiries and/or information on their credit report that they believe to be inaccurate.

What To Do When There Are Too Many Hard Inquiries

People should check their credit regularly for inquiries that were not authorized. When unauthorized inquiries are found, it is important to send a credit inquiry removal letter to each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TranUnion.

Use a polite tone rather than getting upset and threatening. It can be frustrating to be turned down for credit due to inaccuracies; however, showing concern and a desire to clear the matter up in a civil way is much more likely to result in a speedier result.

The letter should include the name and contact information for each company the consumer believes has made an unauthorized inquiry. This letter needs to include the date of the unauthorized inquiries as well.A dispute form will need to be filled out for each credit inquiry that is in question.

Each credit bureau has a form that can be downloaded. Include the forms with the credit inquiry removal letter to each credit bureau. A copy of each dispute form, as well as the letter, should be kept by the person for their records.

Once the letter and forms are received, the credit bureaus will investigate the disputes. They will contact each company that performed the inquiry. If they find they were unauthorized, they will be removed from the credit report.

The amount of time it takes to contact the companies and determine if the inquiries were unauthorized typically takes 30 to 45 days.

The removal normally takes approximately 30 days to appear on the credit report. Removing inaccurate information, particularly hard inquiries, will typically result in a higher credit score.

Sample Credit Inquiry Removal Letter

(Name and Address of the Person Sending the Letter)
John Smith
123 Oak Street
City, State 12345
(Sender’s Social Security Number)

(Date of the Letter)
June 5, 20xx

(Name and Address of the Credit Bureau)
P. O. Box 000
City, State 00000

Credit Inquiry Removal Request

Dear (Name of the Recipient or Sir or Madam):

I am writing to request several credit inquiries that were unauthorized be removed from my credit report.

On (date of receiving a copy of your credit report) January 10, 20xx, I received a copy of my credit report and became aware of five inquiries that I did not authorize. They are as follows:

1. Name of the Inquiring Company
2. Name of the Inquiring Company
3. Name of the Inquiring Company
4. Name of the Inquiring Company
5. Name of the Inquiring Company

Each company has received a letter sent by certified mail stating that the inquiries were not authorized, and I have requested them to be stopped. In addition, I have asked for their removal from my credit report.

In keeping with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I am asking that my claim is investigated and any and all unauthorized inquiries removed from my credit report. I would appreciate a copy of my credit report once the inaccuracies are removed.

Written by: Kristy Welsh

Use this letter to ask for removal of credit inquiries.

If you have recently aquired copies of your credit reports, you may notice an “Inquiries” section toward the end of each of the reports. These credit inquiries will be broken into two types — soft inquiry and a hard inquiry. You will want to have any unauthorized hard inquiries removed from your credit reports as these may be affecting your credit score. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows only authorized inquiries to appear on your credit report. Inorder to remove a credit inquiry, you must challenge whether the inquiring creditor had proper authorization to pull your credit file. Remember, this letter is only an example and you MUST edit it to fit your particular situation.

Check out all of our sample credit repair letters to handle a variety of credit repair situations. Also, visit our bookstore where you can purchase eBooks on credit repair, debt settlement, and 95 sample letters — all available for instant download.

Credit Bureau Name
Credit Bureau Address

Re: Request to Remove Unauthorized Credit Inquiry

Dear Sir or Madam,

I recently received a copy of my (insert name of bureau) credit report and I notice there is an unauthorized credit inquiry made by (insert name of creditor). I do not recall authorizing this credit inquiry and I understand you shouldn’t be allowed to put an inquiry on my file unless I have authorized it. I am requesting you initiate an investigation into (insert name of creditor) inquiry to determine who requested this credit inquiry.

If you find I was not the one who authorized this inquiry, I ask that it be removed immediately from my credit file. Please be so kind as to forward me documentation that you have had the unauthorized inquiry removed.

If you find that I am in error, then please send me proof of this.

Thank you in advance,

(include a copy of your credit report)

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

How To Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report

When reviewing our credit reports, we often go to 2 areas first – the Adverse (negative) area and the Inquiry area.

In the Inquiry section you’ll find 2 types of inquires:

1. Hard Inquires – The type of inquiry that negatively affects your credit score.

When you complete an application online, over the phone or in person granting a lender permission to pull your credit report in hopes of obtaining a loan of some sort, this is a hard inquiry. This type of inquiry applies to credit cards, lines of credit, car loans, home loans, etc.

For credit cards, each inquiry will result in a Hard Inquiry. For student loans, car loans, and mortgage loans, and apartment hunting FICO allows you to shop around for the best rate. As long as you do your rate hunting within 45 days you’ll only be ‘dinged’ once for the inquiry. So.. to avoid lowering your score, make your decision relatively quickly.

2. Soft Inquiries – The type of inquiry that does not affect your credit score.

On your credit report Soft Inquires are listed as Account Review and Promotional Inquires.

Account reviews are when you pull your own credit report and when creditors that you already have a relationship with pull your credit report.

Promotional inquiries occur when a business checks your credit report in hopes of offering you their product/service; this is completely legal as long as their inquiry is marked as ‘Promotional’ on your credit report. You can prevent this access, however, by visiting and opting out.

So, how do you get the Hard ones off?

Well, keep in mind inquiries affect very little of your credit score and by the time you have gone through the dispute process, the effects of that inquiry has more than likely faded. And as far as credit repair goes, they are the bottom of the credit disputing train.

When a client comes to me with late payments, collections, public records and over-utilized credit accounts; I’m focusing on those first. Payment history is 35% of your credit score; Utilization is 30% of your score, those inquires account for less than 10% of your score. Obviously, tackling the ‘big’ items makes more sense.

I personally only focus on removing inquires if my client has been a victim of identity theft or if a company has truly pulled their report without permission; meaning that the inquiry might lead to future identity theft.

However, I will say that a hard inquiry can drop your score as much as 10pts, and if you’re looking to make a credit-based purchase, disputing an inquiry for those few points can make a difference. Keep in mind that disputing an inquiry will result in a Fraud Alert being placed on your credit. A fraud alert will tell a business that they must verify your identity first prior to issuing any form of credit. It lasts for 90 days, so if you’re in the process of rebuilding you may experience a delay in getting approved for any form of credit; this doesn’t mean you’ll get denied, but you may get something in the mail or a phone call asking for hard copies of your personal info (ssn card/ID,etc).

To remove an inquiry you can either dispute with the creditor that has it listed or directly with the credit bureaus. With the original creditor you’d have to approach it as a ‘Remove As A Good Will’ or ‘Remove Because I Never Authorized This Transaction’ (often referred to as a Good Lie Letter if you really did give them access to your report). If you choose the latter, it will only work if the lender does not have documentation with your ‘wet’ signature or recorded telephone conversation where you clearly gave them permission to access your accounts.

To dispute with the bureaus you’d have to take the ‘Remove Because I Never Authorized This Transaction and Therefore They Did Not Have Permissible Purpose’ approach.’ Credit bureaus cannot give just any company access to our credit information. The business must have ‘permissible purpose’.

Permissible purpose is defined in detail by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 604. Basically if we did not give written permission, if credit access was not court ordered, or requested by a State/Local government agency in relation to child support, the company shouldn’t have access to our credit information. Prior to placing any inquiry on our credit report; the bureaus should have proof that one of these events took place.

I’ll post popular templates of Inquiry Removal Letters below; please Google other examples when forming your own inquiry dispute letters. You guys should know my motto by now, the best dispute letter is a personal, customized one in your own words 🙂 For more info on goodwill letters click here.

Original Credit Inquiry Removal Template:

[Your Full Name]
[Current Address]

[Creditor’s Name]
[Creditor’s Address]

RE: Unauthorized Credit Inquiry

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is a notice to cease unauthorized inquires into my credit report and a formal demand that you immediately contact the credit reporting agencies and bureaus to have your illegal inquiries removed. While checking my personal credit report from , I noticed an inquiry made by your organization.

The details of the inquiry are as follows:

Line number: [Line Number]
Inquiry made on: [Inquiry Date]
Inquiry made by: [Creditor]

To the best of my knowledge I have not approved your organization, any person associated with your organization, to make such an inquiry. This violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681b(c): Transactions Not Initiated by Consumer. I also demand that you remove my personal information from your records. Please send written confirmation that you have complied.

If you believe that you posses sufficient document that supports your authorization to make the inquiry, please forward a copy so that I may verify its validity.

I am using certified mail to ensure that you receive this letter and expect a prompt response.

[Full Name]

Credit Bureau Inquiry Removal Template:

Your Name
Your Address

Credit Bureau
Credit Bureau Address

To Whom it May Concern:

I recently pulled a copy of my credit report and noticed the following information are in error:

The FCRA states that the only permissible purpose for pulling someone’s credit report is a) firm offer of credit b) insurance c) employment or d) a court order.

The following inquiries are related to none of the aforementioned permissible purposes.
1. ABC Banking
2. Midwest Credit Card
3. FindYourLuck Shopping

Please remove these inquiries from my credit report. I have enclosed a copy of my driver’s license as proof of identity.

Have you recently discovered an entry from CitiCards CBNA on your credit report?

If so, it’s likely the result of an application for one of Citibank’s credit cards, which can lead to a hard inquiry on your credit report.

While that’s nothing to worry about in most cases, if you don’t recall applying for a card, you could be the target of an identity thief or a reporting error.

CitiCards CBNA On My Credit Report

CitiCards CBNA is the code used to represent CitiCards by Citibank North America on credit reports.

Citi offers over a dozen credit cards geared towards different goals, such as:

  • Travel
  • Rewards
  • Business
  • Balance transfer
  • Cashback
  • 0% APR

Your credit report could be hit with a hard inquiry when you apply for any one of these Visa or Mastercards.

In turn, this could slightly lower your score.

How Does a CitiCards CBNA Hard Inquiry Affect Your Credit?

So if you go online to check your credit score, submit to a background check, or get pre-approved for a credit card or loan, your credit report undergoes a soft credit pull.

But it doesn’t impact your score and may not even get added to your credit report.

However, soft inquiries allow you, lenders, and other companies to check your credit score without approving you for an actual loan application.

Hard Inquiries

On the other hand, in order to be approved for a new line of credit, loan, or credit card, you have to consent to a hard inquiry.

Because this type of inquiry lets lenders access your full credit report, using your history with credit to determine whether or not they should approve your application.

These inquiries get added to your credit report, and on their own, could drop your score by a few points.

However, hard inquiries are removed from your report after two years, and their impact diminishes over time.

Lenders can obtain your reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. So this means that any or all of your scores could be affected.

But an occasional hard inquiry is nothing to worry about. However, having several of these entries on your report could throw up a red flag for prospective lenders, suggesting that you rely too heavily on loans and credit.

As such, several hard inquiries can impact your score more severely than one or two.

So to keep the effects of hard pulls to a minimum, only apply for loans and cards you’re likely to be approved for, check out the minimum credit requirements beforehand.

If you are overwhelmed by dealing with negative entries on your credit report,
we suggest you ask a professional credit repair company for help.

How to Get CitiCards CBNA Removed from Your Credit Report

Once again, you shouldn’t stress over a CitiCards CBNA inquiry if it’s legit.

That being said, if you haven’t applied for one of Citibank’s cards, there could be a reason for concern.

A mysterious inquiry could be the result of a reporting issue, or it could signal identity theft, in either case, here’s how to get a hard inquiry off your credit report:

Dispute the Hard Inquiry with CitiBank and the Credit Bureaus

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, your credit doesn’t have to suffer if you’ve been targeted by an identity thief or you’re the unfortunate subject of inaccurate reporting.

By law, you can dispute any inquiries that you suspect are on your report by mistake.

So we recommend that you dispute the inquiry with any of the credit bureaus whose reports feature the inquiry.

You can file disputes online, by phone, or by letter. Likewise, you should contact CitiBank to get to the bottom of the issue.

You should act quickly to dispute inaccuracies on your credit report. So if you aren’t already, take a few moments to sign up for a free credit monitoring service.

With an app like Credit Sesame or Credit Karma, you will stay alert to any additions to your credit report, such as hard inquiries, collections accounts, or new accounts.

You’ll also get regular updates on your scores, with hand-picked offers for credit cards and loans that are well-suited to your credit profile.

Hire a Credit Repair Company

Sometimes, dealing with identity theft and reporting issues can be downright stressful and time-consuming.

If you’d rather leave the hassle of confronting the bureaus and Citibank to someone else, a credit repair company could be just what the doctor ordered.

These companies are staffed with professionals with tons of experience getting hard inquiries removed, moreover, they can assist you with glaring credit issues like:

Many of the best credit repair companies offer flexible services, with multiple packages and price points to choose from.

How to dispute credit inquiries

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You already know your credit report is a big deal. However, there’s one part of your credit report that you might not fully understand – credit inquiries. Being able to check credit inquiries on your credit report has many benefits if you plan on applying for new credit soon.

How to dispute credit inquiriesWhen should you transfer credit card points to airlines miles

What is a Credit Report?

Many people use free credit score websites to see their current credit score before they apply for a loan or new credit card. What you might not realize is that these websites also give you access to your credit report to see all the information that determines that three-digit credit score.

Your credit report is often the first impression you make with potential lenders, credit card companies, employers, and landlords. They (and you) can see the following financial information for the past 10 years:

  • Personal information (Name, previous addresses)
  • Active and closed financial accounts (Loans and credit cards)
  • Payment history on your financial accounts
  • Hard credit inquiries (Credit inquiries you authorize)
  • Accounts in Collections
  • Public Records for personal bankruptcy or legal judgments

All of this information is important, but we’re only going to focus on credit inquiries in this article.

Where to Find Your Credit Inquiry History?

You can access your credit reports for free at the following websites:

Once your identity is verified, you can see your credit report. To check credit inquiries, scroll down to the “Hard Inquiries” section. All inquiries from the last two years will be on the report.

Keep in mind that banks don’t always access your report from all three bureaus. It’s very likely that one report will show more inquiries than another.

How to dispute credit inquiriesAn example of how hard inquiries look on your report.

What is a Credit Inquiry?

A credit inquiry is one portion of your credit report. Any time somebody requests your credit report or credit score, it counts as a credit inquiry.

There are two types of credit inquiries, hard and soft. But you only need to be concerned about “hard” credit inquiries. Of course, you shouldn’t apply for any credit cards if you don’t know your credit score.

Hard Credit Inquiries

There are a few things you need to know about hard credit inquiries:

  • Hard inquiries only remain on your credit report for two years
  • Each hard inquiry causes your credit score to drop a few points
  • You must authorize hard credit inquiries to access your full credit report

Anytime you apply for a loan, new cash back, travel, or no foreign transaction fee credit card, or maybe even a new job, you might have to check a box or sign a paper stating you authorize the lender to access your credit report during the application process. Each time you authorize an inquiry, the event is reported by the credit bureau used to pull your report. This means the lender may pull a report from all three bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) or only one or two.

If a bank or credit card company accesses your credit report to see if you pre-qualify for a loan or credit card, these are considered “soft inquiries” and don’t affect your credit score. But if you decide to apply, they will perform a hard inquiry when you submit an application.

Why You Should Check Credit Inquiries Often

There are a few reasons to check credit inquiries and note how many are on your report:

  • Avoid denied credit card applications
  • Keep your credit score as high as possible
  • Prevent identity theft

Let’s break each of these benefits down one-by-one.

Avoid Denied Credit Card Applications

Some credit card companies will deny your application if you have too many credit card applications in a short time period.

The Chase 5/24 Rule is the most vivid example. Your application for select Chase-issued credit cards will be denied if you have applied for or been listed as an authorized user on at least 5 credit cards in the most recent 24 months. It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect credit score, your application will most likely be declined.

Not only is your application declined, but the hard inquiry remains on your credit report for the next two years.

If you want to apply for a “Chase 5/24” credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you will need to wait until you have four or less hard inquiries for credit card applications on your report. Also, here’s a guide to what credit score you need for the Sapphire Preferred.

Besides denied credit card applications, too many inquiries in a short period of time can leave a bad impression with other lenders and future employers. You can’t avoid every credit inquiry, but you can decide when and when not you need a new credit card or loan.

Maintain a High Credit Score

Applying for credit sparingly ensures your score can be as high as possible. Each inquiry can drop your score by at least 10 points (the actual number depends on several factors). Your score will gradually recover, but continual inquires suppress your score and give the impression to lenders that you’re risky.

Ideally, you should try to have at most three hard inquiries on your credit report at any given time. Not going above three inquiries in a rolling 24-month period gives you some flexibility when you need to unexpectedly apply for a new loan, credit card, or job.

Prevent Identity Theft

If your personal information falls into the wrong hands, identity thieves will falsely apply for new credit cards in your name. They go on a spending spree and wreck your credit in the process. Each application will register as a hard inquiry. However, it can be an easy way to spot identity theft before it’s too late.

Avoid Excessive Credit Inquiries

The good news about credit inquiries is that they only remain on your credit report for two years. Hard credit inquiries don’t impact your score as much as your payment history either. This can work to your advantage if your credit applications are denied. After two years, creditors won’t know you applied and were denied credit.

Monitoring your credit inquiries makes sure you don’t apply too often or too soon. It’s widely expected to have one or two inquiries on your report. Banks become more cautious when you have at least three inquiries at once on your report.

Summary of How To Check Credit Inquiries

If you check credit inquiries on a regular basis, you have a better way of maintaining a high credit score. Even if you don’t apply for new credit often, you should still check the number of credit inquiries on your credit report at least once a year.

Learn more about the process of filing a dispute over incomplete, inaccurate, or fraudulent information on your credit report. 2:15

There is information on my credit report that I believe is incorrect. What can I do about it?

Sometimes referred to as “filing a dispute,” there are important things to know about disputing information on your credit report. By law, you are allowed to dispute inaccurate information on your credit report, and there is no fee for filing a dispute. You may submit your dispute to the business that provided the information to the credit reporting agency and/or to the credit reporting agency that included the information on your credit report.

How does the dispute process work?

If you submit a dispute to a nationwide credit reporting agency, it may make changes to your credit report based on the documents and information you provided. Otherwise, the credit reporting agency will contact the business reporting the disputed information, supply them with all relevant information and any documents you provide with your dispute, instruct them to investigate your dispute, and:

  • Review all information you provided about your dispute;
  • Verify the accuracy of the information they are reporting to the credit reporting agency;
  • Provide the credit reporting agency with a response to your dispute, including any changes to the information reported;
  • Update their records and systems as necessary; and
  • The credit reporting agency will then notify you of the results of the investigation.

If you submit a dispute with a business, they will conduct an investigation and will send you the results of the investigation directly. They will notify the credit reporting agency of any changes that need to be made to the information as a result of the investigation.

How do I submit my dispute?

To correct errors on your Equifax Canada credit file, you should complete and submit a Consumer Credit Report Update Form to Equifax.

By mail:
Equifax Canada Co.
Consumer Relations Department
Box 190 Jean Talon Station
Montreal, Quebec
H1S 2Z2

Fax is no longer available.

Please note that you will need to contact Trans Union of Canada, Inc. directly to correct errors found on your TransUnion Canada credit file.

Should I include documents when I submit my dispute?

You may also submit documents in support of your dispute. It’s important to understand that documents will not be returned to you following the investigation. Therefore, when mailing documents, please only submit copies of documents and not originals.

To submit a dispute with a business, you will need to contact the business directly. The contact information for that business should be included on your credit report or monthly billing statement.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s website provides additional information on disputing information on your credit report.