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How to Remove Credit Inquiries

Resolving credit inquiries issues that are bringing your score down requires collaboration with the credit reporting agencies to remove it and perhaps the creditor from whom you obtained the loan.

Hard inquiries cannot be erased unless they are caused by identity theft. A hard credit inquiry can remain in your report for up to 24 months.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) to notify consumers whenever an individual or business entity conducts a hard credit inquiry, also known as a “hard pull” in your credit file. They will indicate this on your credit report.

This is what you should be aware of when it comes to credit inquiries,  what they do to your credit score, and the best way to remove the one on your credit score.

What is a Hard credit Inquiry?

A hard inquiry takes place when you make an application for new credit or loan. The lender will check at least one of your credit scores to decide if you meet the requirements for creditworthiness. It is sometimes referred to as a hard credit pull or a hard pull.

Differences between soft and hard credit inquiries

Soft inquiries are different from hard inquiries in two main ways.

Hard inquiries occur when you seek a credit card, loan, or any other type of financing.

Soft inquiries, however, can occur at your request, such as when you’re trying to look up your credit report or even without your consent, which is when lenders look over your credit report before making an approval offer.

Secondly, soft inquiries don’t have any effect on your credit score in any way and each hard inquiry generally will lower a few points the credit rating.

The more inquiries that you have on your credit report the harder your credit will be judged by potential lenders.

Why is that? Because applying for various types of credit more frequently can indicate financial instability, which can mean the lender’s view of risk.

How long will a hard inquiry last?

Hard inquiries remain on your credit report for two years before they disappear in the normal course of things.

If you’ve received genuine hard inquiries, then you’ll be required to wait until after the end of the 24 months before they disappear.

If you’re looking for a car and mortgage loan, there might be several inquiries because lenders will check your credit for the conditions and rates they will offer.

If you make an application for the loan within 14 days (or occasionally, a bit longer), credit scoring models will view these as hard inquiries.

Should You Remove Hard Inquiries From Your Files?

The idea of eliminating the hard inquiries from your credit reports to increase your credit score might seem appealing. However, disputing a real request for credit may not bring about any changes in your score.

You can contest the ones that are the consequence of fraud. It can occur when an identity theft criminal makes use of the details of your Social Security number as well as other personal information to create a new account under your name.

For the majority of people, one additional hard inquiry could lower your credit score by only a few points. However, new lenders won’t deny the application because there is an inquiry on your report.

While hard inquiries require 2 years to go off on your credit file, usually, their effect on credit scores is only several months.

Disputing Inaccurate Hard Inquiries Yourself

It’s essential to examine your credit reports frequently to ensure accuracy. If in the course of doing this, you’ve discovered a suspicious search on your credit reports that you suspect is due to fraud, then you can submit a dispute to each of the three credit reporting agencies and request to update the incorrect information.

How to dispute incorrect information on your credit file

Go through your credit reports

The first thing to do is to go through the details of your Experian credit report using the Dispute Center and verify your details. Then, verify that the request wasn’t the result of identity theft.

There are situations when you aren’t able to recognize the name of the company which analyzed your credit score, or you can’t recall applying for a loan from the company you know. These are several scenarios where the inquiries you don’t recognize could be valid:

  • You may have sought a repair to your home, and you provided the Social Security number to the seller, and they might take that as authorization to examine your credit to determine if you qualify for financing.
  • If you applied for financing while you were looking for a vehicle or truck, the dealer might have sent your loan request to several lenders to get the most advantageous interest rates. Numerous inquiries from companies that you do not recognize may be received from this time frame. If all of them occurred within a couple of weeks, they’ll be considered rate-shopping and will be considered a single inquiry in the calculation of credit scores.
  • The same thing could happen when you apply for mortgages. In this instance, for example, you might have contacted mortgage rates on the internet, and a website then sent your application to a variety of lenders to determine the most favorable rate. You may also have had a relationship with a mortgage servicer who submitted an application form to lenders, and that lender could have inspected for credit through the mortgage company.
  • Another scenario where a difficult investigation could be interpreted as fraud is when it involves the use of store credit cards. National retail stores might utilize financial services companies to manage their store cards. And the moment inquiries are initiated, they could appear with names of companies that you aren’t familiar with. For instance, if, for example, you make a credit application at Kay Jewelers and you are approved, you could get inquiries from “Comenity Bank/Kay” on your credit report.

If you’re unable to identify the name of the company that conducted the inquiry, you can contact the company to find out more.

If you review your credit report using Experian’s Experian Dispute Center, the hard inquiry will be followed by the company’s name and, typically, the address for mailing and phone number.

File a dispute

If you’ve confirmed that the inquiry was caused by an identity fraud issue, your issue will be resolved over the phone by Experian experts.

You can sign up or login into the Dispute Center to find our solutions to help. There is no cost to access this service.

Track the progress

When you’ve submitted your request, you will be able to track your progress using your Dispute Center. The process for disputing will be completed after 30 calendar days.

If the investigation was confirmed to be valid, it is not removed from your credit file. However, if an investigation reveals that the inquiry was due to identity theft, the inquiry will be deleted from your credit report.

Make sure you check your credit report regularly.

It’s common to see incorrect details on your credit file. To ensure that you don’t let fraudulent or other incorrect information remain unchecked, set a goal to review your credit report frequently. Check the information on your report and look out for any information you aren’t sure about.

Keep your eye on the credit scores of your friends (you can determine your FICO(r) Score for free by contacting Experian)

Be on the lookout for abrupt drops that could signal fraud, for example, the opening of a fake account in your name that hasn’t been paid.

It’s impossible to stop identity theft from happening; however, if you track your credit score, it will put you in a much better position to prevent a troublesome situation from getting worse.


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