A high number of hard inquiries may harm your credit, however you can ask for the removal of incorrect hard inquiries. Here’s how to challenge hard inquiries that should not be on your credit reports.
When a lender or creditor requests your credit file, this is recorded as a credit inquiry.
While a single hard inquiry, sometimes called a “hard pull,” is unlikely to influence your eligibility for new credit products such as a new credit card, it may have a long-lasting effect on your credit ratings for up to two years.
When checking your credit reports for hard inquiries, you want to ensure that they are genuine. What does this imply exactly? Did you allow the creditor or lender to pull your credit for each hard inquiry line item? If you did, there is no need to take any more action.
However, when checking your credit reports, it is likely that you may notice instances of illegal hard queries. If you discover one of these, you should contact the credit bureau that produced the report and request that the bureau deletes the illegal inquiry.
Here’s how to challenge inaccuracies on your credit reports about hard inquiries
Examine your credit reports for any errors.
You may verify your credit reports for erroneous hard inquiries by looking for an area called…
- Credit Inquries
- Hard Inquries
- Others have seen your reports
- Soft Inquires
There should be a distinct area for soft inquiries, branded something like “requests seen exclusively by you.” Soft inquiries, as opposed to hard inquiries, have no impact on your credit ratings.
Don’t know how to interpret the information on your credit reports? Discover what’s on your credit reports and how to interpret them.
Look for illegal or improper hard queries.
You may ask for the removal of hard queries from your credit reports if…
- You did not open a new credit account, nor did you apply for a new credit card.
- You did not approve the credit inquiry in any other way.
If you did apply for a credit card or approve a hard inquiry, you will not be able to erase it off your credit reports. It is still on your credit reports as part of a complete picture of your credit history. If this is the case, it should be removed from your reports after approximately two years.
Not all suspicious queries are bogus.
Some queries may seem suspicious: you may not identify the business that made the query, or there may be more inquiries than you anticipate. However, these circumstances may not always imply a mistake or fraud.
For example, you may have hired a loan broker who searched around to get you the greatest loan rate available. Even if you only took out one loan, each application the broker filed on your behalf may result in an authorized inquiry.
Act immediately if you suspect fraud.
However, if a hard inquiry that you did not approve appears on your credit reports, it may be because…
- Someone impersonated you and applied for a credit card using your details.
- Your credit was pulled without your consent by a creditor.
- The credit bureau inadvertently included the query in your report.
If an illegal hard inquiry was made as a result of someone else applying for credit using your information, it may be a sign that your identity was stolen. You may wish to take certain extra precautions as soon as you notice the suspicious behavior to assist avoid future abuse of your information, such as…
- Placing a fraud warning on your credit reports
- Notifying the Federal Trade Commission of the FTC
- Making a police report
- You may also wish to seek a credit freeze or credit lock.
You should also keep an eye on your reports to see whether a fake account emerges as a result of an illegal query. If a fake account shows on your credit reports, contact the creditor immediately to cancel the account.
If a creditor checked your credit without your consent or a credit agency inadvertently placed a query to your report, the erroneous hard inquiry may still damage your credit unless you take action.
Regardless of how it got there, you should submit a dispute with the credit bureau whose record contains the erroneous hard inquiry and request that it be removed.
If necessary, submit a dispute with the appropriate credit bureau.
If you challenge inaccuracies in your credit reports, such as illegal hard inquiries, the credit bureaus must investigate. They must also rectify any incorrect information that is discovered.
You may submit a dispute with any of the three main consumer credit agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — if your credit report contains an incorrect hard inquiry. Credit Cadabra members may use the Credit Cadabra Hard Inquiry Dispute Service to challenge inaccuracies on their credit reports.
You may be able to refute queries online, but you should consider sending your complaint. Look for example credit dispute letters online, such as the one provided by the Federal Trade Commission, to assist you in drafting your dispute letter.
If the credit agency investigates and determines that the query was not authorized, it should delete the inquiry from your credit report.
How to Write a Letter to Request the Removal of a Credit Inquiry
Companies and people may make difficult questions that you did not approve of. In such situations, there is a method to eliminate the hard inquiry and, as a consequence, enhance your credit. A “credit inquiry removal letter” or a “credit inquiry dispute letter” is what it is.
Even if a hard credit query is “questionable,” and you are unsure whether you made it or not, you may contest it since the credit agencies and your creditors bear the burden of evidence.
We have created an example letter to submit to the credit agencies in order to seek an investigation into an illegal query on your credit report.
Hard Inquiry Removal Letter Template
Send your message through certified mail rather than ordinary postal delivery to guarantee a quicker response and that it gets received.
Make the message seem more personal than this boilerplate letter by using your own words. Keep in mind that this is only an example. Your letter should look something like this:
Sample Credit Query Removal Letter
[Credit Bureau: Name]
[Credit Bureau: Address]
RE: To inquire about the legitimacy and legality of an unknown credit inquiry
Dear [Credit Bureau: Name]
I reviewed my personal credit report, which I obtained from your company on (insert report date), and discovered an illegal credit inquiry.
I contacted the originator of the inquiry and requested that they delete their credit inquiry off my credit report.
I am requesting that you look into the [inquiry source’s name] inquiry on my credit report to ascertain who authorized it. If, upon completion of your investigation, you determine that my complaint is accurate, please delete the query and give me an updated copy of my credit report to the address stated above.
If you determine that the query mentioned above is legitimate, please give me a summary of the processes followed throughout your investigation within 15 business days of completion.
I appreciate your help with this issue.
What comes after that?
The effect of a hard inquiry on your credit scores is dependent on your particular circumstances. For some, they have the potential to lower scores and make credit qualification more difficult, while for others, they hardly make a difference.
In any case, monitoring your credit reports for unauthorized hard queries is a smart practice. If you discover an illegal or incorrect hard inquiry, you may submit a dispute letter and ask the bureau to delete it from your report.
Unless they decide that your disagreement is baseless, consumer credit bureaus must examine your dispute request. Nonetheless, not all disagreements are resolved following an inquiry. If your credit dispute doesn’t work, you can always try a reputable credit repair company that offers a hard inquiry removal service.