Credit Report Inquiries
Out of the 88 negative rating factors that can hurt your credit score one in particular that I would like to cover in this post are inquiries.
These inquiries do not affect your credit score so don’t be alarmed if you see a lot of these on your file.
There are three main types of credit checks that fall into this classification.
- Personal – When you order your own credit reports or scores directly from the major consumer credit agencies or myFICO.
- Promotional – Businesses that check your credit for promotional purposes use the data in order to solicit its products or services such as those pre approved credit card offers you find in your mailbox.
- Procedural – As part of its procedure a company or lender that you currently have an established account with may periodically check your credit in order to either extend additional credit or look for signs of financial distress.
A hard inquiry is what negatively impacts your score and according to myFICO one additional hard inquiry for some people may take up to but not more than 5 points off a credit score!
This credit check occurs when a creditor pulls your report as a result of you applying for credit. One important thing to remember is when you apply for credit with multiple lenders in order to search for the best rate on a mortgage, auto or student loan FICO will consider all these inquiries within a 30 day period to count as a single inquiry.
Unfortunately there’s no way to determine what impact a hard inquiry will have because it varies from consumer to consumer and is based on different credit histories.
Even though hard inquiries can stay on your credit files for two years FICO’s scoring model only factors in those inquiries from the last 12 months. So be selective where you apply for credit because too many recent hard inquires can signal a red flag with creditors.
If you identify any unauthorized hard inquiries on your credit file then you will need to prepare an inquiry dispute letter and submit it to both the consumer credit agency and creditor. This is different than disputing information like a late payment and currently none of the consumer credit agencies offer an online dispute option for credit report inquiries.
I also suggest you send the letter via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested so you can properly track the dispute submission and response time.
Remember the Fair Credit Reporting Act was put in place to protect you from unfair credit reporting and this includes the use of unauthorized hard inquiries.
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Marco Carbajo is a business credit expert, author, speaker, and founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle. He is a business credit blogger for AllBusiness.com, a subsidiary of Dun and Bradstreet and author of “Eight Steps to Ultimate Business Credit” and “How to Build Business Credit with No Personal Guarantee.” His articles and blogs have also been featured in American Express Small Business, Business Week, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Tribune, Scotsman Guide, Alltop, Entrepreneur Connect, and Active Rain.