Your credit score and credit report matter a lot. If you apply for a loan or a credit card, the service provider will look at your credit score and credit report first. But a hard inquiry can really mess up your chances of getting a loan or credit card. And as the number of hard inquiries increases on your credit report, your chances of getting a loan or credit card decreases.
Whenever you apply for a loan or a credit card, the lender or credit card provider conducts a hard inquiry of your credit score to know your creditworthiness. A hard inquiry results in a credit pull, which means you lose 12 to 15 credit points on each hard inquiry. Once you go through a hard inquiry, it is mentioned in your credit report.
If multiple hard inquiries are there on your credit report, it affects your chances of getting a loan or credit card. The service provider might think that multiple lenders have rejected your loan or credit card request due to some issue and they might also reject your request.
This is when hard inquiry removal comes into the picture. Yes! You read it right. You can remove hard inquiries from your credit report. There are several credit repair service providers that might help you with this issue. In this write-up, we are going to tell you about those services so that you can get rid of the hard inquiries from your credit report.
We will also tell you about how long do inquiries stay on your credit report, how to remove hard inquiries, how to dispute credit inquiries, and basically everything that you need to know. So without any further delay, let’s get started.
Hard Inquiry Removal Process
Removing a hard inquiry from your credit report can be tough. If you are able to make the credit bureau believe that the hard inquiry is an error, then only they will remove it. You will have to file a dispute credit report stating that the particular hard inquiry in your credit report is an error or you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft.
The credit union will conduct an investigation into this and if the evidence shows up in your favor then only you will get the hard inquiry removal. You can follow the step-by-step process given below in order to remove inquiries from credit report. Here we go!
1. Take Out Your Credit Report
Hard inquiries are mentioned in the credit report. So in order to find any errors, you will need your credit report. Do you know that all the credit bureaus offer one copy of your credit report for free? Yes. So make sure that you take a free copy of your credit report from all the credit bureaus including TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Because mostly the credit reports of all the credit bureaus are the same, but due to some errors or credit reporting differences, it can be different as well. So to find the problem, you will need credit reports from all three credit bureaus. Moreover, there are many free credit report sites. You can get your credit report from those websites as well.
2. Look for Errors in Hard Inquiries
Now that you have your credit reports, have a look at them one by one. See if there are any extra entries that you did not apply for. After this, compare all the reports to find any extra or missing entries that are there or not in the other two reports. If you are able to find any mistakes or errors, you can file a dispute for inquiry removal.
3. Contact the Lender
Whenever you see a hard inquiry on your credit report, the name of the lender or credit card provider would also be there who conducted the hard inquiry of your credit score. If you are able to find any wrong entries, you can contact the lender directly. All the lenders keep a record of people who applied for their loans so you can ask them about the details regarding why they conducted the inquiry, when you applied for the loan, and if they are ready to remove or not.
4. Start the Dispute
If the lender or credit card company is ready to remove the hard inquiry from your credit report then you do not need to worry. But if they are not ready to do so, then you will need to file a dispute with the credit bureaus. At this point, you can also take the help of any of the credit repair companies that will help you with the inquiry removal.
5. Add All the Necessary Information
While drafting the dispute letter, make sure that you add important information like-
- Full name.
- Complete address.
- All the contact details like official email id and phone number.
- All the details of the error entry or entries like their number, date, and the lender who conducted the hard inquiry.
- Your Social Security Number (SSN).
- Letter requesting the credit bureaus to remove the errored hard inquiry entries from your credit.
- Name of the credit bureaus that have added the error entry to your credit report.
- Details regarding why you believe the entry is wrong.
6. Send the Dispute Letter
Once you are ready with your dispute draft, you need to send it to the credit bureaus. If the error entry is there in the reports of all three credit bureaus, then you will need to send your dispute letter to all the credit bureaus. For the same, you can either call the credit bureau or send them an email regarding the issue along with your dispute letter. You can also send them an offline mail at their official head office address.
7. Wait for the Result
After this, the credit bureaus will investigate the matter. Here all you can do is wait for the final decision and see if the credit bureaus are ready to remove the wrong hard inquiry entries from your credit report or not. You can also check the progress of your dispute application from time to time. That is how you can resolve the issue of how to remove hard inquiries.
3 Best Hard Inquiry Removal Services
In this section, we are going to introduce you to the top 3 credit repair services. If a false or wrong hard inquiry appears on your credit report, you can take the help of any of the following service providers. They will help you with how to remove hard inquiries.
1. Sky Blue Credit Repair
Sky Blue Credit repair is one of the oldest credit repair services in the U.S.A. It started its operation in 1989 and has made a good reputation in the market since then. When you take the help of Sky Blue Credit Repair for removing a hard inquiry from your credit report, they allow you to check the progress of your application 24 X 7.
Moreover, they also offer a 90 days money-back guarantee. This means that if they do not help you repair your credit score within the first 90 days of your fee payment, you can get all your fees back. Sky Blue Credit Repair charges $79.00 per month for their services and you can cancel or discontinue their membership anytime.
With the help of Sky Blue Credit Repair, you can file a dispute for up to 15 hard inquiries (5 with each credit bureau) in 35 days. The best part is, they also offer you services like debt settlement consultation, cease communication letters, goodwill letters, debt consolidation, etc. under the same $79.00 fee.
2. Credit Repair.com
Are you looking for a credit repair company that can provide you with free online consultation? If yes, then Credit Repair.com is perfect for you. Your first online consultation with them is absolutely free and if you are satisfied with their services then you can pay the monthly fee to continue the services.
Credit Repair.com charges a one-time fee of $14.99 and a monthly fee of $49.95. They started offering credit repair services in 2012 and since then they have successfully removed over 8.2 million hard inquiries from people’s credit reports. They have a high success rate.
Moreover, you can track the update of your dispute application for free at any time of the day. They also offer you your credit report summary regularly. If you are looking for a service to help you how to remove hard inquiries, you shall definitely try Credit Repair.com. They have thousands of positive ratings and reviews online and have been maintaining a good reputation since its establishment.
3. Lexington Law
If you strongly believe that the hard inquiry mentioned in your credit report is wrong and you want to go for hard inquiry removal then you can always turn to Lexington Law. Just in 2020, they helped in removing over 7 million hard inquiries from credit reports. They are in function since 2004 and since then they have helped in removing around 221 million inquiries.
The monthly fee of Lexington Law can vary between $99.95 to $139.95, depending upon the plan you are applying for. They have divided their services into 3 types, basic, moderate, and aggressive. In case you want to get rid of the hard inquiry, you will either have to go for a moderate or aggressive plan.
They also offer a free consultation. So if you are not sure about this credit repair company, you can first go for the free consultation and pay the monthly fee later if you like their services. Moreover, you can cancel their subscription anytime. You can also check the progress of your inquiry removal application at any time 24 X 7.
What are Hard Inquiry and Hard Inquiry Removal?
When you apply for a loan, the lender conducts an inquiry into your credit score and credit report to check your creditworthiness and see whether you would be able to repay the loan or not. The same happens when you apply for a credit card. The credit card provider sees if you would be able to pay the credit card bills or not, depending on your credit report and credit history.
This inquiry results in a credit pull and with each inquiry you might lose 12 to 15 credit points. These inquiries are mentioned in your credit report to let the other lenders know how many loans and credit cards you have applied for. If there are a lot of hard inquiries on your credit report, it decreases your chances of getting a loan or credit card. So it is better to go for hard inquiry removal to avoid any loan or credit card rejections.
A hard inquiry might also show up due to any error or mistake so it is important to remove inquiries. But now the question arises, how to remove hard inquiries? Well, there are many credit repair services that can help you to remove hard inquiry from credit report.
How Does a Hard Inquiry Affect Your Credit Score?
Whenever a lender or credit card provider conducts a hard inquiry into your credit, you immediately lose 12 to 15 points. After this, a hard inquiry does not affect your credit score in any way, it just stays on your credit report for 2 years. Two or hard credit inquiries do not do any major harm, but if there are too many hard inquiries, your chances of getting a loan or credit card will decrease.
How Does Hard Inquiry Differ from Soft Inquiry?
A lender or credit card provider conducts a soft inquiry of your credit when you apply for pre-approval. Unlike hard inquiry, you do not need to go through a credit pull in case of a soft inquiry. In a soft inquiry, the service provider just goes through your credit score and tells you about the terms that you might get for a loan or credit card.
Whereas through hard inquiry, you get the final offer for your loan or credit card. Whenever you are applying for a credit card or loan, it is better to apply for a pre-qualification first so that you do not go through unnecessary credit pull. Also, a soft inquiry does not show up on your credit report and in the end, you can choose the best deal and apply for that one only.
Why Does Hard Inquiry Show Up On the Credit Report?
In this section, we are going to provide you with 3 major reasons why a hard inquiry shows up on your credit report. Out of these 3 reasons, you can apply for hard inquiry removal for 2 of them. Let’s have a look at the list.
1. You Applied for a Loan or Credit Card
The first and most obvious reason why a hard inquiry shows up on your credit report is that you applied for a credit card or a loan and an authorized lender or credit card provider conducted an inquiry of your credit report. In this case, you would not be able to apply for a hard inquiry removal and you will have to wait for 2 years until it automatically falls off your credit report.
2. You are a Victim of Identity Theft
In case someone steals your identity and applies for a loan on your behalf, a hard inquiry would show up on your credit report. In this case, you can report this to the police as well as credit bureaus. If it is proved that you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, you will get the hard inquiry removal.
3. There is Some Error
All three major credit bureaus including TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian work with the credit scores and data of thousands of people on a daily basis, so there are chances of error. If your data gets mixed with some other person, a hard inquiry might show up on your credit report. In such a case, you can file a dispute with the credit bureau. You can also take the help of a credit repair service for the same. In upcoming sections, we will also tell you how to dispute credit inquiries.
How Long Do Inquiries Stay on Your Credit Report?
Are you wondering how long do inquiries stay on your credit report? Well, a hard inquiry stays on your credit report for 2 years. After two years, it stops affecting your credit score and automatically falls off. If you actually applied for a loan or credit card and a service provider went through your credit history then you cannot apply for a hard inquiry removal, you will have to wait for 2 years.
But if you strongly believe that you did not apply for any loan or credit card and the hard inquiry on your credit report is just a mistake or error then you can apply for a hard inquiry removal. You can either file a dispute yourself or take the help of credit repair services. In the upcoming sections, we will tell you how to remove hard inquiries and how to dispute credit inquiries.
Should You Go For Hard Inquiry Removal?
If you actually applied for a loan or credit card, you can not go for hard inquiry removal, but if it is there due to any error or mistake, you should definitely go for inquiry removal. There are three major reasons why a hard inquiry removal is a good option.
- It affects your creditworthiness. It shows the possible lenders or credit card providers that you might not be able to repay the loan or credit card bill and they are risking their money by giving it to you.
- You need to go through the punishment for something that you didn’t even do.
- You might be a victim of fraud or identity theft. Someone might be trying to get a loan or credit card under your name. So it is very important to know why hard inquiry is there and then to go for its removal before it is too late.
Is Hard Inquiry Removal Worth It? Effects of Removal
Definitely. If you find any error in your credit report, you must go for hard inquiry removal. If you are worried about the fees of credit repair companies, you can file the dispute yourself as well. Because otherwise, it will affect your credit report for 2 long years and your chances of getting a loan or credit card will decrease.
Moreover, there are many benefits of getting rid of the hard inquiry from your credit report:
- Your chances of getting a credit card and loan increase.
- You can get a credit card with a higher credit limit and lower APR and interest rate.
- You can crack a better deal while getting a loan with a lower interest rate and higher loan amount.
- It increases your creditworthiness.
- You do not have to go through unnecessary penalization due to false hard inquiry entries.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How to get a hard inquiry removed?
First of all, you need to understand that you can only get the hard inquiry removed that is there due to any error or mistake. If you actually applied for a credit card or loan and an authorized person conducted a hard inquiry of your credit then you will not be able to apply for inquiry removal.
Now regarding how to remove hard inquiries, you will need to collect your credit report from all the credit bureaus and look for errors. If you are able to find any errors then you can file a dispute with the credit bureaus.
Q2. How long do credit inquiries stay on the report?
Credit inquiries stay on your credit report for up to 2 years. After 2 years, they automatically fall. If you actually apply for a loan or credit card then you will need to wait for 2 complete years. But if the hard inquiry shows up due to any error or mistake, you can go for inquiry removal by filing a dispute with the credit bureaus. You can also take the help of credit repair companies.
- Elizabeth Jones is one of our editorial team’s leading authors on credit card offers, services & more. With over two decades of experience in the consumer credit industry and as a nationally recognized credit expert, Elizabeth provides in-depth analysis of both traditional & alternative forms of credit. Elizabeth regularly appears on many major media outlets including NBC Nightly News, Fox Business Network, CNBC & Yahoo! Finance. She is also a frequent contributor to Forbes Magazine. As a highly appreciated author for our exclusive Editorial Team, Elizabeth strives to provide readers with a trustworthy advice on how to manage their credit accounts while staying informed on the latest offers in the marketplace.