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Hard Inquiries

What is a Credit Inquiry?

Every time you apply for credit and the credit granter does a credit check on you, a credit inquiry is placed on your file. Even if you receive a credit card offer in the mail and you respond, your credit will almost certainly be checked and a credit inquiry will be added to your credit report.

Is it Important to Remove Credit Inquiries?
Many people tend to overfocus on removing inquiries when their reports are full of late payments, collection accounts, or even a foreclosure. In these cases, you might want to hold off on your efforts to remove inquiries until after you have successfully removed some of the bigger problems on your credit report. But, if you are tackling your other credit issues, it doesn’t hurt to tackle this problem, too. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst thing on your report, credit inquiries are a mere 1 on the problem scale. Inquiries stay on your credit for 2 years, after a year- the inquiry has no effect on your score. Only Dispute HARD INQUIRIES that are NOT Attached to OPEN or CURRENT accounts. If you do, the account may be removed and a FRAUD alert put on your report. For Example, if you recently applied to a Capital One Credit Card and was denied, you can attempt to dispute the inquiry. HOWEVER, if you applied for the card and got APPROVED for an account, DO NOT DISPUTE THE INQUIRY! So please be very careful about what you dispute on your Credit Report.

Types of Credit Inquiries
Hard pull inquiries occur when you applied for new credit, like a credit card, or submitted a loan application for a car or home. Hard pull inquiries can affect your credit score.
Soft pull inquiries occur when an existing creditor pulls your credit to see what your current credit situation is or when a potential creditor pulls your credit to pre-approve you for credit that you have not actually applied for yet. Pulling your own credit is also considered a soft inquiry. Soft credit inquiries do not affect your credit score.

Step 1 First, find out which credit inquiries are getting in your way by ordering all three of your credit reports for $1 from https://www.identityiq.com/ help-you-to-save-money.aspx? offercode=4311434F
  When your reports arrive, look toward the end of your credit report to find the inquiries. Some of the inquiries are only promotional and will not be shown to prospective credit grantors. You need not worry about those. Identify only the inquiries that are shown to credit grantors (i.e., hard inquiries). You should recognize some of these as places where you applied for credit, but others may be a complete mystery to you.

Step 2 Find the address for each creditor. Experian will list addresses for each but TransUnion and Equifax reports will not. Match your Experian with your TransUnion and Equifax reports. You should be able to use the same addresses on the inquirers that are listed on Experian. If some of the inquirers don’t show up on Experian but do show up on either TransUnion or Equifax, you will have to call the credit bureau to get their address. Once you have collected all of the addresses for each inquiring creditor on each credit report, you are ready for the next step.

Step 3 Use this letter to send to the Credit Bureau. You can list up to 22 inquiries on one letter. Please use blue ink and handwrite either the whole letter or partial letter (personal choice). The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows only authorized inquiries to appear on the consumer credit report. You must challenge whether the inquiring creditor had proper authorization to pull your credit file.

Step 4 Some of your creditors may provide documentation to the credit bureau that a credit inquiry was authorized by you, but most do not. If you happen to receive proof, read the authorization that you signed very carefully. If there is any ambiguity, you can write back and argue that the inquirer’s authorization form was too complicated and not easily understood by yourself. You can threaten to contact the State Banking Commission (or other authorities) and complain about a deceptive and unclear authorization form if they don’t remove the inquiry.

Some Credit Bureaus/creditors will try to ignore your challenge. Be sure to send each letter Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and keep close track of the time that you sent the letter. If the inquiring creditor doesn’t respond within about 30 days, you will have ample grounds to call the inquiring creditor and demand some action. At that point, it’s almost irrelevant whether or not you authorized the inquiry. Now the issue becomes the creditor’s lack of response to a consumer dispute. Be sure to hold your ground. Demand that the inquiry be removed immediately or you will complain to the State Banking Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Better Business Bureau, Attorney General, or similar authorities.
Many of your inquiring creditors may simply agree to delete the inquiry as a courtesy or because they cannot, or will not, verify your authorization. That’s the goal. Remember, it is not likely that you will need all of your credit inquiries removed, just enough of them to increase your credit score. THIS IS A HARD PROCESS! This process may require calling the credit bureaus multiple times, sending letters multiple times, calling your creditors multiple times, sending letters multiple times, and filing complaints multiple times. This is a HIT or MISS process. It takes PERSISTENCE on your end. Nothing else can be done except for these steps that I have already mentioned. Again, inquiries after a year, lose value and do not affect your Fico score. So don’t focus too much on Inquiries and FOCUS on other pressing matters especially if you don’t have that many new inquiries.

Equifax           1-866-828-5066

Transunion      1-800-888-4213

Experian          714-830-7000

CFPB              https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

BBB                https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started

Attorney General Consumer Complaint         Google your State Attorney General Consumer Complaint form

State Banking Commission     https://www.csbs.org/about/what/pages/directory.aspx (Choose State to get your website to file a complaint)

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