Most consumers understand that every time they apply for credit, an inquiry is generated by the lender, and that goes directly on a credit report. Although these usually don’t have much of an impact on your credit score, too many of them can generate points being taken off and it can lead to questions as to why you are so diligently seeking credit. However, inquiries are not as cut and dry as all that and some hardly affect your credit score at all. Do you know the difference between a hard and soft inquiry and what to do if you find any unauthorized inquiries on your credit report? These are the ones to worry about and if you spot them, you should take action to get them removed as quickly as possible.
First of all, hard inquiries are typically authorized by you when applying for credit. A soft inquiry doesn’t cost you points and most lenders send them through by the tens of thousands in the pre-authorization process. Creditors know this and although they are listed as inquiries on that section at the bottom of your credit report, they have little to no bearing on your creditworthiness.
It’s the hard inquiries you need to be concerned with, so it is suggested that you get a copy of your credit report from the three reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) which you can get for free at least once a year. If you notice that there are hard inquiries which are negatively affecting your score and that you haven’t authorized them, it’s time to write what is referred to as a “Hard Inquiry Removal” letter to be submitted to each of the above-mentioned reporting agencies.
Remember, you will probably only be penalized five points for each of these inquiries but what happens if you have found more than a few that you didn’t authorize? Even one can have a negative impact on your credit report if a future lender wonders why you didn’t pursue that loan or weren’t granted a loan. This is being highlighted for you so that you understand why it’s important to write that letter, including the fact that this was an unauthorized hit.
Obviously, you would include your name and address and any contact information you choose to divulge, including email and phone numbers. Each of the reporting agencies should get their own copy, which you should send certified, return receipt requested to ensure the letter reached its destination. Detail any pertinent information as to the date and organization that made the inquiry. In other words, you are disputing the hard hit your credit report took and are asking it to be removed so that it cannot be seen in the future.
If you aren’t sure how to write the letter or what to include, you can research forms online or contact a reputable credit repair service. One unauthorized hard inquiry may not cost you much as far as points go but it’s the principle of the thing, which may cost you in the end when it comes to future authorized inquiries. Write that letter today!