How to Dispute a Hard Inquiry on Your Credit Report

Trying to apply for credit and getting turned down? There’s a few things to be cautious about and over applying is definitely one of them. Below we’re gonna explain what exactly is a hard inquiry, how they affect your credit, why you might want to report them and how.

What’s a Hard Inquiry?

When you apply for credit, whether it’s a loan, mortgage, or even a credit card, the financial institution checks your credit. This is what’s called a hard inquiry. Those checks into your credit which ultimately affect your credit score and will show on your credit report. These hard inquiries affect your credit by maybe 3-7 points. This can be recovered easily in a few months. The issue becomes when you have multiple hard inquiries. These can easily collect up to 100 which has a huge hit on your credit. The financial institution is looking for these because the more you have the more you’re searching for credit which can be a red flag. No one’s going to loan credit to someone who’s actively searching in multiple places. It can show unreliability and that you’ll be less likely to afford to pay them back along with everyone else you’ve filled with in request for credit. Being known as a risky borrower isn’t something many people want, especially when you need credit for whatever reason.

How do they Affect your Credit?

Typically a single hard inquiry wouldn’t affect anything. Like mentioned above you could recover in a few months. It is when you have multiple that can affect you. It may be hard to keep the number of hard inquiries down because they are required for multiple things. Loans, mortgages, credit cards and even keep a good credit score. Life takes unexpected turns so trying to limit the amount of times you need credit or apply for it can be impossible to control.

Why Report Them?

To try to be cautious and wary of your credit score, you want to keep track of them. Go through them and make sure you know the financial institution or the cause behind each inquiry. You can typically find your inquiries on your credit report under “inquiries” or “requests viewed by others.” Another thing you need to be wary of is to not confuse soft inquiries with hard inquiries. A soft inquiry is when you’ve personally checked your credit score, these don’t affect your score. It’s the hard inquiries you need to be cautious of. If there’s one that you don’t know about, that’s when you can dispute it and get the best luck.

You don’t want to just dispute any and all hard inquiries. You sign and give permission for a financial institution to check into your credit and do an inquiry. If there’s one that you don’t recognize or that wasn’t done with your permission or done legally then you have every right to dispute it and you should. You can read more here about why you should report a dispute.

How to Report a Dispute

After you’ve found a hard inquiry on your credit report  that doesn’t belong or one that you know wasn’t done with your permission then you can dispute it. You’ll start by filing a dispute. The credit bureau is required to investigate the dispute within 30 days of your filing date.

There’s a few places you can get help and tools to help you file a dispute. These can make the process easier and ensure it’s done properly. You can file through major bureaus such as Transunion, Equifax, or Experian. Once the dispute is filled the bureau will investigate it. If they find that the inquiry was unauthorized then it will be removed from your credit report and you’d be notified.

We hope this was helpful and gave you a better understanding of what a hard inquiry is, the effects it has on your credit and the steps to finding unauthorized ones and how to dispute them. Having hard inquiries can be impossible to avoid. Most are authorized (and needed). However, sometimes a financial institution can accidentally run two, or one may be done without your authorization. This is when you have the ability to dispute them and have every right to do so.

Dorian Koci

Dr. Dorian Koçi is a historian, Director of National Historical Museum of Albania and lecturer in Tirana State University, Faculty of History and Philology and New York University of Tirana.