What is Hard Inquiry on your Credit Report & How it Affects Your Score

A hard inquiry on your Credit Report, What is it? How does it affect your credit score? Everything you need to know.

Credit scores are one of the most important financial terms that everyone should be aware of. It is important to have a high credit score, but it is much more important to consistently maintain that score, especially when you want to secure loans. Hard inquiries are one of those things that temporarily reduce your credit scores, and they might not be a good option when you are trying to secure loans during financial instability.

But what exactly is a hard inquiry, and what should you know about it? Let’s discuss it in detail.

Also read: FICO Score vs Credit Score: Which is the Best?

What is a Hard Inquiry?

A hard inquiry or a hard pull is when the creditors request to look into your credit history to determine if you should be granted a specific amount of loan. Of course, these hard inquiries are consent-based, and you are asked before these are made, but when a hard pull is made, it reduces your credit score by a few points.

One of the good things about the hard inquiry is the reduction in credit score points is temporary. This means that those points will be restored after some time, and if they don’t, you can dispute them on your credit history as a negative entry. 

But the bad thing about hard inquiry is when you are desperately seeking a loan from multiple creditors, and the repeated hard pull trims down your credit score by a lot of points. Though temporary, these can leave a hard impact in the short term and make it difficult for you. 

If you have a good or great credit score, you can easily get credit from most creditors, and the hard pull or inquiry won’t leave a major impact. On the other hand, if you have a low credit score and want to secure credit in the short term, we recommend you not to have a hard inquiry; it will stoop your chances much more.

Understanding Hard Inquiry on Your Credit Report

You must wonder and ask a question; Hey, Investographer, what exactly do creditors look at when they make a hard inquiry on our credit report? 

Well, that’s a smart question to ask.

When a hard pull or hard inquiry is made, the creditors get access to your complete credit report. Using this credit report, creditors look for your current and past financial behaviors to check if you can actually repay them the credit. 

Creditors go through every kind of payment history and balance, such as active loans and credits, missed payments, if you have ever been denied a loan or charged higher interest rates, and other impactful entries. 

Now, all this information can only be accessed through your credit reports that can only be requested from the credit bureaus. When the creditors request your credit report, bureaus treat it as an inquiry and leave a mark on your credit report. 

The hard inquiry on your credit report dictates other creditors that are desperate for a loan and may not be able to pay it easily and on time. So, a hard inquiry does hurt a little to your credit history, but you don’t need to worry much about it if you have a good credit score.

How Hard Inquiry Hurt Your Credit Score

Okay, we get a hard inquiry on our credit report, but how does it affect our credit scores? Why is that a hard pull a big issue for your crediting history or problematic for your credit procedures?

Hard inquiries leave a negative statement on your credit history; though temporary, it makes a big impact in the short term. So, when you are approaching multiple creditors, they will notice this inquiry, and you might get less chance of securing the loan.

When it comes to credit scores, to understand the impact of hard inquiry, you need to first understand how the FICO score accounts. FICO score comprises several factors: timely payments, percentage of credit used, age of credit, type of credit, and inquiries. Specifically, the hard pulls account for a smaller percentage.

So, when you are repeatedly seeking new loans or credits from multiple vendors, the score reduces as the inquiries increase. At least as long as the hard inquiry stays.

Besides, if you are looking for credits in the short-term, hard inquiries can reduce your chances and show you a bad phase. It is best not to frequently get hard pulls, or you will end up lowering your scores too much, which is technically not too good.

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How Long Does Hard Inquiry Last?

Hard inquiry lasts as long as two years on a credit report, and it does reduce your credit scores and chances of you seeking a new loan by a few points. 

However, the impact of hard inquiry reduces in a few months if there is not a couple of them on your credit report. It means that the credit scores impacted due to hard inquiry should be recovered in a few months or one year at most. 

Besides, do not forget that you need to have proper credit behavior such as timely payments, not missing any payment and usage of credit. With only correct credit behavior, the impact of hard inquiry will be recovered quickly, and you can get your scores back to rising again. 

What is Soft Inquiry?

A soft inquiry is much different from a hard inquiry; it involves lesser information and does not leave any negative record on your credit history. Moreover, your credit scores are not much impacted, and not even for a temporary period of months and years. 

One of the best things about soft inquiry is there are not many procedural issues, and you can easily request one. For instance, requesting your free credit report from all three credit bureaus is a soft inquiry and does not impact your credit scores or leave a negative mark on your credit history. A few other instances are when you want loan information requests from credit marketing services, prequalification approvals from lenders, most regular checks from employers, and more. 

What to do when you have a Negative Hard Inquiry on your Credit History?

If you haven’t approved a hard inquiry on your credit report to any of the creditors, the entry is negative, and you need to dispute it. Disputing a hard inquiry is one of the important steps to boosting your credit report. Space Shuttle Strategy also mentions disputing hard inquiry if you haven’t approved of it and increasing your credit scores by a few points.

Dispute letters are a little trickier if you want them to work in the first few tries. The secret lies in writing a well-put credit dispute letter, and DisputeBee is one of the best dispute letter generators for individuals and businesses. 

One of the best things about DisputeBee is you can even track your letters and use pre-written templates for quick letter generation. Besides, you can also alter these pre-written templates to add more information and proof to get a better hold of them. 

DisputeBee Overview

  • Create unlimited clients
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Overall Rating:
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DisputeBee is an automated credit repair software that helps you create and track dispute letters. It is available for both individuals and professional services, such as starting a credit repair business.

Overall, the tool is a perfect addition to starting a credit repair business with the right set of business integrations such as billing, client portals, unlimited clients and team accounts, custom templates, and more. Though the price is a little high given the features and requires an additional subscription to IdentityIQ, you can also opt for other competitive options, such as Credit Repair Cloud.

  • Support all three bureaus
  • Intelligent letter suggester
  • Automated dispute letter
  • Create disputes with bureaus and collectors for inquiries, collections, late payments, and more
  • Easy cancellation and refund
  • A little costly
  • Needs IdentityIQ subscription
  • No other way to import credit reports other than IdentityIQ
  • Could have more business tools

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does hard inquiry last on your credit history?

It may take up to two years for the hard inquiry to be less impactful or void on your credit history.

What is a hard inquiry on your credit report?

A hard inquiry or a hard pull is when the creditors request to look into your credit history to determine if you should be granted a specific amount of loan.

What is the difference between a hard inquiry and a soft inquiry?

One of the common differences between a hard inquiry and a soft inquiry is who made them and how much impact they cause. A soft inquiry is when you make them, and these cause almost no impact on your credit history or scores.

Wrapping up: Hard Inquiry Impact Your Credit Scores and History

Hard inquiries on your credit history can highly impact your chances of securing new or bigger loans. Hard inquiry reduces your credit score by a few points for a temporary period and may take up to two years to reduce the impact. If you are seeking loans in the near future, try not to have too many hard pulls, or you will technically have almost no chance of securing a less-risky loan.

When you have the wrong hard pulls, you can dispute such entries by reporting to the credit bureaus. The best way to do this is by writing a dispute letter to these credit bureaus, and DisputeBee is one of the best options for generating an automated dispute letter. 


Hi, this is Ashutosh - I am the creator of the "Space Shuttle Strategy" and most credit repair guides on this website. I love talking about finance, credit repair, and business tools, and I share my ideas through guided and helpful articles which can help you make a difference. Some people also call me Jr. Nikola Tesla, as I love creating new ideas and bringing change, and my ideas do stick.

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