Want to remove hard inquiries from your credit report? This guide should be helpful for you.
Hard inquiries negatively affect your credit report and, subsequently, decline your credit scores. These hard inquiries can stay on your credit report for up to 2 years, and surprisingly most of these hard inquiries are unauthorized or inaccurate.
Removing such inaccurate inquiries can boost your credit and help you quickly secure a loan. But how do you dispute hard inquiries, and what steps do you need to follow? Let’s discuss it all in the following guide.
How to Remove Hard Inquiries from Your Credit Report – A Guide
In our introductory guide, we discussed what hard inquiries are and how they negatively affect your credit scores. Hard inquiries are when a creditor pulls a request to look into your historical credit reports and most times, we know about it as we apply for a loan or credit-related tools, such as mortgages or auto loans.
But there are also times when hard inquiries are made without our knowledge, which are inaccurate or unauthorized. Such inquiries can lower your credit scores, and removing them can help you get a credit boost.
Note: If you are desperately seeking a loan, do not apply for loans from multiple creditors; these can leave multiple hard inquiries on your report and lower your credit score for a significant amount of time.
Now that we know why we need to remove inaccurate and unauthorized hard inquiries let’s discuss how we can find, differentiate, and remove hard inquiries from your credit report.
1. Review your Credit Reports
The foremost thing to remove hard inquiries from your credit report is to find them first, and it is a manual process.
So, first, let’s get our credit report from all three bureaus.
As per FCRA, every individual can get a free credit report from all three bureaus once every 12 months from the official website – Annual Credit Report. However, if you want to get more detailed and frequent credit reports with additional details and features such as credit scores, identity monitoring, and more, you can get them through credit monitoring services.
One of the popular credit monitoring services is myFICO which is a consumer division of FICO Scores and FICO and helps users directly get access to their scores with the least effort. You can also access credit reports from all three bureaus, which is handy when you want to dispute negative items.
myFICO Credit Score Monitoring
Credit Karma is also a credit monitoring service that offers credit scores and reports, while there are a few contrasts to myFICO. I suggest you run through both tools and find a suitable option to get access to your credit reports. Also, if there is another way you can get your credit reports, that will work too.
2. Check your Credit Reports in Detail
The second step to remove hard inquiries from your credit reports is to identify them on your credit reports.
Authorized hard inquiries cannot be disputed; however, if there are unauthorized or inaccurate hard inquiries, you can readily dispute them by sending a dispute letter to the concerned bureaus.
To identify the inaccurate hard inquiry, check for all the credit pull entries on your credit report. The inquiries are usually grouped under the “inquiries” or “credit applications” tab. Once you have the list, you can find each inquiry associated with “date of inquiry,” “name of creditor or lender,” and “type of inquiry (soft or hard).”
Check for the ones that you acknowledge and have authorized in the past, and flag the ones that you do not recognize. The ones that you do not recognize can be a sign of error or identity theft. These are the inquiries that we will dispute in the further steps.
3. Document the Unauthorized Hard Inquiries
When documenting unauthorized hard inquiries, one of the crucial steps is to organize and flag inaccurate entries only. So carefully look at each entry and pay attention to the details such as the name of the creditor and date of inquiry if you recognize them.
If you have a lot of such inquiries that you need to dispute, it is best to document them in order so we can send disputes to each of these creditors in order to remove them.
To document these inquiries, you can take an Excel sheet and note down the date of inquiry, creditor name, and other relevant details. You can also take some screenshots to make copies of such unauthorized entries and highlight them.
We can also use DisputeBee to create bulk dispute letters for each of these entries with a single click but more about it in the next steps.
4. Request for Removal
One crucial step before acting upon creating dispute letters to creditors is to request the associated creditors to remove unidentified hard inquiries.
This can be done by reaching out to the creditors with a formal request letter attached with proof that you have not made these credit requests and that it is either an error or a case of identity theft. On the basis of proof, there is a good chance that the creditor removes the hard inquiry, and you get a quick credit boost. On the contrary, disputing bureaus is a long process and will take some retakes before you can actually get the inquiry removed.
Note: Supporting documents and evidence are a must to convince the creditors to remove the hard inquiry from your credit report. It is always best to keep yourself calm and make a humble request in your letter.
If this doesn’t work for you, the only solution left here is to dispute these inaccurate hard inquiries to the credit bureaus.
5. Creating Dispute Letters
When you find an inaccurate entry on your credit report, you can always report it to the associated credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
And when there are a lot of such inquiries, creating individual dispute letters can be a troublesome and time-consuming task. In such a situation, you can use a tool like DisputeBee, which makes it easier for you to generate dispute letters.
All it takes is for you to upload the credit reports to the tool and link your IdentityIQ account. Once done, you can select all the inquiries that you want to dispute and then use the intelligent letter suggestion feature to generate dispute letters for each of these inquiries. Once done, you can print these letters and mail them to respective credit bureaus.
Ensure to attach proofs to support your dispute, and you can check out our dispute letter guides to learn how to write a correct dispute letter.
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Use DisputeBee, a professional credit repair software that automates the dispute writing process to create near-perfect and credible dispute letters.
6. Following up on Disputes
It is not always a one-shot case with dispute letters; it doesn’t work that way.
Monitor each dispute letter and follow up to know the progress from either the creditor or the bureau if you have sent a dispute letter. Bureaus can take from 30 -45 days to investigate your case, and after the investigation, take up to 5 days to notify you regarding the case.
However, it may take some additional time for your credit scores or credit reports to update after the correction from credit bureaus or when the creditors take back their hard inquiry.
Credit bureaus receive thousands of dispute letters every day, and it is hard for them to act on each of these disputes. Be gentle, and if you cannot find the result, send a dispute letter again with more proof that can help credit bureaus in solid reviewing.
7. Nothing Works? Take Professional Help
If disputing does not work for you, the last resort left is to take help from a professional, such as a credit attorney or a credit repair company.
Credit attorneys are one of the best options that can help you take down unauthorized or inaccurate hard inquiries from your credit reports. Ensure you provide them with all the evidence and related documents to make it easier and make your case stronger. However, it is worth to note a credit attorney can be expensive to hire, but in most cases, when the hard inquiry is incorrect, you always get a result from them.
The second option is to hire a credit repair company that can escalate the process while being under the law by their professionalism and experience in the industry. But most credit repair companies do not work, have negative reviews, and make the process only harder for you. A few of them are also a scam; it is recommended to stay away from such individuals or organizations that practice unethical ways to boost your credit scores. A thorough research about them should give you a clear picture.
Frequently Asked Questions on Removing Hard Inquiries
Hard inquiries are records of credit checks made by lenders or creditors when you apply for credit. These inquiries can negatively impact your credit scores and remain on your credit report for up to two years.
You can obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) through AnnualCreditReport.com. Additionally, credit monitoring services like myFICO and Credit Karma provide access to more detailed and frequent credit reports, including credit scores.
To identify unauthorized or inaccurate hard inquiries, carefully review your credit reports and look for entries under the “inquiries” or “credit applications” section. Check the date of inquiry, name of the creditor or lender, and inquiry type (soft or hard).
If you find unauthorized hard inquiries on your credit report, it’s important to document them. Create a detailed record of the date of inquiry, creditor name, and any other relevant information. Taking screenshots or making copies of your credit report highlighting unauthorized inquiries can also be helpful.
Credit attorneys specialize in credit-related legal matters and can assist in removing unauthorized or inaccurate hard inquiries. It’s important to do your research and choose a trustworthy credit attorney or credit repair company to avoid falling victim to scams or unethical practices.
Wrapping up: Removing Hard Inquiries from Credit Reports
Removing hard inquiries from your credit report is crucial for improving your credit scores and financial well-being. However, you can only dispute inaccurate hard inquiries, which is done by writing dispute letters to the reporting credit bureaus. In addition, it is best to first write a removal request letter to the creditor to remove the hard inquiry and then write a dispute letter to the credit bureaus.
Once you send dispute letters, you must monitor the progress and follow up. Credit bureaus can take from 30-45 days in the investigation process, and the changes can take some time to reflect on your credit reports. If this does not work for you, approach a professional such as a credit attorney.
I hope to have helped you with how to remove hard inquiries from your credit report and the necessary steps you need to employ.
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