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Remove Hard Inquiries From Your Credit Report

Ali Zane is a credit repair expert, advocate, and author with nearly 20 years experience getting positive results for his credit repair clients.

Credit inquiries are the most misunderstood items relating to credit scoring. The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), which compiles credit scores for the three major credit bureaus, likes to keep consumers in the dark about the details of their proprietary credit scoring model. This article will help you determine if your specific credit situation will benefit from the removal of inquiries and how to remove hard inquiries.

If you prefer to get professional help, you can also reach out to our credit repair specialists for guidance.

How many points does a hard inquiry affect the credit score?

Fico itself has put out very contradicting information regarding how inquiries affect scores. Based on my personal experience of sifting through thousands of credit files, I’ve discovered inquiries won’t bring down a credit score more than 10-15 points. There are individuals credit files I’ve seen with over 30 inquiries and yet they have a near perfect credit score of 800.

How long does a hard inquiry stay on your credit report for?

A hard inquiry will stay on your credit report for two years from the date it was incurred. The inquiry will fall off automatically fall off your credit report, as soon as the two year mark hits.

Why Remove Hard Inquiries

So, before we move into how to remove hard inquiries, let’s explore if deleting inquiries will make any useful impact on your particular credit report.

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When should you not focus on removing inquires?

If your credit score is below 680, it is probably due to prior negative payment history, collections (paid or unpaid) or public records. You would need to address these items first with credit bureau disputes and either debt validation or pay for deletions for collections and engaging creditors for late payments.

Additionally, other factors linked to high credit utilization, the age of your credit accounts and lack of revolving credit may also be suppressing your score.

When can you benefit from inquiry removal ?

If you apply for a Mortgage loan:
If you’ve got a score in excess of 680 and you’re trying to get a loan and you’re just a mere handful of points away from the target score for approval, only then would I recommend addressing the inquiries. That is if there is nothing else negatively impacting your score, like negative payment history or high card balances.

When you’re looking for business loan funding:
Of all different types of lenders, business credit lenders treat inquires the harshest, especially business related inquiries and recent inquiries. They even turn down people with perfect credit due to excessive inquiries. Credit grantors rely heavily on debt-to-income ratios to make lending decisions. Since business loans often do not report to personal credit reports, it is not possible for a business credit lender to determine how many pre-existing business loans an applicant.

Therefore, they look at business loan related inquiries to determine the possibility of pre-existing business loans the applicant may have. They are also concerned with recent inquiries, as recently opened accounts may take up to 90 days to appear on the credit report. As a rule of thumb, for business funding or any type of corporate credit, any number of business loan inquiries may disqualify you as well as excessive inquires within the last 12 months of any nature. Additionally, credit card companies, like those offering rewards programs, often decline applications based on excessive inquiries.

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How to contact the credit bureaus to remove inquiries

The easiest way to remove questionable inquiries is by contacting the credit bureaus, below are different ways you can do so.

Removing Inquiries on Experian:

Experian does not allow for inquiries to be disputed online through their dispute center.
The other ways to contact Experian to dispute inquiries are as follows:

By Phone:

1-714-830-7000 then press 1 , 8 am – 10 pm CST weekdays, 10am-7pm CST weekends, (requires an Experian report id#)

By Mail: Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen TX 75013

By Fax: 1-972-390-4925

Removing inquiries on Equifax:

Equifax is the only bureau that allows you to dispute inquiries online., by mail and by fax.

Online: Equifax Online Dispute Portal: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-dispute/

By Phone: 1-800-846-5279, goes to live agent

By Mail: Equifax
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

By Fax: 1-888-826-0598

Removing inquiries from Transunion:

Although Transunion does not allow inquiries to be disputed online, you’ll need to call in your disputes, fax or mail them in:

By Phone: 1-800-916-8800: then press 0, 8am-11pm EST, Monday through Friday

By Mail: Transunion
P.O. Box 2000
Chester PA 19016

By Fax: 1-610-546-4657 (As of May 2018, Transunion is no longer taking requests by fax)

By Phone:1-800-916-8800: 8am-11pm EST, Monday through Friday.

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Do not dispute an inquiry linked to an account you opened

Lastly, make sure not to dispute any inquiries on your credit report that resulted in an account you legitimately opened.Since once you dispute that inquiry, the credit bureaus will reach out to the creditor and notify them of your dispute.The creditor would then suspect the account was fraudulently opened and end up closing the account.

For Victims of Identity Theft

If you are a victim of identity theft and are certain someone has been fraudulently incurring inquires in your name, then there is a special procedure you will follow including filling out a sworn Identity Theft Affidavit at the Federal Trade Commissions Website

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Sample dispute letter to remove inquiries

Below is a sample dispute letter, use it but modify it to fit your own words and format to dispute as many inquiries as necessary.

Mail it out to each of the credit bureaus via certified mail, enclose a copy of each of the following:
1. SSN card (or anything showing your full SSN#),
2. Recent utility bill (or page from a bank statement)
3. State-issued identification.

Full Name

Mailing Address:

Date of Birth, SSN#

{If Sending to Experian: P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013}

{If Sending to Equifax: P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374-0256}

{If Sending to Transunion: Consumer Disputes, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016}

{Date}

RE: Investigation Request to Delete Credit Inquires

To whom it may concern,

In accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act Section 611 (15 U.S.C. § 1681I), I am practicing my right to challenge questionable information that I have found on my personal credit report. I request that you investigate the source of these inquiries, and ascertain that the creditor had a permissible purpose, and is able to verify my complete file information including full name, address, date of birth and SSN.

I am disputing the following inquiries:
1. {Creditor Name} {Date of inquiry}
2. {Creditor Name} {Date of inquiry}
3. {Creditor Name} {Date of inquiry}
4. {Creditot Name {Date of inquriy}

If your investigation reveals the inquiry is valid, I request that you provide me with your method of verification as well as the contact information of the source of this verification.

I am allowing you 30 days to complete this investigation.

Truly,

{Name}

{Signature}

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The Final Step: Take Action to remove the inquiries

Now comes the time to figure out what to do about this problem.

From experience I can tell you that the sooner you take action to address inquiries, the better the chances of success.

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