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What is a hard Inquiry?
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What Is a Hard Inquiry?
A hard credit report can take just a few points from your score temporarily, but an informal inquiry will not affect it.
By NerdWallet Follow NerdWallet on social media for updates
3 February 2023
Written by Kathy Hinson Lead Assigning Editor Personal finances, credit scoring financial management and debt Kathy Hinson leads the core personal finance team at NerdWallet. Previously, she spent 18 years working at The Oregonian in Portland in positions such as copy desk chief and team leader for design and editing. Her previous experience includes news and copy editing at many Southern California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. She graduated with a bachelor’s in mass communications and journalism in The University of Iowa.
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An inquiry that is hard to answer is for a review of your credit score, usually to determine the viability of an loan or credit application. This could shave a few marks off of your score, but it’s temporary.
If you conduct a credit check yourself, it’s a soft credit inquiry, also known as a soft credit check. It won’t impact your credit score.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act places restrictions on when and why your credit report can be inspected.
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What is a difficult inquiry?
A hard inquiry, also known as a hard pull or hard credit check, needs your permission. It happens when you apply for credit, for example, a mortgage credit card or auto loan and loan for students, loan and personal loan. It doesn’t happen in the case of looking for pre-qualification to decide whether to apply.
The inquiry is added to your credit report, meaning anyone who looks up your credit report will be able to see it. A hard inquiry will remain on your credit report for some time, but it ceases to affect your credit score in less than a year.
How can an inquiry that is not a formal one impact your credit score?
A single hard inquiry can reduce as much as 5 points off of your FICO score. However, with the most-used FICO model the inquiries that are made within a 45-day time frame are considered to be one inquiry when you are ” ,” such as for mortgage, student or auto loans. The older FICO models as well as VantageScore which is FICO’s rival, also group inquiries for rate shopping, but in 14 days. A VantageScore spokesperson said that a hard inquiry could shave as much as 10 points off of VantageScore.
The majority of card issuers or lenders will pull a credit report from just one of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. So the inquiry will appear on just the credit report you have. The exception is for mortgages, in which the three bureaus of credit are usually examined.
It is smart to limit inquiries that are hard to make. Before you apply for credit, you should ensure as much as possible that you are likely to be accepted so that you don’t risk losing score points without gaining the approval you desire. Don’t apply for credit on impulse. Consider whether a discount or bonus that you are hoping to receive is worth the potential ding on your credit. If you’re in the market , a few points may not be too significant. However, if you have borderline credit quality consider reconsidering.
What is a soft inquiry?
Soft inquiries, also referred to as soft pulls or soft credit checks, may occur without your knowledge. If you’ve ever received a credit card offer via mail, it’s likely that the company offering the credit card performed an informal credit check to see if you would be eligible. This is also true for different types of loan offers, or when a mortgage broker , or lender does a pre-qualification or preapproval.
Employers can also conduct an investigation into your background and may look up your credit report that has been modified. Although they require your permission to review you credit file, the information is still not a hard inquiry because it’s not for the purpose of deciding whether to extend your credit.
The most important thing is that it’s an unstructured question, meaning it won’t affect your score. You can obtain your report upon request from a personal finance website like NerdWallet. You can also receive your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus. They are completely free, until the end of 2023, you are entitled to one each bureau every week.
If you check your own credit reports, you’ll see the soft inquiries mentioned, however they don’t appear on the credit reports that lenders view.
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Soft or hard inquiry?
Some questions can be soft or hard. If you lease a car or apply for a rental apartment and subscribe to cable TV or internet service or open an account with the bank, or someone just needs to verify your identity, you may get hit with either a tough inquiry or a soft one. The only way to be sure beforehand is to ask the potential tenant or the service company.
If you think an inquiry that is hard to verify is not on your credit report and should not be then you can other inaccurate information. It’s definitely worth looking into as it could indicate fraud or .
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