Remove Inquiries from Credit Reports

Remove Inquiries from Credit Reports

Credit inquiries are the most misunderstood items related to credit scoring. The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), which compiles credit scores for the three major credit bureaus, Transunion, Equifax, and Experian, 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 go about removing them.

Table of Contents

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

To understand the implications of an inquiry on the credit score, it is vital to know what an inquiry is. An inquiry is nothing more than a credit check which happens when a company or person requests to check a credit report. Primarily of two types, hard and soft, a credit inquiry affects the credit score by various amounts. A hard inquiry happens when you apply for a credit card or loan, and the potential lender requests to view your credit report before extending credit. On the other hand, a soft inquiry takes place every time you request the credit bureaus to furnish your credit report. While a hard inquiry will stay on your credit report for two years from the date it was incurred, a soft inquiry will not appear in your credit report. It is befitting to say that all inquiries do not affect the credit score uniformly. In some cases, inquiries have reduced the credit score by almost 10-15 points. However, in some cases, individuals with more than 30 credit inquiries have not seen a major fall in their credit score. On the contrary, they have a near-perfect score of 800. FICO itself has put out very contradicting information regarding how inquiries affect scores. Thus, individuals must know the right facts about inquiries before making any assumptions.

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 Inquiries

Some people might feel that an inquiry is a difference between loan approval and denial. In some cases, inquiries might not affect the credit score at all. Then why remove them? Thus, before moving to steps for removing inquiries, let us first understand when individuals can benefit from removing inquiries.

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

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 ?

  • When you apply for a Mortgage loan – If you have a credit score above 680 and are trying to get a loan, it is prudent to get the inquiry removed from your credit report. A crucial point to note here is that there should be no negative impact on your credit history such as late payments or bankruptcies.
  • When you are looking for business loan funding – Out of all the 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 scores just because they have too many inquiries. Creditors rely heavily on debt-to-income ratios to make lending decisions. Since business loans generally do not reflect on personal credit reports, a business credit lender has no way to determine how many pre-existing business loans an applicant has. Therefore, they look at business loan related inquiries to understand if the applicant has any pre-existing business loans.  They are also concerned with recent inquiries, as recently opened accounts may take up to 90 days to appear on the credit report. Usually, for business or any type of corporate credit, having several business loan inquiries may disqualify you as a debtor. Additionally, credit card companies, like those offering rewards programs, often decline applications based on excessive inquiries.
Additionally, other factors linked to high credit utilization, the length of your credit history, and lack of revolving credit may also be hampering your credit score. Thus, you should decide on removing inquiries from your credit report based on your current credit position. In case your credit situation necessitates the removal of inquiries, you can refer to the following guidelines.

How to contact the credit bureaus to remove inquiries

The easiest way to remove questionable inquiries is by contacting the credit bureaus. You can contact any, or all the three bureaus, to remove the inquiries from your credit report.

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, 10 am-7 pm 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. Their phone, mail, and fax details are also given below.
  • Online: Equifax Online Dispute Portal
  • 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 can reach them via call, mail, or fax.
  • By Phone: 1-800-916-8800: then press 0, 8 am-11 pm 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

Do not dispute an inquiry linked to an account you opened

You should always make sure that you do not dispute any inquiries on your credit report that refer to any illegitimate accounts. If you dispute such an inquiry, the credit bureaus will reach out to the creditor and notify them of your dispute. The creditor would then suspect you to be involved in fraudulent activities and would close the account.

For Victims of Identity Theft

In case you are a victim of identity theft and, are certain someone has been fraudulently incurring inquires in your name, you can follow a specific procedure for issue redressal. It would involve filling out a sworn Identity Theft Affidavit at the Federal Trade Commission’s Website.

Sample dispute letter to remove inquiries

To further simplify the process of inquiry removal for you, we have provided a sample dispute letter that you can refer to. You can modify it as per your requirements but ensure to include all the aspects mentioned here.

Mail it out to each of the credit bureaus via certified mail, enclose a copy of each of the following:
1. SSN card (or any other document showing your full SSN#),
2. Recent utility bill (or a 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,

Following 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 credit report. I request that you investigate the source of these inquiries, and ascertain that the creditor has a valid purpose, and can verify all my personal 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 granting you a period of 30 days to complete this investigation.

Truly,

{Name}

{Signature}

The Final Step: Take Action to remove the inquiries

After going through this entire process, if you still feel that you have not received the desired results, you can always contact professional companies who deal with such matters. credit repair services California
will dispute the inquiries on your behalf and are certain to provide quicker results. 

Even if you are in a dilemma and are not able to decide whether to go for inquiry removal or not, you can still contact these companies. They will help you understand the suitable course of action for you and aid you in that process.

Remove Inquiries from Credit Reports