How to Remove an Inquiry from Your Credit Report: A Step-by-Step Guide

Having an inquiry on your credit report can damage your credit score and make it difficult to get approved for loans and credit cards. Inquiries occur when you apply for credit, and the creditor accesses your credit report to make a decision. However, if you find that there are unauthorized inquiries on your credit report, or if you have too many inquiries that are hurting your credit score, it’s important to know how to remove them.

What is a credit inquiry?

A credit inquiry is a record that shows when someone accesses your credit report. There are two types of inquiries: hard and soft. A hard inquiry occurs when you apply for credit, such as a credit card or loan. A soft inquiry, on the other hand, occurs when someone accesses your credit report for a reason other than credit approval, such as a background check or pre-approval for a credit offer.

While soft inquiries do not affect your credit score, hard inquiries can have a negative impact. Each hard inquiry can deduct several points from your credit score, and too many inquiries can make it look like you are a risky borrower. It’s important to keep an eye on your credit report and make sure that all inquiries are legitimate.

Why would you want to remove an inquiry from your credit report?

There are several reasons why you might want to remove an inquiry from your credit report. For example, if you find unauthorized inquiries on your credit report, it could be a sign of identity theft. Removing these inquiries can help protect your credit and prevent further damage.

Additionally, having too many inquiries on your credit report can hurt your credit score and make it difficult to get approved for credit. If you are trying to improve your credit score, removing excess inquiries can be a helpful step.

How to remove unauthorized inquiries from your credit report

If you find unauthorized inquiries on your credit report, the first step is to report them to the credit bureau. You can do this by sending a letter or filing a dispute online. The credit bureau will investigate the inquiry and remove it from your credit report if they find that it was unauthorized.

It’s also a good idea to monitor your credit report regularly for any unauthorized activity. You can sign up for a credit monitoring service to get alerts when there are changes to your credit report.

How to remove legitimate inquiries from your credit report

If you have legitimate inquiries on your credit report that are hurting your credit score, it can be more difficult to have them removed. However, there are a few strategies that you can try:

  • Contact the creditor: If you have a hard inquiry from a creditor that you did not authorize, you can contact them and ask them to remove the inquiry. They may be willing to do this if they realize that the inquiry was a mistake.
  • Dispute the inquiry with the credit bureau: You can file a dispute with the credit bureau and ask them to remove the inquiry. It’s important to have proof that the inquiry was not authorized or that it was a mistake.
  • Wait it out: Hard inquiries will stay on your credit report for up to two years, but their impact on your credit score will decrease over time. If you can wait it out, the inquiry will eventually have less of an impact on your credit score.

How to avoid inquiries on your credit report

The best way to avoid inquiries on your credit report is to be selective about when you apply for credit. Each time you apply for credit, it will result in a hard inquiry on your credit report. Here are some tips to help you avoid unnecessary inquiries:

  • Check your credit score and report before applying for credit. This will give you an idea of whether you are likely to be approved and can help you avoid applying for credit that you are unlikely to get.
  • Apply for credit sparingly. Only apply for credit when you really need it, and do not apply for multiple credit cards or loans at once.
  • Consider pre-approval offers. If you receive a pre-approval offer for credit, it means that the creditor has already done a soft inquiry on your credit report and determined that you are likely to be approved. Applying for the pre-approved credit offer will not result in a hard inquiry.

The bottom line

Inquiries on your credit report can have a negative impact on your credit score and make it difficult to get approved for credit. If you find unauthorized inquiries on your credit report or have too many inquiries, it’s important to know how to remove them. While it can be difficult to remove legitimate inquiries, there are strategies that you can try. The best way to avoid inquiries is to be selective about when you apply for credit and to monitor your credit report regularly to make sure that all inquiries are legitimate.

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