There are two types of credit inquiries, hard inquiries and soft inquiries. Hard inquiries are used to track how often you have applied for credit in the last two years. Soft inquiries are when you or a potential employer, apartment management, etc. pulls a “check” on your credit report (only people you authorize can do this).
A hard inquiry isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but too many of them in a short period of time may have a negative impact on your ability to obtain credit. When lenders see that you have more than six inquiries in 12 months, they may deny you credit because you are too high risk. While hard inquiries stay on your credit report for two years, they only impact your score for the first year.
Generally speaking, if you have received a hard inquiry it’s likely because of a credit application you’ve made such as a loan or credit card. A hard inquiry is a record, and it will fall off naturally after two years. It cannot be removed from your credit profile. On the other hand, if you discover a hard inquiry for an application you did not submit, it can be a sign of attempted fraud. This can be disputed, and if it is proven to be fraudulent, it will be removed and your credit score will likely improve (albeit slightly). Hard inquiries are a small factor in your credit score.
A soft credit inquiry, like the ones made by employers who are vetting candidate employees, or debt relief agencies like ours, who are previewing your financial status, do not impact your credit profile. This is one reason my many credit organizations say that checking your credit score does not negatively impact the score itself. You are essentially doing a soft credit inquiry when you do check your credit score.
If you are interested in learning more about your credit profile and reducing your debts, take advantage of Consumer Alliance Processing’s free debt review. It only takes a few minutes to analyze the specifics of your financial situation and provide you with options for affordable debt repayment. A debt review is a soft credit inquiry and therefore has zero impact on your credit score. Alternatively it will help you to better understand your credit score and profile.