A hard credit inquiry is a record of when a lender or creditor checks your credit report for the purpose of making a lending decision.
Too many hard inquiries on your credit report can negatively impact your credit score and make it more difficult for you to get approved for loans or credit cards in the future.
If you have a hard inquiry on your credit report that you believe is inaccurate or unjustified, you may want to consider writing a letter to request its removal. Here are the steps to follow to write a hard credit inquiry removal letter:
Step 1: Check your credit report
Before you write your letter, you need to check your credit report to identify the hard inquiry you want to dispute. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for the section of your credit report that lists your inquiries and note the name of the creditor or lender that made the inquiry.
Step 2: Gather evidence
To support your dispute, gather any evidence you have that the hard inquiry is inaccurate or unjustified. For example, if you didn’t apply for credit with the creditor or lender that made the inquiry, you can provide proof of this, such as an email or letter from the creditor or lender acknowledging that you didn’t apply.
If you were denied credit as a result of the hard inquiry, you can provide documentation showing that you were ultimately approved for credit from another source.
Step 3: Write your letter
Your hard credit inquiry removal letter should be written in a professional, formal tone and should include the following information:
- Your name, address, and phone number
- The date of the letter
- The name of the creditor or lender that made the inquiry
- The date the inquiry was made
- The reason you believe the inquiry is inaccurate or unjustified
- Any supporting evidence you have
- A request to have the inquiry removed from your credit report
- Your signature
Here’s an example of what your letter might look like:
Template: Hard Credit Inquiry Removal Letter
[Your Phone Number]
[Credit Bureau Name]
[Credit Bureau Address]
[City, State Zip]
I am writing to dispute a hard inquiry on my credit report that was made by [Creditor/Lender Name] on [Date of Inquiry]. I believe this inquiry is inaccurate/unjustified because [Provide reason for dispute].
Enclosed please find documentation to support my dispute, including [List any supporting evidence you have].
I am requesting that this inquiry be removed from my credit report as soon as possible.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
[Your Printed Name]
Step 4: Mail your letter
Once you’ve written your letter, make a copy of it for your records and mail the original to the appropriate credit bureau(s). Be sure to send your letter via certified mail with a return receipt requested so that you have proof that the credit bureau(s) received your dispute.
Step 5: Wait for a response
The credit bureau(s) have 30 days to investigate your dispute and respond to you with the results. If the credit bureau(s) determines that the inquiry is inaccurate or unjustified, they will remove it from your credit report.
If they determine that the inquiry is accurate and justified, it will remain on your credit report. If you disagree with the credit bureau(s) determination, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or seek legal advice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a hard credit inquiry?
Answer: A hard credit inquiry, also known as a hard pull, is a request for your credit report that is initiated by a lender or other financial institution when you apply for credit. Hard credit inquiries can affect your credit score and remain on your credit report for up to two years.
How do I remove a hard credit inquiry from my credit report?
Answer: You can request that a hard credit inquiry be removed from your credit report if it was the result of fraud or if you did not authorize the inquiry. To request the removal of a hard credit inquiry, you will need to contact the credit bureau that is reporting the inquiry and provide evidence of the fraud or unauthorized activity.
If the credit bureau determines that the hard credit inquiry was the result of fraud or unauthorized activity, they will remove it from your credit report.
Can I remove a hard credit inquiry that was the result of a legitimate credit application?
Answer: It is generally not possible to remove a hard credit inquiry that was the result of a legitimate credit application. Hard credit inquiries are a normal part of the credit application process and are typically included in your credit report as a record of your credit activity.
How many hard credit inquiries is too many?
Answer: Having too many hard credit inquiries can negatively impact your credit score. It is generally recommended to minimize the number of hard credit inquiries you have on your credit report, as each inquiry can lower your credit score by a few points.
However, the specific number of hard credit inquiries that is considered “too many” will depend on your individual credit history and other factors.
How long do hard credit inquiries stay on my credit report?
Answer: Hard credit inquiries remain on your credit report for up to two years. However, their impact on your credit score tends to diminish over time.
Do all credit inquiries have the same impact on my credit score?
Answer: Not all credit inquiries have the same impact on your credit score. Hard credit inquiries, which are initiated when you apply for credit, can have a negative impact on your credit score.
Soft credit inquiries, on the other hand, are not initiated by credit applications and do not have an impact on your credit score. Examples of soft credit inquiries include when you check your own credit score or when a lender pre-approves you for a credit offer.