How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on Your Credit Report?

If you have applied for a credit card or loan, you may have noticed that the creditor placed a hard inquiry on your credit report. A hard inquiry, commonly known as a hard pull, is placed on a person’s credit report when a lender or creditor requests a copy of your credit report to assess your creditworthiness. Hard inquiries are considered as negative items and can lower your credit score by 5 to 10 points. So, how long does a hard inquiry stay on your credit report? We will answer this question in much detail below.

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on Your Credit Report?

Hard inquiries stay on your credit report for 24 months from the date that your lender or creditor requested a copy of your credit report. Once the 24 month period is over, a hard inquiry is automatically removed from your credit report. You should not apply for too many credit cards or loans within a short period of time because every time you apply for a credit card or loan, a hard inquiry is placed on your credit card. Although a single hard inquiry has a negligible impact on your credit score, racking up too many hard inquiries within a short period of time will have a substantial negative impact on your credit score.

Hard inquiries account for 10% of your credit score. The more hard inquiries you have on your credit report, the lower your credit score will be.

Racking up too many hard inquiries within a short period of time is not only bad for your credit score, but will cause creditors and lenders to view you as credit hungry and too reliant on credit. Some creditors may even deny you credit and loans if they see that you have racked up too many hard inquiries. As such, you should keep credit card and loan application to a minimum if you want to be approved for credit in the future.

Here are some examples of hard inquiries:

  • Applying for a credit card
  • Applying for an auto loan
  • Applying to finance a vehicle
  • Applying for a home loan
  • Applying for a student loan
  • Refinancing your home
  • Applying to rent some apartments or homes

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score?

Although hard inquiries will remain on your credit report for 2 years, experts believe that they only impact your credit score for the first 12 months. After that, their impact on your credit score will begin to lessen until they’re completely removed after 24 months.

That said, hard inquiries do not have a major impact on your credit score. In fact, hard inquiries only account for 10% of your credit score. Your payment history and credit utilization have a major impact on your credit score. For example, your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score and your credit utilization (how much of your available credit you’re using) makes up 30% of your credit score.

So, if you want to improve your credit score, you should focus most of your efforts on making timely payments on your credit cards and loans, and lowering the balances on your credit cards and loans.

How Much Do Hard Inquiries Lower Your Credit Score?

Each hard inquiry can lower your credit score by 5 to 10 points. That said, the point drop you will experience as the result of a hard inquiry is temporary. Within a few months, the impact should begin to lessen and your credit score will eventually bounce back to what it was. If you’ve been making timely and complete payments on your new account, you may even notice an increase in your credit score.

For persons who have a lengthy credit history and excellent credit score, a single hard inquiry will have little to no impact on their credit score. However, if you have a fairly short credit history with very few accounts, a single hard inquiry will have a bigger impact on your credit score.

That said, the impact of a hard inquiry does not last forever. However, if you know that you’ll be applying for a home loan, you should avoid applying for other loans and credit cards until you’re approved for your mortgage and you close the deal on your new home.

Every point counts when you’re applying for a mortgage, and the higher your credit score, the better chance you have to approved and the better the terms of your approval.

Also, some lenders will not lend you money to buy a home if you have too many hard inquiries. So, if you’re applying for a home loan, you should definitely hold back on applying for other loans and credit cards.

Hard Inquiry vs Soft Inquiry

A hard inquiry is placed on your credit report whenever you apply for a loan or a credit card and a creditor requests a copy of your credit report when evaluating your ability to repay money that the lender may loan you. The better your credit score, the more likely it is that the lender will approve your request for a credit card or loan.

A soft inquiry, on the other hand, does not appear on your credit report and does not lower your credit score. Soft inquiries occur when a creditor or lender reviews your credit file for a purpose other than extending or approving you for credit.

Soft inquiries can be placed on your credit report for any of the following reasons:

  • You request a copy of your own credit report
  • Your employer requests a copy of your credit report
  • A potential landlord accesses your credit report
  • A lender or creditor accesses your credit report to pre-approve you for an offer
  • An existing lender accesses your credit report to review your credit report
  • An insurance company requests a copy of your credit report

These reasons are different than those for a hard inquiry, which typically involves a decision as to whether to approve you for a credit card or loan.

What Should You Do If There is a Hard Inquiry on Your Credit Report That Does Not Belong to You?

If you check your credit report and find a hard inquiry that does not belong to you, you have two options to have the inquiry removed. The first option is to file a dispute with the credit reporting bureau displaying the inquiry and ask them to remove it. Once you’ve filed a dispute, the credit reporting bureau will conduct an investigation to determine whether the inquiry belongs to you. If they find that it does not, it will be removed from your credit report.

The second option you have is to use the contact information of the person or entity that placed the hard inquiry on your credit report to contact them and explain to them that you did not apply for the credit card or loan that they claim you applied for. Some creditors and lenders are willing to remove a hard inquiry if you are not the application.

However, in the event that they’re not willing to remove the hard inquiry, dispute it through the credit reporting bureau reporting the hard inquiry.

Can You Remove Hard Inquiries From Your Credit Report?

None of us want hard inquiries on your credit, but the fact that you don’t want it to appear on your credit does mean that you’ll be able to remove it. If the hard inquiry is valid, meaning it was placed on your credit report as a result of you apply for a credit card or loan, you will not be able to remove it from your credit report. However, hard inquiries do not last forever. In fact, a hard inquiry will only remain on your credit report for 24 months. After 24 months, it’s automatically removed from your credit report and will no longer impact your credit score.

How Many Inquiries Are Too Much?

There is no specific number of inquiries that are too much. That said, some lenders will not offer you credit cards or loans if you have more than X number of inquiries. That said, experts believe that anything above 6 inquiries is too much. Experts state that this number of inquiries is too much because as the number of inquiries on a person’s credit report increases, so does the likelihood that, that person will file for bankruptcy as a result of defaulting on his or her payments.

Rate Shopping

The fact that too many hard inquiries can hurt your credit score should not stop you from shopping for the best interest rate on your new loan. We say this because most credit scoring models offer you a window that ranges from 14 to 45 days during which all of the inquiries that you accumulate during this timeframe only count as one inquiry. For example, if you applied for a home mortgage with 5 different lenders who each added a hard inquiry to your credit report, your 5 inquiries would only count as 1 inquiry, which should have little impact on your credit score.

Credit Score Planet Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why did I get a hard inquiry if I was approved?

A hard inquiry is added to your credit report whether or not you’re approved for a credit card or loan. A hard inquiry is added to your credit report from the mere fact that you applied for a credit card or loan and the creditor accessed your credit report to determine your creditworthiness.

2. Does a hard inquiry mean that you were denied?

No, a hard inquiry does mean that you were denied. It’s added whenever you apply for a credit card or loan. A hard inquiry only means that a creditor or lender has requested a copy of your credit report.

3. Why are hard inquiries bad?

Hard inquiries are bad because they mean that you’ve been seeking credit or loans. Too many within a short period of time could hurt your credit score because it shows lenders and creditors that you’re actively seeking to borrow money.

4. Do multiple hard inquiries count as one?

Multiple hard inquiries only count as one when you’re rate shopping for a loan, such as a home loan, auto loan, or student loan. For hard inquiries to count as one hard inquiry, they must be made within a short period of time, usually 15 to 45 days.

5. How many points is a hard inquiry?

A hard inquiry usually results in a point drop of 5 to 10 points. The stronger your credit, the less point drop you will notice as a result of a hard inquiry.

6. How long does it take a hard inquiry to show up on your credit report?

A hard inquiry is placed on your credit report as soon as a party accesses your credit report to determine your creditworthiness for a credit card or loan.

7. Do hard inquiries affect buying a house?

Yes, the number of hard inquiries you have may affect your ability to buy a home because some lenders have a requirement where they will not lend money to a person to buy a home if he or she has X number of inquiries. This is different from one lender to another, so ask your lender how many hard inquiries they’d like to see on your credit report.