A hard inquiry, or a "hard pull," occurs when you apply for a new line of credit, such as a credit card or loan. It means that a creditor has requested to look at your credit file to determine how much risk you pose as a borrower. Hard inquiries show up on your credit report and can affect your credit score.
A hard credit inquiry could lower your credit score by as much as 10 points, though in many cases the damage probably won't be that significant. As FICO explains: “For most people, one additional credit inquiry will take less than five points off their FICO Scores.”
A hard inquiry, also called a hard pull or hard credit check, requires your consent. It is triggered when you apply for credit, such as a mortgage, credit card, auto loan, student loan or personal loan. It doesn't happen if you are only looking for pre-qualification to decide whether to apply.
Hard inquiries appear when you've given someone permission to check your credit report in order to process a credit or loan application — these can also lower your score. Soft credit inquiries don't harm your credit score but do involve someone checking your score.
One or two hard inquiries accrued during the normal course of applying for loans or credit cards can have an almost negligible effect on your credit. Lots of recent hard inquiries on your credit report, however, could elevate the level of risk you pose as a borrower and have a more noticeable impact on credit scores.
Disputing hard inquiries on your credit report involves working with the credit reporting agencies and possibly the creditor that made the inquiry. Hard inquiries can't be removed, however, unless they're the result of identity theft. Otherwise, they'll have to fall off naturally, which happens after two years.
If you find an unauthorized or inaccurate hard inquiry, you can file a dispute letter and request that the bureau remove it from your report. The consumer credit bureaus must investigate dispute requests unless they determine your dispute is frivolous.
Hard inquiries serve as a timeline of when you have applied for new credit and may stay on your credit report for two years, although they typically only affect your credit scores for one year. Depending on your unique credit history, hard inquiries could indicate different things to different lenders.
Checking your free credit scores on Credit Karma doesn't hurt your credit. These credit score checks are known as soft inquiries, which don't affect your credit at all. Hard inquiries (also known as “hard pulls”) generally happen when a lender checks your credit while reviewing your application for a financial product.
Checking your credit reports or credit scores will not impact credit scores. Regularly checking your credit reports and credit scores is a good way to ensure information is accurate.
To get an inquiry removed within 24 hours, you need to physically call the companies that placed the inquiries on the telephone and demand their removal. This is all done over the phone, swiftly and without ever creating a letter or buying a stamp.
The short answer is: possibly. If you've applied for several credit cards within a short period of time, for instance, this attempt to obtain multiple sources of new credit can signal higher risk to lenders. These multiple inquiries will appear on your credit report.
Compared to a soft inquiry (or “soft pull”) — which doesn't pull your credit report — a hard inquiry can actually ding your credit score a few points, regardless if you end up being approved or denied for the credit card or loan.
In most cases, hard inquiries have very little if any impact on your credit scores—and they have no effect after one year from the date the inquiry was made. So when a hard inquiry is removed from your credit reports, your scores may not improve much—or see any movement at all.
FICO credit scores, the industry standard for sizing up credit risk, range from 300 to a perfect 850—with 670 to 739 labeled “good,” 740-799 “very good” and 800 to 850 “exceptional.” A 700 score places you right in the middle of the good range, but still slightly below the average credit score of 711.
Credit scores can drop due to a variety of reasons, including late or missed payments, changes to your credit utilization rate, a change in your credit mix, closing older accounts (which may shorten your length of credit history overall), or applying for new credit accounts.
A FICO score of 650 is considered fair—better than poor, but less than good. It falls below the national average FICO® Score of 710, and solidly within the fair score range of 580 to 669.
Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good; and 800 and up are considered excellent.
70% of U.S. consumers' FICO® Scores are higher than 660. What's more, your score of 660 is very close to the Good credit score range of 670-739. With some work, you may be able to reach (and even exceed) that score range, which could mean access to a greater range of credit and loans, at better interest rates.
How Many Points Does a Hard Inquiry Affect Your Credit Score? A single hard inquiry will drop your score by no more than five points. Often no points are subtracted. However, multiple hard inquiries can deplete your score by as much as 10 points each time they happen.
Legally, hard inquiries cannot occur without your permission.
The main ways to erase items in your credit history are filing a credit dispute, requesting a goodwill adjustment, negotiating pay for delete, or hiring a credit repair company. You can also stop using credit and wait for your credit history to be wiped clean automatically, which will usually happen after 7–10 years.
If you can't trace the reason for a hard inquiry or you believe it was done without your consent, you can dispute it online. If the credit bureau can't confirm it as a legitimate inquiry, it's required to remove it.
Your score can then differ based on what bureau your credit report is pulled from since they don't all receive the same information about your credit accounts. Secondly, different credit score models (and versions) exist across the board. As it states on its website, Credit Karma uses the VantageScore® 3.0 model.