How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on Your Credit Report?

It’s essential to be aware of the effect hard inquiries have on your credit report and score, as well as how long they stay visible. This post will explore that area in-depth so you can better protect your financial standing. Hard inquiries are a type of check lenders may do when applying for credit. Soft inquires affect reports too, but don’t lower scores like their harder counterparts do – yet both leave an imprint with varying length (hard typically staying longer).

Key Takeaways

  • Hard inquiries can remain on a credit report for up to two years, but typically only affect a credit score for about one year.
  • Soft inquiries have no effect on your credit score whereas hard inquiries can potentially reduce it.
  • To protect and improve your credit score, make timely payments, limit the number of applications, and use rate shopping techniques when applying for major loans.

Understanding Hard Inquiries

How to Remove Inquiries from a Credit Report - Hard Inquiries

When a lender checks your credit report during the application process, it is known as a hard inquiry and can have an immediate effect on your credit score, dropping by up to 5 points. Hard inquiries allow lenders to measure how you manage debt in order to evaluate if they should extend your credit or not. This type of evaluation looks at payment history associated with previous loans along with any negative marks on your reports. It’s important to remember that this section makes up around 10% of overall FICO®. Score calculation so impact isn’t too significant compared with other factors like payment behavior and revolving balances but still contributes significantly to the final result.

Examples of Hard Inquiries

When you apply for a loan, such as an auto or mortgage loan, and when applying for credit cards, your lender will need to assess your creditworthiness. This process involves hard inquiries on your report from one of the major bureaus which result in temporarily lowering scores. It is wise then to reduce how many applications are made so that there’s not too much effect on any given individual’s rating. Each inquiry can generate its own decrease on their personal overall assessment based on the data found within these reports by a particular bureau making them aware of it having been accessed prior to giving out certain funds or accounts held with associated companies like banks etc.

Duration of Hard Inquiries on Credit Reports

For up to two years, hard inquiries will remain on your credit profile and have an impact on your score. In most instances, this can last for a year or less though when applying for auto loans or mortgages, multiple queries are regarded as one inquiry thus reducing its effect. The latest scoring systems developed by three main credit bureaus overlook these amalgamated entries so that debtors may keep good scores by keeping their charge card balances low while they ward off negative markers from remaining in their history with the major bureaus.

Soft Inquiries vs. Hard Inquiries

Concerning credit score, hard inquiries may cause a short-term reduction while soft ones have no effect at all. Thus, it is possible to go over your credit report or have background checks done without worrying that it could hurt the score in any way.

Examples of Soft Inquiries

Soft inquiries don’t have an effect on one’s credit score and include looking at your own credit report, conducting background checks by companies providing a potential loan or pre-approved card offer, as well as employers checking for their employee’s credit. These types of soft inquiries are made to check information related to the individual’s own credit, but won’t change any part of it in particular.

Managing the Impact of Hard Inquiries on Your Credit Score

Having a good credit score is important, so it’s smart to minimize the number of hard inquiries that can negatively affect your rating. Avoid unnecessary loan applications and make sure you are paying off debts on time in order for lenders not to become concerned about potential financial insecurity due to multiple queries concerning cards or personal loans. Before applying for either an auto or home loan, take some time to review any information listed on your credit report then delay Requesting new credits until after submitting these types of requests.

Rate Shopping Techniques

When it comes to credit scores, rate-shopping techniques can help reduce the impact of multiple hard inquiries. This is done by grouping loan applications within a period ranging from 14 to 45 days depending on which credit scoring model is being used. Credit bureaus usually consider any multitude of queries made in this 30-45 day window as one inquiry thereby diminishing its effects on your rating.

Disputing Unauthorized Hard Inquiries

When unauthorized hard inquiries are made to your credit report without permission, they can be taken off if proven as false or caused by identity theft. To handle such cases, filing a complaint with the relevant credit bureau or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is necessary for you to do in order for them to take action and make any changes to your credit score. The investigation will then follow through after which results should appear on your record afterwards.

Monitoring Your Credit Report

It’s important to monitor your credit report regularly, searching for discrepancies or any unapproved hard inquiries. provides free access to copies of these reports so you can stay informed on the status of your credit profile.

Using a monitoring service may be beneficial in understanding potential fraudulent activity faster. Alerts are given when unauthorized investigations occur as part of an identity theft issue or other related concerns involving personal credit scores and history information.

Tips for Improving Credit Scores

To maintain a good credit score, it’s important to keep your utilization ratio low – under 30%. This can be achieved by settling balances multiple times each month, decreasing expenditure, and not closing existing cards. Consistently meeting payment obligations will display financial responsibility while slowly constructing an upstanding credit history. Try to refrain from applying for numerous credits quickly as this causes hard inquiries which may have the effect of lowering one’s rating temporarily.


Having an understanding of hard inquiries and their impact on your credit report is important for keeping a good financial standing. To avoid having unnecessary applications affect your score, try to group loan applications in the same period and monitor your credit regularly. Good management of one’s credit can offer more rewarding opportunities moving forward, so it pays off to stay on top of things!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you remove hard inquiries from your credit report?

Hard inquiries that were approved by you cannot be removed from your credit report. They will automatically drop off after around two years.

Is 3 hard inquiries bad?

Multiple hard inquiries within a short amount of time can cause damage to your credit score and make you appear as a risky borrower. While one hard inquiry might knock a few points off, having six or more can deplete your score significantly and be indicative of potential financial instability.

How many points do hard inquiries take off?

A person’s credit score may decrease by up to five points from a hard inquiry. This drop is usually temporary and could be lower if the individual has a good past history with their credit.

Is it true that after 7 years your credit is clear?

Negative information typically remains on credit reports for 7 years, though there may be options to get it removed sooner. Bankruptcy can stay on an Equifax credit report for 7-10 years depending on the type of bankruptcy. Closed accounts paid as agreed will remain on an Equifax credit report for up to 10 years.

Therefore, it is not true that after 7 years your credit is clear.

Does your credit score go up when a hard inquiry drops off?

Hard inquiries, which can remain on credit reports for up to two years and affect your scores in the meantime, have no lasting effect after 12 months. When a hard inquiry is taken off of these records, chances are that there will be little or no discernible changes to one’s credit ratings.


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