In many cases it’s better to simply seat it out a few months, but if you’re not willing to wait, this guide will show you step-by-step how to remove inquiries from your credit report.
Before you start, consider the following:
- For most people – credit inquiries have a very small impact on their credit score, and zero impact after a year.
- Many people tend to over focus on removing inquiries when their reports are full late payments, collection accounts or even a bankruptcy. In these cases, you should focus on removing some of the bigger problems on your credit report.
- Unless you need credit right away, it may not be worth your time to have inquiries removed.
- You do not need to have all credit report inquiries removed. The goal is to delete enough of the inquiries to allow you to obtain credit in the short term.
- If you did, in fact, authorize an inquiry, the company is not required to have it deleted, though some will likely do so anyway as a courtesy or to avoid the time of investigating your request.
Step-by-step Procedure for Removing Credit Inquiries
Step 1 – Identify Unauthorized Hard Inquiries
When you look at the “Inquiry Information” section of your credit report you may see lots of inquiries. Some may be soft inquiries which do not impact your score. Others may be valid hard inquiries, and are there for un-removable (legitimately).
The only inquiries you should dispute/remove are Unauthorized Hard inquiries. If there are such inquiries on your report – they may be lowering your score. Finding them may prove a bit tricky…
How can you tell which inquiries are valid?
A valid hard inquiry is an inquiry made with your consent, meaning that you are supposed to know that you’ve authorized it.
When you scan the list of inquiries, some may be recognizable because the name of the inquirer is known to you – either because they are from your credit card company, your auto loan lender, your mortgage company or any other company you are financially associated with.
These inquiries are all soft inquiries, or valid hard inquiries. If on the other hand you see an inquiry that is a mystery to you – Bingo. That is an inquiry you may want to remove.
Step 2 – Find the address of each of these unauthorized inquirers.
Your “Creditor Information” section of your credit report should list the contact address/telephone number of every entity that you either have financial relationship with or have accessed you credit report.
This means that the contact information of any unauthorized inquirer should be there as well. If it’s not – you need to contact the credit bureau that lists this inquirer for its contact information. You may try using the 800 number, although from what I hear it’s almost impossible to get a live body to answer your questions. If you can’t reach them by phone – ask for the information via mail.
Step 3 – Prepare a credit inquiry dispute letter for each of these unauthorized inquirers.
According to the FACT Act – only unauthorized inquiries may appear on your credit report. You need to challenge the validity of these inquiries, i.e. whether the inquirer had proper authorization from you to pull your credit report.
For each of suspected unauthorized inquiry prepare a letter – asking them to remove the inquiry. You can use this sample credit inquiry dispute letter. Send each letter via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested and note the time that you sent the letter.
Step 4 – Follow up your work and react accordingly
After about thirty days or so you should have heard from the inquirers you’ve sent letters to. There are few possible outcomes to your letters:
- Some inquirers will agree to delete the inquiry from your credit report. This may be because they can’t (or won’t) verify your authorization, or because they don’t want to bother themselves with it. They may also do it as a courtesy to you.
- Some inquirers may provide documentation about you authorizing them to pull your credit information. Study it carefully and look for any ambiguities. If you find any, write to them again about it and demand that the inquiry will be removed.
- Some inquirers will simply ignore you. If they do not respond within 30 days, you have ground for demanding action either from the inquirer or from the credit bureau. This leaves you with two options:
- A) Demand that the inquiry be removed immediately or you will complain to the State Banking Commission or similar authorities.
B) Dispute the case with the credit bureau. Explain that the inquirer has failed to respond, and therefore you are demanding the credit bureau to remove the inquiry. Make sure you include a copy of the letter you’ve sent to the inquirer. You can use this sample credit inquiry dispute letter.