How to Remove Hard Inquiries from Your Credit Report

(April 2024)

How to Remove Hard Inquiries from Your Credit Report

In This Article

Hard inquiries have this nasty habit of always chipping away 5 to 10 points at your FICO score.

What’s up with that? Isn’t that frustrating?

The thing is, whenever you apply for credit, the lender performs a hard pull on your credit report to gauge your creditworthiness.

But too many hard inquiries—especially “accidental” or unwarranted ones—can make your credit score lose weight like crazy.

This article outlines how to remove inappropriate hard inquiries while you work to restore your credit standing and solidify your financial health.

To remove hard inquiries from your credit report:

  1. Check Your Credit Reports
  2. Look for Inaccurate Hard Inquiries
  3. Contact the Lender, if Applicable
  4. File a Dispute With the Credit Bureau
  5. Wait for a Response
  6. Review the Results
  7. Hire Professional Help, if Needed
  8. Continue Checking Your Credit Reports

Ready? Let’s begin!

1. Check Your Credit Reports

To remove hard inquiries from your credit report, review your credit reports first.

Complete a short request form at AnnualCreditReport.com to access your Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion reports. Check all three credit bureaus, just in case one bureau lists more of your credit details compared to the other two bureaus.

You get a free credit report from each bureau once per year. You also get a free report if you encounter credit problems due to issues like fraud.

2.  Look for Inaccurate Hard Inquiries

To remove hard pulls from your credit report, look for inaccurate inquiries.

In your Equifax or Experian report, review the section titled “Hard Inquiries.” In your TransUnion report, review the “Regular Inquiries” section.

Why look for inaccurate inquiries? If the hard inquiry is legitimate (e.g., you’re applying for a new credit card), you can’t remove it. Accurate hard pulls stay on your report for two years, then disappear.

However, you can remove inaccurate inquiries now. Here are two signs the hard inquiry on your report is a mistake:

You’re shopping for a new credit card, and a lender does a hard pull without your approval.

Since the lender’s pull is unauthorized, you have the right to remove the inquiry.

The hard inquiry comes from a loan you’re not applying for.

Since you’re likely dealing with a reporting error, or even identity theft, you have the right to remove the inquiry.

3. Contact the Lender, if Applicable

To remove hard pulls from your three credit reports, contact the lender that is responsible for the inaccuracy, if applicable.

Find the lender’s mailing address online and send a “credit inquiry dispute letter.” Include details like:

  • Your name and birth date
  • A copy of your bank statement, showing your name and current address
  • A copy of your government-issued ID, like your driver’s license
  • A list of inaccurate hard inquiries you’re disputing
  • Copies of supporting documents like receipts

Keep a copy of your letter and original supporting documents in your files. The lender receives your dispute letter, does an internal check, then contacts the credit bureaus to further investigate the issue.

4. File a Dispute With the Credit Bureau

To get rid of hard inquiries on your credit reports, send each credit bureau a dispute online, by phone or through snail mail. Here is the contact information for each bureau:

Equifax

(866) 349-5191

P.O. Box 740256

Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian

(866) 200-6020

P.O. Box 4500

Allen, TX 75013

Transunion

(800) 916-8800

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016

Choose a communication method and give the credit bureau the following information:

  • Your name and birth date
  • A copy of your bank statement, showing your name and current address
  • A copy of your government-issued ID, like your driver’s license
  • A list of inaccurate hard inquiries you’re disputing
  • Copies of supporting documents like receipts

Prefer snail mail? Send your dispute letter by certified mail so the credit bureau gives you a quicker response.

Save a copy of your letter and original supporting documents with your files.

Is identity theft causing the inaccurate inquiry on your report? Remember to file a police report. You can also submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov.

Send each credit bureau a copy of your police report and FTC complaint.

Also, visit Equifax.com, Experian.com, and TransUnion.com to temporarily freeze your credit file.

A credit freeze prevents identity thieves from causing more damage. The freeze doesn’t affect your credit score, and you can still use your credit accounts.

However, a temporary freeze doesn’t work 100% of the time, and you need to contact each credit bureau when you want to lift the freeze.

5. Wait for a Response

To eliminate hard inquiries that are damaging your credit report, wait for the credit bureau or lender to respond to your dispute.

Each credit bureau has to investigate your dispute within 30 days. The lender who is responsible for the mistake also has 30 days to resolve the issue.

Go to Equifax.com, Experian.com and TransUnion.com to check on the status of your dispute.

6. Review the Results

To remove hard inquiries from your Equifax, Experian or TransUnion report, review the credit bureau’s investigation results.

Look for a notice of the decision by email, phone, or U.S. mail.

If the hard inquiry is indeed a mistake, the credit bureau removes it. You also get a free copy of your credit report so you can see the credit bureau’s changes.

Keep in mind the credit bureau may take some time to remove the hard inquiry—not because bureau employees want to drag their feet, but because there are operational steps they need to follow.

Still see the hard inquiry on your credit report a few months later? Contact the credit bureau again to see how soon they can remove inquiry.

But what if the credit bureau or lender insists the hard inquiry is accurate? In this case, the inquiry stays on the report—but you can add a consumer statement.

A consumer statement is a 100-word summary on why you disagree with the credit bureau’s decision to leave the hard inquiry on your report. The credit bureau includes your statement with your credit file. Future lenders see this statement when reviewing your credit report.

7. Hire Professional Help, if Needed

To remove hard inquiries from your credit report, consider hiring professional help, if needed.

Having trouble removing the inaccurate hard inquiries yourself? Contact The Credit Pros, CreditRepair.com or other credit repair firms to resolve the dispute process for you. Make sure the firm has a good record of experience and customer satisfaction. Expect to pay anywhere from $69 to $149 per month, depending on the service.

Now the hard inquiries are off your report! While you celebrate, don’t forget the following step:

8. Continue Checking Your Credit Reports

Continue checking your credit report at least once per year. In your credit report, look for new and inaccurate items like identity or account status errors.

Watch your credit score as well. Is your FICO score dropping without explanation? Review your credit reports to make sure you’re not dealing with fraudulent activity.

Visit Experian.com to see your FICO score for free. Or create a free myEquifax account to see your VantageScore® 3.0 credit score. You can also check your credit scores via your bank, loan, or existing credit card statements.

Recap

To remove hard inquiries from your three credit reports, review each report and look for inaccurate hard pulls. Contact the lender that is responsible for the mistake, if applicable. Then, file a dispute with each credit bureau.

After you wait for a response, review the credit bureau’s decision. If needed, hire professional credit repair help.

Once you remove the hard inquiries, take preventive measures by checking your credit reports regularly.

Address the hard inquiries on your report quickly and thoroughly so you can return your credit report to excellent health.

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