How Long Do Credit Inquiries Stay On Your Credit Report?

Q: How long will a credit inquiry remain on my credit report?

credit reportA: Whenever a lender is authorized to pull your credit report, a credit inquiry is performed. How long that particular inquiry remains on your credit record depends on the type of inquiry…

For hard inquiries (full credit checks)
Called hard pulls, these are credit pulls initiated by you when you seek more credit from any type of lender. The good news is that they generally drag down your FICO score by only a handful of points for a maximum of 12 months (if they have any impact at all). If there is an impact it’s primarily during the first 6 months, so it’s probably an exercise in futility to needlessly worry about this impact as long as you aren’t planning to get a new mortgage during the intervening year.With Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, hard inquiries will disappear from your file after two years. For soft inquiries Also known as a soft pull, this refers to an involuntary credit check that was not initiated by you. Things like pre-approved credit card direct mail offers and account reviews periodically made by banks and card issuers use “soft” credit inquiries. In fact, most large card issuers have massive lists of every credit-qualified adult in the U.S. and do quarterly soft pulls on each name to keep them refreshed for pre-approved direct mail campaigns. That means most of us have several soft pulls on our file at any given time. These soft inquiries will typically remain on your credit report for at least one full year. Thank goodness they are harmless.

Why do credit inquiries lower your credit score?

According to FICO, there is a direct correlation between credit risk and the number of inquiries a person has on their credit. They state that those with six or more hard credit inquiries on their report are up to eight times more likely to file bankruptcy than someone with no credit inquiries. FICO has done lots of statistical modeling to back up their proprietary risk score algorithm, I’m sure, though it seems really unnecessary to take a hit for getting a new cell phone contract with a different carrier.

How much will they affect your credit score?

Instead of asking how long credit inquiries stay on your credit report, you really should be more concerned with how long they affect your credit score. With “soft” inquiries, there is absolutely no negative impact to your credit score, so they should not be a concern. On the other hand, “hard” inquiries (also known as “hard pulls”) will usually ding your credit score to some extent. The exact amount of impact depends on a number of factors, which are not all public because the FICO formula is top secret. However, FICO has said there may be a greater impact for those with shorter credit histories and few accounts. It is often presumed that the higher your score is to start, the more of an impact a hard credit check will have. Although the hard inquiries remain on your credit report for two years, they have the most impact during the first six months. After a year has passed an inquiry will no longer be counted your FICO score, but it will still be visible to those who view your reports.

When is it safe to apply for your next card?

Remember that a hard inquiry only counts against your score for 12 months and during that time, it has the most impact during the first six months. So unless you need to apply for a mortgage or major loan within the next year it shouldn’t be an issue if you apply for another card or two and have those inquiries temporarily on your credit report, as the impact should be fairly minimal. It’s also worth noting that the more types of credit and the number credit accounts you have, the better your score will be, assuming they are managed responsibly.

Updated April 2017

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There are some fascinating cut-off dates on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There may be some validity however I’ll take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as effectively

To be clear – credit unions are in NO WAY more lenient in lending. If anything they are a little MORE strict bc a CU is owned by members (nonprofit) and all lenders must follow guidelines to avoid any case of bias. Please do your homework. I worked in a CU and processes credit apps.

I agree with you 100% Deanna. Thank you for sharing!

Actually Deanna that’s not ALWAYS true my credit union was the only one who gave me a chance over a year and half ago!Now my credit is great because they took a chance on me.I have a Quicksilver Capitol One(don’t care to share credit limits)also 2 other platinum cards.Also a few department store cards of the biggest stores in the world.Maybe mine is just different,I would never leave my credit union.Iam 39 and just getting my score back up.When I was 24 years old I had a score of 855,then BAM..idenitity theft.Its literally taken all these years to get it back.

My own experience involves a Ch7 bankruptcy and I’ve done a lot of research… My advice for anyone trying to rebuild or build from scratch is to take the long view. Figure 12-18 mos minimum to really get things going. Start with a secured card or 2 from credit unions or banks (very important to find one that graduates the card, otherwise you lose age of account when you go unsecured). After a few months with that, go for a secured loan. Then – after about a year of good payment history – go on a store-card blitzkrieg and grab 6-8 cards! I’m serious! More accounts helps your score and there’s no reason to drag the process out over years. Piggybacking off a relative’s well-seasoned credit card or persuading them to create a joint line of credit can also help. In 2 years, with discipline, you’ll probably be decent.

The do in fact affect your credit score for 2 years if you have bad credit. I had a dealership that thought it was ok to apply to 16 different banks more than one time. so I have 29 hard pulls on my credit report and I didnt authorize all of the pulls so now ny credit is 590. trying to get a house has been hard.

I recently pulled up my credit report from a website, and had a hard inquiry. There is an impact on my score but it’s not to drastic. The only thing Im worried about is it will show up to 12 months and I don’t want anyone to question it once I apply for a car loan. I want to get it off but don’t know how.

I have non-existent credit, and I think 3-4 inquiries in 2 days. Have I generated enough activity to develop a FICO score of very poor? I mean, an actual number? It will be in the 200ds or 300ds—very poor. Or will my credit file stay non-existant as long as I don’t try to apply for anymore cards?

Brandi January 8, 2014 at 6:19PM
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Credit One bank approved me and I was shocked! Small line of $300 but they reported right away and my score improved by 9 points for adding the account.

Also, my EQFX score has been fluctuating from 591-630 and today I did a hard run so the lenders wouldn’t all see my inquiries right away and was approved for $300 kohls, $300 cap one, $100 macys and $300 nordstroms. It isn’t a matter of picking stores that I shop in but rather getting accounts on my report. Finger hut is an easy one to start with. Patience!!!! It took me a year to get my fiancé on track since there wasn’t much credit over the last 11 years! He believed paying cash was the answer lol. It took me a year and small easy to open accounts and minimal usage and constantly paying it off in 2-3 months so I could show payment history! That is a must. Be responsible and use them so your score jumps! He started with a 615 and I now have him at 758! I got a few goodies along the way since I had to use the cards a little! Lol. Adding a car loan was a huge help. We did it through a credit union and then a few months later asked them for a visa and they approved it. Vic Secret is easy although they won’t approve me. Also at some point try to get at least one visa or MasterCard up to a $2000 limit. That will cause a significant jump. That’s the last one we are trying to do now. His highest is $1000 so I need to work a few more months to get a credit line increase. Good luck! Do your research and take your time. Start with the easiest first.

What do you mean by: ” I did a hard run so the lenders wouldn’t all see my inquiries right away and was approved for $300 kohls, $300 cap one, $100 macys and $300 nordstroms”

How do you do a hard run?

If I’m not mistaken, you can make several applications in a short period of time (resulting in several inquiries of course) without being penalized. The name for this process is “Inquiry De-Duplication” and the way it works is this: several inquiries within a 14 day window can be counted as 1 inquiry on your credit report as long as the types of loans being applied for are the same. I am not an expert but I do believe this is correct information! 🙂

I recently tried to buy a car. I had already been denied by my credit union (I’m 23 and a server while going to school; they said my income wasn’t quite high enough for a new car), and I had decided to continue to save. My car dealer friend convinced me he had one bank that would probably finance me. Against my better judgement I went and applied for the financing. I asked him multiple times about the hit to my credit. I told him I only wanted to check the one bank, and it hit my credit ONCE. He, and his manager promised me. They told me I was denied, and I was content, until I checked my credit a week later. SIX hits to my credit: my credit score went from a 734 to a 661. The guy fed me all sorts of lies about it only being a soft hit.. Bull. I guess what do I expect from a car salesman.. But still.

Now my current car is totaled by someone else and I’m forced to buy a car; my credit is ruined because of all of it! I don’t know what to do..

One thing that you can do to help start credit is speak to someone (parents or grandparents possibly?) who have good credit. If they have a credit card that they are responsible with, you can ask them to add you as an authorized user. It doesn’t even matter if they give you a card on the account to use. For all the company cares, they can request the card & keep it themselves. But what this accomplishes is that it adds a credit card to your account to start building history. The higher the credit limit, lower the balance & more timely the payments, the better. Just remember that if you are asking someone who is irresponsible with credit use, it will reflect on your credit report as well. Good luck.

lol thanks for making my day

Right as I graduated high school, I started looking into building my credit. The first thing I did was go to Belk. Now I did have two sources of income because I worked two full time jobs, but I was approved on the spot for a pretty high limit. That was three years ago and I now have a car loan in my name with no cosigner and my credit score at the age of 22 is pretty good. I don’t really have a problem getting what I want or need. I suggest a store credit card. Buy something then pay it off before the month is up a couple of times, then buy something bigger and pay it off in a couple more months. You have to let some interest acquire before you really start seeing your credit build. I am extremely happy with my score over the last couple of years.

You do NOT have to let interest acquire to build credit. I have excellent credit and have never paid one cent in credit card interest. I pay all my credit cards in full every month and my credit score is over 800.

I don’t think it has anything to do with allowing interest to accrue on the account for it to reflect on your credit report; rather it is about making sure that there is a balance on the account on the date that the company reports to the credit bureau. Meaning that if you make a purchase, then pay it off the same day, it is unlikely that they will have reported the activity to the credit bureau during the small window where you showed a balance. If you were making a purchase for the purpose of building credit, you could make the purchase at the beginning of the billing cycle, then pay it off at the end of the billing cycle. That way you will have avoided paying any interest, yet allowed the balance to remain on your account long enough to be reported.

You definitely do not have to let interest accure b4 you see your credit build. ha flawless payment history will do this for you. I have AMEX VISA AND MASTERCARD major credit cards and a total credit limit of $28000. I have never paid interest.

i want to apply for a credit card but i have 7 inquires already 🙁 2 are hard. is there any credit cards that are guarenteed to get approved?

Hands down the best way to start getting a couple cards in your pocket is to ask your bank for a secured card (almost guaranteed). Plenty of explanations here for that. Also, I just recently accepted a card from Credit One Bank online. Now obviously this is going to be high interest (especially if you keep a high balance, DON’T), and there is an obnoxious (75.00) annual fee, BUT they will tell you if you prequalify before they pull a HARD inquiry. Very easy to be accepted and my limit increased 25% after my first on time payment. Good Luck!

People often say credit one is a bad card to have because interest accrues as soon as you make a purchase, but its really a good card that will teach you credit responsibility if you use it correctly. Remember the higher your balance the more interest you pay so if you aren’t out there maxing the card out and never paying yes it will suck, but if you buy small things that you could pay off if you wanted to, and just make payments on that, then you’re showing payment history and responsibility. I definitely wouldn’t use it for a major purchase, but its a good and easy card to get! My credit score is 605 and I got a capital one platinum and capital one quick silver as well as credit one platinum with that score. All are in good standing and I haven’t had a problem out of either of them.

I have to agree. Credit One bank approved me and I was shocked! Small line of $300 but they reported right away and my score improved by 9 points for adding the account.

Also, my EQFX score has been fluctuating from 591-630 and today I did a hard run so the lenders wouldn’t all see my inquiries right away and was approved for $300 kohls, $300 cap one, $100 macys and $300 nordstroms. It isn’t a matter of picking stores that I shop in but rather getting accounts on my report. Finger hut is an easy one to start with. Patience!!!! It took me a year to get my fiancé on track since there wasn’t much credit over the last 11 years! He believed paying cash was the answer lol. It took me a year and small easy to open accounts and minimal usage and constantly paying it off in 2-3 months so I could show payment history! That is a must. Be responsible and use them so your score jumps! He started with a 615 and I now have him at 758! I got a few goodies along the way since I had to use the cards a little! Lol. Adding a car loan was a huge help. We did it through a credit union and then a few months later asked them for a visa and they approved it. Vic Secret is easy although they won’t approve me. Also at some point try to get at least one visa or MasterCard up to a $2000 limit. That will cause a significant jump. That’s the last one we are trying to do now. His highest is $1000 so I need to work a few more months to get a credit line increase. Good luck! Do your research and take your time. Start with the easiest first.

I’ve always heard Credit One is terrible and a scam. I have a friend that has one and he loves it. I have several credit cards that I obsess over.

interest does not accrue when you make a purchase

Jennifer, those other 5 “soft” inquiries do not have any affect on your credit. If you already have 2 hard inquiries though, I would make sure that you do not get more than 1-2 more to ensure your credit isn’t too adversely affected. There is no guaranteed approval credit card, but you might try talking to your bank and seeing if they have any programs to help you build your credit, such a secured credit card as Damion mentioned. Just remember that building and having great credit is a long process that requires patience and some self-control. Don’t spend more than you can afford and watch out for ridiculously high interest rates!

Even more ridiculous than car dealers pulling credit for so many different banks is them pulling it when you pay cash for a car. Last Christmas, I bought a car and paid cash but still they had to pull my credit for it so now I am stuck with it impacting my score.

I have purchased several vehicles with cash. Unless you are purchasing the GAP insurance there is no need for them to run your credit. All they required was for me to get a cashier’s check and provide proof of insurance. You may won’t to look into this matter and report them to the BBB.

What can be done to stop the practice some auto dealers have of running your credit through several providers when you have specifically requested that they only contact the one you currently have your auto financed through? You may wind up with three or four hard inquiries when you specifically requested only one!

make youR request orally and then have them sign an agreement that they agree to do as they say and if, not you get for example $1000.

Two months after I graduated from HS, I began building my credit score through a small jewelry store. I received a $300 credit limit and purchased a small gift for my grandma. For those of you trying to start your credit, look into small jewelry stores. GL

It is so hard for younger people to build their credit. I have a car loan in my name, phone plan, checking and savings account, yet still have no credit. My bank suggested to get a store credit card yet the stores require you to have credit to get one.

I suggest you re-finance your car loan as your current lender should be reporting it to the credit bureaus, and that would create credit. If they’re not, refinancing through another company that does report it will help you build credit history. Also, applying for ANY credit card will help you, the stores cards are just usually easier to get. If you can swing it you can get a secured card where you give them $50 and have a $125 credit limit or something like that, and that also will build your credit.

When I had re-establish my credit after divorce, I got a secured credit card though Capital One (but there are many out there. I do not work for CapOne but I like the card). Since then my credit has really improved and I was approved for a car loan with a great rate. Good luck!

capital one secured is a good card to start with and premier as well.

Just keep trying and eventually you’ll get a CC. I wanted a CC at 18 but I never received one till I was 19. @Justin: It aparently is really hard to get a CC at 18 these days, dont sweat it, just keep trying eventually you will. I would suggest asking your bank (with whom you have a checking account). You already have a relationship with them and they will be more likely to extend you credit than someone they do not know. I got my first CC from Wells Fargo where I bank. Believe me, once you get the first CC and use it responsibly for a year, the offers will start coming so fast. I now have 4 credit cards (one an AMEX I just applied for online and got instantly approved) and my credit score is in the high 700s. Its hard to believe that 2 years ago I didnt even have a single card.

Try getting a secured cc. You will need to put money down (300 being the minimum) but it will help. My husband and I did it and a year later we were able to buy our home. We closed them after a year but were able to open up new ones and our credit keeps getting better. Just remember to not use over 35% of the limit as this can hurt you instead of help.

When we bought our house, we had several hard inquiries. We explained why to the bank, and they were fine with it. Wells Fargo was great!

I have a near perfect payment record over 20 years. Yet, when i shopped around for a refi home loan, in order to garner the best rate, they had to check my credit score. So I ended up with 12 in one year, and it hurt my score. The FICO people should really refine the impact based on late payments, debt ratios, and how many accts have been paid off, not just hard inquiries. If you refi your home and you look for the best rates be careful. The rules are too arbitrary when it comes to hard inquiries. Not everyone is looking for credit cards with high limits, because they are too heavily in debt, or want to take out cards to go bankrupt. Some people just want to refinance a home, buy an appliance or a car.

agreed. I am just beginning a house hunt (2nd home purchase). My credit score, in the high 700s , was knocked back 8 points by a single hard check… and that was just for a prequal check to include with offer on a home in which I was interested.

I am a frequent flyer miles junkie. I admit it. But I like to travel without paying much to do so. Every so often, I go on a credit card application binge for credit cards with 40,000-75000 free “miles” available. I did so recently, and received two new Citi cards with a total of 90,000 miles included and new available credit of $21,300. I also received a new Barclay’s card that included 40,000 miles and new available credit of $10,000, plus a Chase card with 35,000 miles and new available credit of $5000. I already have 4 other credit cards with a total of $28,000 credit available. (I have never used more than 8% of my available credit). I do not ever carry a balance on any of my accounts, and have never paid a late fee or paid a dime in interest. I have paid a couple of “annual fees” because that’s the only way you get most frequent flyer cards.

I have had 4 hard pulls in the past month from Equifax, 2 from Experian, and just 1 from TransUnion. My average FICO scores took a hit of 1-3 points, lowering my average score to 770, but my Vantage score actually increased by 9 points, and that score is used by the top 5 credit card issuers in the US. Every one of my applications was approved on line instantly, meaning that the only metric they used was the credit scores.

I really doubt that hard pulls mean very much when you have a great credit history with 100% on time payments, and a very low credit utilization.

Obviously, anyone who actually took a look at my actual reports would see that I am not desperate for more credit…I have far more than I will ever use. I’m only desperate for free frequent flyer miles!

Thanx for sharing your experiences.

When the hard inquires “fall off” does that reflect in a higher credit score? Thank you

I just turned 19 and I just couldn’t figure out WHY my credit scores was not building! I was getting so frustrated. I had a checkings and savings account.. I had a phone line of my own through a major company.. I just didn’t get it. So out of the blue, I was doing some shopping and I happened to apply for a Victoria’s Secret Credit card… BEST CHOICE EVER! I’m finally starting to build credit and learning how to keep it up.

Unfortunately none of those other things you mentioned (phone line, checking, savings) build credit. They are only reported to the bureaus if you default and in that case, it’s obviously a negative.

To Claribel…I have 38k of unused credit from about 8 different cards…amex, citi, chase freedom, merrick, and a few others, but my secured Capital One said there was no graduation program….you only get the security deposit back when you cancel the card, at least that is what I was told. The Capital One was the only secured one I got because I wanted my score to jump up a little….and it did, by ten points. I do hope that the rep was wrong about the graduation but if not I don’t care…just make sure the info you put out there is correct. Thanks and happy holidays! By the way…chase freedom is a great card…my favorite..followed by my barclays card.

When I purchased my car they looked at 5 Banks which pulled 5 hard credit inquiries ; making me have 12 n my credit report now , I have never been late on none of my payments ; it’s bull that this will make or the credit people would think this makes u high risk. But what u going to do , they should revise this and don’t make it count. They should see ur payments over the years !

The same thing happened to me. I was looking at cars when I was 18 and I told them I only wanted to deal with my credit union. I wouldn’t have per approval till the next day though, so without my permission they ran 9 hard credit inquires. I had no idea they had done this until I started getting loan rejection letters in the mail. Because of them my credit score dropped and the interest rate I got on my car went waaaay up.

I went to buy my first car and the car dealerships screwed me majorly with hard inquiry’s they dont care they are fucking u over for 2 years they will just send ur info to everybank and try and get a paycheck out of you. I think this is a system that needs to be rethought its not helping anyone. I have 13 hard inqueries it went down to 12… i have about 500 in credit card debt… Im not even close to going bankrupt I work a full time job and I get denied on anything I try credit wise thanks to those 12 inquiry’s but hey next january those hits will be off my report and I can finally get a home loan… I’m only 23 but if you work hard and learn how to play the credit game before it hurts you, you can do great things!

That so true. I have a car loan under my name and i wasnt able to make a trade for a newer vechile because I had 6 hard inquiries from different dealerships. And ive never been behind on my payments. But after 6 months u should be good if u dont get anymore inquiries.

AJ, hard pulls like these are now considered one inquiry. As long as they are all pulled within a reasonable amount of time (usually 30 days), they should not affect your credit score very much. They now allow people to shop for the best rates when purchasing a car or home. Write in to the credit reporting agencies and explain the situation.

Justin and Martin, get a target card or something like it. Just something to show you make payments on time will increase your credit and prepare you for larger loans, it won’t take long.

a local credit union by me offers a 200$ visa card when you sign up for their college aged (18-24) checking and savings account they are all linked together for easy management and u dont have to be approved look for something similar altura credit union.

I have 10 soft and hard pulls but my ex wife ran my credit as well what do I do ?

Credit modeling is ignorant of the real world. Most credit card inquiries arise because we as consumers are trying to collect the sign up bonuses. Really, those with credit inquiries of this nature should get boosted ratings for being financially smart, not a lowered rating. Bunch of morons I tell you.

I put a contract on a short sale, and was approved, I had 2 offers and with the cheaper lender, this pulled 2 hard inquires, the bank with the seller had to approve the short sale and they pulled a hard inquires.

The seller delays had the lender pull another right before closing date. Then the seller backed out of the contract for no reason and I had to move in to a apt which pulled another inquiry.

Now I’m looking at buying another home but my score dropped 117 points from a 802 and now if I go try to get another loan, my rates will be higher. How can I remove the hard inquires? Can you dispute them this is crazy. I never had a late payment in 10 years have $70 credit limit with 0 balance on it.

Type errors correction: the lender pull another one right before closing date

$70K of credit unused and my car 2011 is paid in full, along with my 2003 truck

They are there to help the lender get the interest rate higher not to help you get a lower rate.Thats how they stay in business.

I’ve had the same thing happen to me. While in the process of finding a home, and within a four month period I had ten hard hits. I did authorize two separate lenders to pull my credit but not like this. I thought they’d do one hard hit a piece then keep track with soft pulls. My credit has dropped almost 100 points. If you learn of anyway that you can fix what also happened to you please let’s know.

Hi I have 6 hard inquires on my report. 4 of them though are from when I was buying a car, I had checked with 4 banks to get the best rate. Is there a way to make it so it’s not affecting my credit?

Martin: secured back loans will help establish. If you have $500 in a bank savings. go to the load officer at the bank and ask for your savings to be used as collateral for a small personal loan. pay on that load for 6 months and then pay it off. now you have a credit history. Keep doing this for about two years and you should be on your way to having very good credit.

martin slattery

i think it is not right that people are refused credit just beacuse they dont have a credit history?? pleas tell me how anybody is suppose to get a credit history if we dont give them credit in the first place!! crazy

Martin Slattery, That’s exactly what I am dealing with. I just turned 18 about six months ago and graduated high school in may. I have a full time job and I am working on getting my MBA through an online program from a university but I can’t even get approved for a secured credit card let alone a student card. It is completely unfair. It’s like they think that I personally caused the recession in 2008 or something. At this point I think I would rather have bad credit so that I atleast know what I am working with.

Have you tried CapitalOne? They have the best secure credit card program. I used them and after a year in a half the upgraded my card to unsecured and sent my deposit back. Good luck!!!

i am in the same boat you are in man i trying to buy a car the credit cards company say i need a cosigners

If they don`t give you credit then they don`t lose any of the 100 billion that the gov. gave them to lend to you .This is how big business and the gov works, you are a nobody in their world.

Good luck getting a car loan on your own right out of high school without a co-signer. Unless you’ve been on the job (the same job) for about a year, already have some credit history, and can afford a decent down payment, you’re just not going to get one alone.

Also, savings and checking accounts are great, but they won’t affect your score unless you default, so stop wondering why you don’t have any history even though you’ve had a checking account since you were 15.