The numerical value, or score, found on a personal credit report varies significantly depending on financial transactions and other aspects. As a rule, the score is directly attached to the financial steps taken within a certain period. Note that no one is safe from occasional report errors concerning hard pulls or unwarranted lines. Always be as attentive as possible with the reports and react to suspicious changes. If you notice something unusual, such as a slight decline in the score, even by a couple of points, this is a reason to pay more attention to your credit report. Perhaps the root of the problem lies in the effect of an unwarranted inquiry.
Every request made by a lender to retrieve your credit history from an authorized company results in something called a hard pull. This will hurt your score and remain on your credit report up to 24 months.
Why do Hard Pulls Stay on Your Credit Report for so Long?
The answer is pretty simple: to store current information about how many times you have tried to obtain credit. This data is crucial for a lender to understand your credit worthiness. But there is no reason to panic, if your score was affected by unapproved hard inquiries you can do something about it. Just read on.
Was it Hard or Soft?
As usual, the difference matters. And by using a proven legal method you can have them deleted from your report. All you need to do is to send a removal request.
Despite the fact that both hard and soft inquiries pull the same data, there is a big difference between the two: soft ones are not harmful. Some people believe that controlling their own credit state with the help of soft inquiries causes a score reduction, but this is nothing but a common misconception. Feel free to check your own score, because you can make only a soft pull.
Hard ones have the opposite effect since such pulls are initiated by a third party to retrieve information about your credit history in response to an application you may have submitted. A bank, for instance, may cause a hard pull in order to determine whether to extend you a line of credit. A property manager may also pull your credit history in order to decide whether to lease you an apartment. These types of pulls have an adverse effect on your credit score.
There are also those that face trouble when their data is mistakenly pulled. This can be the result of your information getting mixed up with somebody else's. Perhaps you share the same name, or your social security is one digit off from theirs. These hard inquiries are different, because you have not initiated them. In this scenario, you have the legal grounds to cancel out the effect of such an inquiry in order to restore your score to at least the level it was prior to the mistake.
Harmful but Not Deadly
Note that hard pulls do not completely ruin your score. Normally they can affect up to 10% of the total value. The exact impact depends on the state of your credit history. The drop may vary approximately from 1 to 5 points, but this is not a strict rule.
Consider yourself lucky if a lender has mistakenly pulled your credit score just once. The bad act is oftentimes repetitive. It means several hard pulls and a corresponding significant drop. In any case, you should not leave the situation as it is.
Getting Rid of Occasional Inquiries
You have the right to contact the credit agency to have your report cleared of unauthorized hard inquiries if they occurred without your knowledge and/or approval, or if you agreed to the hard pull under pressure - also known as under "duress."
In sum, there are several cases which provide good cause for removing inquiries:
- The inquiry was made without your knowledge.
- You have not approved the action.
- You expected fewer inquiries than the actual number.
- The decision to approve the hard pull was made under pressure.
- How to Prepare and Send a Removal Request?
Disputing a hard inquiry is not a complicated procedure. To have it deleted from the report, it is necessary to send a removal letter. Address your letter not only to the lender who made the inquiry, but also to the credit reporting agency reporting the inquiry/
Step 1: Compose your removal letter.
The form below will be a useful place to start.
Step 2: Attach a report copy.
This should be done despite the fact that credit agencies have virtual access to all of your account data. A hard copy will help investigators get your problem solved more quickly and without undue delay. Highlight the unapproved inquiries to accelerate the process.
Step 3: Notify the lender before sending the letter.
Notification plays an important role in court (should that be necessary). Do not wait for a reply from lenders, because as a rule, they are considerably less responsive than credit reporting agencies. Notifying the lender, however, is the initial step in getting a hard inquiry removed.
Step 4: Send the prepared letter with the attachment using certified mail.
This type of mail records letters and packages. In this way, you will have legal proof confirming that the addressee received your letter.
Here are the addresses of the agencies:
|P.O. Box 740256||P.O. Box 4500||P.O. Box 2000|
|Atlanta, GA 30374-0256||Allen, TX 75013||Chester, PA 19016-2000|
|Download Form||Download Form||Download Form|
How to Compose a Removal Letter?
You can use this template.
In conclusion, if you think that a couple of negative points may not be significantly harmful to your credit, you may be mistaken. Thus, it is extremely important to pay attention to your score and react to even the smallest change. Just remember that causing a meaningful increase to your score is a process done overtime, not overnight. Be patient.
Is a higher credit score your priority? If so, contact Consumer Attorneys to help get you started. We have already helped thousands of consumers reach their credit potential. We are just a call away.