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What is a Credit Inquiry?

When lenders and other agencies ask a credit reporting agency for your credit report, it is recorded as an inquiry. Inquiries that are recorded on your credit report and count toward your credit score are sometimes called “hard hits” or “hard inquiries.” Anyone who views your credit report will see these inquiries. Examples of inquiry types may include: application for a credit card, rental and employment applications.

Will a Credit Inquiry affect my Credit Score?

Credit Inquries can affect your credit score, although they may have no effect.

A credit score is a three-digit number that is calculated using a mathematical formula based on the information in your credit report. Inquiries may or may not affect your score. For many people, one additional credit inquiry (voluntary and initiated by an application for credit) may not affect their score at all. For others, one additional inquiry may take more points off their score. Inquiries can have a greater impact if you have few accounts or a short credit history.

The actual formulas used to calculate credit scores are not available to the public. This means it is not possible to know exactly how many points your score will go up or down based on the actions you take.

The information about inquiries that can be factored into your score includes:

  • Number of recently opened accounts, and proportion of accounts that are recently opened, by type of account.
  • Number of recent credit inquiries.
  • Time since recent account opening(s), by type of account.
  • Time since credit inquiry(ies).
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