If you've ever applied for credit, you may be familiar with the term "hard inquiry." A hard inquiry occurs when a potential lender or lending institution checks your credit report to determine your creditworthiness. In this blog post, we'll explore what hard inquiries are, how they affect your credit score, and what steps you can take to minimize their impact.
What are Hard Inquiries?
Hard inquiries are credit checks that occur when you apply for credit or financing. They typically happen when you apply for a loan, a credit card, or a mortgage. When a lender checks your credit report, it appears as a hard inquiry on your credit history.
How Do Hard Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score?
When a lender requests your credit report, it can lower your credit score slightly. The effect on your score depends on the number of hard inquiries on your report and how frequently you apply for credit. Multiple hard inquiries in a short period signal that you're actively seeking credit, which can appear risky to lenders.
For example, if you apply for multiple credit cards within a few weeks, it may negatively impact your credit score. On the other hand, if you apply for an auto loan and a mortgage in the same period, multiple inquiries may not be seen as risky as long as they are for the same type of credit.
How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On Your Credit Report?
Hard inquiries remain on your credit report for two years. They only impact your credit score for the first year, after which time they no longer affect your credit score. However, they still show up on your credit report.
How Can You Minimize the Negative Impact of Hard Inquiries?
There are several ways to minimize the negative impact of hard inquiries:
1. Be selective when applying for credit. Only apply for credit when you need it and avoid applying for multiple types of credit at once.
2. Shop around for the best rates before applying for credit. Use prequalifying offers and soft credit inquiries to compare rates and terms before applying.
3. Limit the number of applications for credit. If you're shopping around for a loan, do it within a short period of time to minimize the impact on your credit score.
4. Monitor your credit report regularly. Check your credit report regularly for accuracy and fraudulent activity. This will help you stay aware of any hard inquiries that show up on your credit history.
In conclusion, hard inquiries can have a slight negative impact on your credit score, but there are ways to minimize