Will Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score?

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Credit inquiries are requests by a legitimate business to check your credit. When you apply for a new credit card, auto loan, or mortgage loan, that lender is going to pull your credit report so they can analyze whether or not you are credit worthy. You may also see inquiries from businesses you do not know as these credit checks are made by businesses looking to offer you goods or services such as promotional offers by credit card companies.

According to myFICO.com, as far as your FICO score is concerned, credit inquiries are classified as either “hard inquiries” or “soft inquiries” and only hard inquiries have an affect on your FICO score.

Soft Credit Inquiries

Soft inquiries are all credit inquiries where your credit is not being reviewed by a lender. These may include:

  • Inquiries where you are checking your own credit.
  • Credit checks made by businesses to offer you goods or services, such as a promotional offer by a credit card company.
  • Inquires made by lenders with whom you already have a credit account.

Hard Credit Inquiries

Hard inquiries are all credit inquiries where a potential lender is reviewing your credit because you have applied for credit with them. These types of credit checks could be from:

  • Application for an auto loan
  • Application for a credit card
  • Application for a home loan

Each of these type of credit check counts as a single inquiry, except when you are rate shopping. FICO considers all inquiries made with a 2 week period for an auto or mortgage loan to be a single inquiry.

Will All Hard Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score?

Hard inquiries may or may not affect your FICO score. A FICO score takes into account only voluntary inquiries that result from your application for credit. The information about inquiries that can be factored into your FICO score includes:

  • Number of recently open accounts and the type of accounts. Opening several credit accounts in a short period of time may lower your score.
  • Number of recent credit inquiries. The only time this will not affect your score is if you are rate shopping.

How Will Credit Inquiries Affect Your Score?

That seems to be the million dollar question and FICO is not going to give that exact information out to just anyone. In fact, they give that information out to no one. According once again to myFICO.com, “the impact from applying for credit will vary from person to person based on their unique credit histories.” How’s that for vague. Furthermore, credit inquiries have a small impact on one’s FICO score, generally less than 5 points.

Statistically, people with 6 inquiries or more on their credit reports can be up to 8 times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people with no inquiries on their reports. While inquiries can often play a part in assessing risk, they only play a minor part. Much more important factors for your score are how timely you pay your bills and your overall debt burden as indicated on your credit report.

So how many inquiries are too many? We can’t really tell you for sure, but obviously, you want to keep them to a minimum.

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