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How To Remove Credit Inquiries From Your Credit Report (Includes Credit Removal Letter Template)

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Susan Wright

Susan Wright

Former Finance Contributor

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Susan earned a BA from Michigan State University and her MBA from St. Louis University and has spent more than 25 years as a financial copywriter. She holds 11 financial industry designations, includi...
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Keri Stooksbury


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If you’ve ever applied for a loan, credit card, or other types of credit, you’ve likely been the subject of a credit inquiry. Typically, whenever you’re applying for credit or borrowing funds, the lender or creditor involved will want to obtain specific financial information from you. This is usually done via a credit inquiry.

But having too many credit inquiries could actually end up negatively impacting your credit report and credit score. So it’s important to know how credit inquiries work, and how you may be able to remove inaccurate or unauthorized inquiries from your credit information.

What Is a Credit Inquiry?

A credit inquiry takes place when a bank, lender, or other credit-issuing institution views your credit report before offering you a loan or credit card.

There are other instances where a credit inquiry may also be used, which can include:

  • A landlord or property management company checking your credit before approving you for an apartment lease
  • A cell phone company inquiring about your credit before approving you for a contract
  • A potential employer who wants to make sure your credit is in favorable standing before offering you a job

Hot Tip: While some situations will require that you actually apply for a product or service before they can check your credit, there are other instances where you don’t have to give your approval for a credit check.

Different Types of Credit Inquiries

There are different types of credit inquiries that can take place on your credit report, including hard credit inquiries and soft credit inquiries. A hard credit inquiry can be a primary component of the underwriting process for all types of credit.

Soft credit inquiries, however, are often used more for marketing purposes — not just during a loan or credit approval process. It’s important to understand the differences between hard and soft credit inquiries because some inquiries can impact your credit report and credit score.

Hard Credit Inquiries

A hard credit inquiry (sometimes referred to as a “hard pull”) takes place when a company or entity has a legitimate business reason to look into your credit. In this case, the lender or creditor is seeking information about whether or not you will be reliable in paying the money back.

Your credit report will provide the lender or creditor with a “report card” of sorts in terms of your payback history, as well as other information such as how much credit you already have and what type of credit you carry (mortgages, auto loans, and/or credit card balances).

There are a number of lenders and creditors that will typically use hard credit inquiries. These can include:

  • Mortgage companies
  • Auto financing firms
  • Student loan companies
  • Lenders (personal and business)
  • Credit card companies

There are many organizations and entities that may check your credit before moving forward with a transaction. Image Credit: via Shutterstock

When conducting a hard credit inquiry, the information that the lender or creditor has access to via your credit report can include the following:

  • The number of accounts you’ve recently opened
  • The proportion of accounts that you’ve opened recently (as opposed to longer-standing accounts)
  • The number of recent credit inquiries that you have had
  • The time that elapsed since any past credit inquiries

Soft Credit Inquiries

A soft credit inquiry may be requested for a number of different reasons. One way that creditors often use soft inquiries is for marketing to potential customers.

For example, a credit card company may want to send an offer to a list of people who meet specific credit-related characteristics, like having a credit score above a certain threshold.

Credit aggregating services may also use soft credit inquiries to help borrowers find a loan. These platforms will typically require information about a potential borrower, such as their Social Security number.

There are many reasons why a creditor or lender may conduct a soft credit pull:

  • Credit card companies verifying a pre-approval offer to customers
  • A company checking into your background as a new employee
  • A landlord or property management company checking into an application you have made for an apartment rental
  • Financial companies (such as banks, credit unions, or brokerage firms) verifying your identity
  • Car rental agencies where you may be leasing a vehicle
  • Utility, phone, and internet companies that are considering you as a new customer

In addition, your current creditors may also conduct a soft credit inquiry if you are applying for additional services from them, such as a new loan, or even an increase in a current line of credit.

You can also check your credit report and credit score, which counts as a soft credit inquiry as well. There are several ways to check your credit report and score for free, such as going through Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.

Once each year, consumers are allowed to receive their credit report for free from all 3 of the big credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can access this free credit report by going to

Hot Tip: Unlike a hard credit inquiry that requires your authorization, a soft credit inquiry can take place without your permission. Even though a soft inquiry will be noted in your credit report, these types of inquiries will not negatively affect your credit score.

A Comparison of Hard Versus Soft Credit Inquiries

While creditors and other entities can check your credit report and score through either a hard or a soft credit inquiry, there are some key differences between these types of credit “pulls.”

First, different information may be shown in a hard versus soft credit inquiry. For example, a creditor or other entity performing a soft credit pull for promotional or marketing purposes will only be able to view a limited report. To obtain your full credit file, they’d have to use a hard credit inquiry.

Also, hard credit inquiries can have a negative effect on your credit by lowering your credit score. Even though soft inquiries are still noted on your credit report, these cannot lower your credit score — nor do they show up as a negative on your credit report.

Finally, for a lender or a creditor to conduct a hard inquiry, you must first have granted them permission to do so. Therefore, if you discover a hard credit inquiry was conducted without your knowledge or permission, you can often dispute it.

Why Credit Inquiries Could Hurt Your Credit Score

The type of credit inquiries you have could impact your credit report and credit score. For example, a hard credit inquiry could reflect negatively, and may even bring your overall credit score down.

This is because those who have recently applied for a new loan and/or additional credit can be viewed as a more risky borrower. This is particularly the case if you already carry large loans or credit balances.

Hot Tip: In most instances, a hard credit inquiry will remain on your credit report for up to 2 years. However, there are instances where negative information may remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years.

Are You Affected by Credit Inquiries as a Co-Signer?

It could be that you are (or are considering being) a co-signer on another person’s loan or credit application. In this case, your own credit report and score can be affected. This is because, as a co-signer, you are accepting full responsibility for the debt if the borrower does not pay back the borrowed funds as agreed.

Being a co-signer on a loan can still impact your own credit and credit score. Image Credit: Casper1774 Studio via Shutterstock

In the case of co-signing for someone else, the information about the loan or account will actually show up on both your and the other person’s credit report. So it’s important to make sure the person you are co-signing for is financially responsible, and that they will make all their required payments on time.

Can You Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report?

When compared to other items that impact your credit score — such as late or missed payments — credit inquiries are the least important item to remove. However, there can still be some very good reasons for disputing and ultimately removing such an inquiry.

As an example, if you don’t recognize a credit inquiry on your credit report, you could have been a victim of identity theft. In this case, it would be important to get the information removed, especially if it’s having a negative impact on your credit score.

Before you do so, though, remember that only hard credit inquiries conducted without your permission can be disputed. Therefore, if you willingly applied for a loan or credit and the corresponding inquiry has shown up on your report, you likely won’t be able to have that particular credit inquiry removed.

If an item can be disputed, there are a couple of ways you can proceed. One way is to go directly to the creditor by sending them a certified letter in the mail. In your letter, be sure to point out which inquiry (or inquiries) were not authorized, and then request that those inquiries be removed.

You could also contact the 3 big credit bureaus where the unauthorized inquiry has shown up. Because not all lenders and creditors report all information to all 3 of the bureaus, it’s possible that a particular inquiry will only show up on 1 or 2 of your credit reports.

In any case, make sure to keep copies of any correspondence and supporting documents that you send to the creditor(s) and/or credit bureau(s).

Credit Removal Letter Template

When submitting a dispute for an inquiry on your credit report, you’ll need to include some specific information. The following credit inquiry removal letter template will help you organize your correspondence to a specific creditor:

<Your Name>
<Your Address>
<Your Phone Number>
<Name and Address of the Creditor>


Re: Unauthorized Credit Inquiry

Dear Sir / Madam (or the name of a specific individual, if you know it):

I recently obtained a copy of my credit report from <name of the credit bureau — Equifax, Experian, and/or TransUnion>. It indicated that a credit inquiry was made by your company. However, this inquiry was not authorized by me. Therefore, I am writing to dispute this inquiry and have it removed from my credit report.

Please have this inquiry removed from my credit report, as it is having a negative effect on my loan applications and my acquisition of credit.

I have sent this letter via certified mail as it requires your prompt attention and response. Please forward any documentation that you may have in regards to the removal of this credit inquiry.

Conversely, should you find that I am remiss and my authorization was in fact obtained for making this credit inquiry, I would appreciate any such documentation of that as well.

Thank you for your prompt assistance.


<Your Name>

In addition to sending a letter to the lender or creditor, it can be beneficial if you also include a copy of the page on your credit report where the incorrect/unauthorized inquiry shows up. This can serve as additional proof for your dispute case.

How To Prevent Unauthorized Credit Inquiries

There are also ways you can prevent an unauthorized credit inquiry from even taking place, which means you hopefully won’t have to remove an unauthorized inquiry in the future. One strategy is to make your credit report inaccessible to lenders and creditors with a credit freeze.

A credit freeze (often referred to as a security freeze) will place a “lock” on your credit report. This means that a lender or creditor will not be able to access your credit report in order to view your information. Implementing a credit freeze can also help keep hackers and identity thieves from opening new credit and/or applying for loans in your name.

Hot Tip: It is important to note that when you have a credit freeze in place, it can hinder your own ability to obtain new credit. For this reason, you can temporarily (or permanently) lift a credit freeze. All 3 of the big credit bureaus have programs available for putting a freeze on your credit.

Final Thoughts

Having good credit is essential if you want to get the best interest rates on loans and credit cards — or in some cases, to even be approved at all. That’s why it’s important to ensure that all the information on your credit report is up-to-date and accurate. You can accomplish this by regularly reviewing your credit report and credit score.

While checking your own credit and other soft inquiries won’t negatively affect your credit score, remember that hard credit inquiries will. With that in mind, be sure you only apply for loans and credit cards that are necessary for making big purchases, and that you’re always in a financial position to repay.

Likewise, it makes sense to only apply for credit when you need it. That means going with credit options that fit your specific objectives and goals. The best way to do this when applying for credit cards is to review and compare cards that offer an ample amount of credit, as well as rewards like travel or points you can benefit from.

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Frequently Asked Questions

About Susan Wright

While writing about finance and insurance isn’t something that keeps most people awake at night, it is what Susan Wright has focused on for more than 25 years. As a financial copywriter, Susan has an eye for money-related details such as credit and savings, and she loves to pass along helpful information to consumers. Susan holds 11 financial industry designations (including CLU, ChFC, RHU, REBC, ADPA, CITRMS, CIPA) as well as several licenses.


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August 23, 2018

Hello, I used your template and did not include my SSN. I see other templates have SSN. Will I encounter any issues?

Alex Miller

August 29, 2018

In order to help the credit bureau narrow down the correct file, it is recommended that you provide identifying information about yourself, such as your full name and your address. Also, while it may be helpful to the credit bureau if you provide your Social Security number, it is not recommended. (And if you do provide your Social Security number, it is important to take the proper security precautions). You can find additional information via the website for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at: Hope this helps. Thanks!

Felisha Jones- Dennis

August 27, 2018

I recently filed bankruptcy and my question is can/how can I remove any inquiries if not all of them from my credit report?

Susan Wright

August 29, 2018

Hi Felisha – There are actually two different types of credit inquiries. These are soft inquiries and hard inquiries. A soft credit inquiry occurs when either you or your existing creditors check your credit report. Likewise, a soft inquiry may also occur when a company – such as a credit card issuer – checks your credit report in order to determine whether or not you might be a good potential candidate for their card offer (and in turn, will send you a mailer with a credit card application). Soft inquiries can oftentimes occur without your knowledge. But the good news is that these types of inquiries will not have an impact on your credit report or your credit score.
Hard credit inquiries, on the other hand, occur when you give a lender or a creditor permission to check your credit report. These inquiries are typically conducted for the purpose of getting a car loan, a home mortgage, or other types of loans or credit. A hard credit inquiry can have an effect on your credit report – and it will usually lower your credit score by about five to ten points. So, you will want to make sure that you don’t have too many hard credit inquiries (i.e., just because the creditor is offering you’re a “free gift”, don’t take the bait and sign up for a credit card that you don’t need).
While you may not want to worry about removing soft credit inquiries (as they don’t bring your credit score down), you may want to try and remove hard credit inquiries. One of the best ways to do that is to dispute the inquiry with the creditor, the credit bureau – or both.
In this case, you could simply contact the lender / creditor and ask them to remove the inquiry. However, this is oftentimes easier said than done. An alternative strategy is to dispute the inquiry on the grounds that you did not authorize it. (Keep in mind, though, that if you go this route, there should be no documentation to the contrary. In other words, only use this approach if you in fact really did not authorize the credit inquiry).
If this is the case, you could even remind the creditor that, based on the Fair Credit Reporting Act, “A creditor should not have access to a consumer’s credit information unless the individual himself gives written permission, or unless credit access is court ordered or is requested by a state or local government agency in relation to child support.”
There are a couple of other items to keep in mind here. First, before you move forward with your dispute, make sure that you have copies of your credit reports from all three of the credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. And make sure that you have read through all three of these reports in full. This is because not all creditors will report all information to all three of the credit bureaus. And because of that, certain inquiries that show up on one credit bureau’s report may not show up on another, and vice versa.
If the inquiry that you want removed is in fact listed on all three of your credit reports, be sure that you contact all three of the credit bureaus with your dispute. Otherwise, even if the inquiry is removed from one of them, it could still negatively impact your credit score(s) on the other two reports.


January 03, 2019

Thank you,
Susan and team,
you are the best!


January 06, 2019

Hi. I have several hard inquiries on my credit report. All are from one auto dealership using 12 different financial institutions. I did not authorize any. Do i dispute it with each finance company or just TransUnion/Equifax etc…?

Stephen Au

January 06, 2019

Hey Dana,

When you dispute inquiries, you will need to dispute it with the bureaus TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

Here’s the link for TransUnion:

Here’s the link for Equifax:

Here’s the link for Experian:

Hope this helps! Thanks for reading.

Lee Schmidt

February 01, 2019

Great article! Another tip is to contact the creditor who performed the inquiry and ask for their proof of authorization. If they do not respond (most do not), you can follow up with the credit bureaus explaining that you have contacted the creditor and they were unable to provide proof of authorization. We have letter templates for each of these cases at DisputeBee.

Also make sure to include your identity verification documents when you mail in your dispute. Otherwise your dispute may be ignored. Here is what Equifax requires (same as the other bureaus):

Thanks for the great article!

christopher medley

March 10, 2019

A ” hard ” inquiry typically occurs when you do something to request credit (such as applying for a credit card or loan). Such inquiries appear on your credit report when it is sent to creditors, and will lower your credit score slightly, typically by five points or less, for up to 12 months. Soft inquiries, on the other hand, have no effect on your credit score besides pre-screening, other soft inquiries include those from employers or insurance companies, as well as those from current creditors who are simply reviewing your account. (If you like, you can choose to opt out of pre-screening, either for five years or permanently unless you opt back in.)

Tiffany Harmon

March 19, 2019

I just want to be clear from what I am reading. I just want to dispute hard inquires on my credit files with all three bureaus. I would have to dispute these hard inquires with each credit bureau? Or am I sending a letter to each company that pulled my credit file? I am just a little confused. When I clicked in the dispute Link there is not an option to dispute injuries online.

Alex Miller

March 26, 2019

Hi Tiffany,

If a particular inquiry appears on your credit report from all three of the major credit bureaus, you would have to send a letter to each. (Some merchants do not report to all three of the credit bureaus, so the charge in question may or may not appear on all of them). The credit bureaus are then required to investigate the account or the charge in question.

Although you may be able to file your dispute online, it is recommended that you still send a letter in the mail as well. By sending it via certified mail, you will know for sure when it arrived at the credit bureau. In your letter, be sure that you include the following details:

-Your name and contact information
– Your birthdate
– Proof of your identification (such as a copy of your drivers’ license)
– A copy of your credit report with the disputed charge highlighted
– The account number on which the dispute is being filed
– The current date
– A brief description of the error
– Supporting documents (such as payment records)
– Information regarding what you would like the credit bureau to do

There are some good letter templates available through the FederalTrade Commission’s website. These can help you to ensure that you include all of the necessary details.

Although it isn’t necessary, it can also help to send a dispute letter to the merchant in question, as well. That way, you have all the bases covered – and, if the merchant agrees with your dispute, they may be able to help you get the error or misinformation removed.

Note that if you authorized an inquiry and / or you applied for the particular account, it may take up to two years for it to fall off of your credit report(s). In addition, if you do not agree with the outcome of a credit dispute, you could take the next step and file a complaint through theCFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).

Kim Banks

April 24, 2020

Hey, so when writing the dispute letter do we need the account number of company and address?

Christine Krzyszton

April 26, 2020

Hi Kim. The more information you can provide, the better. The letter template provided in this article is a good outline to follow, then enclose a copy of the page in your credit report showing the company and the error.

Alma Langrum

April 03, 2019

I find these helpful…

Erin Miller

April 03, 2019

Hi Alma, glad you enjoyed this piece! Thanks for the feedback 🙂

Jeffrey Williams

May 20, 2019

If I apply for a Business credit card (legitimate business using EIN, separate business address,etc.) and the hard inquiry shows up on my personal credit, can I have that removed!? Seeing that its specifically for business!

Hi Jeffrey. You can only remove unauthorized inquiries from your credit report. Since you would authorize the inquiry during the application process and you would be personally responsible for the credit card debt, you would not be able to be able to get it removed.

Kendra White

September 04, 2019

So it appears I have a victim of identify theft. I am currently in the process of buying a home. The Mortgage Lender ran my credit in July 2019. An eyebrow was raised when an inquiry popped up under “Equifax Mortgage Services/Solutions (EMS)” on August 27, 2019. This was not the same company I am using for the mortgage. I reached out to my loan officer who stated they did not run my credit again. So I immediately called Equifax who informed me it was with Wells Fargo.

I then called Wells Fargo Bank and was routed to the mortgage dept. They looked my info up by name, DOB, and last 4 of SSN. She informed me I have nothing on file with them. I was able to dispute online with Experian (whom removed the inquiry the next day) and Equifax (who stated they would investigate and I would receive something in the mail). However, with Transunion you are not able to dispute inquiries. I was informed I would need a letter of deletion from the company. The number listed on my credit report for the company is not a working number and Wells Fargo Mortgage Dept. states they do not issue letter of deletion letters in their department. What should I do. I did not authorize this Lender to run my credit, need help getting removed from Transunion.

Christy Rodriguez

September 04, 2019

Hi Kendra, we actually have a great template in the above article and which would function as the letter you would need to submit to TransUnion.

As far as contact information for TransUnion, this website should get you started:

Best of luck to you and thanks for reading!


September 09, 2019

I really don’t think it’s fair that I have to send a certified letter out when the credit bureau should verify that is it a legitimate inquiry. Also how can I tell on my report which ones are hard hits?

Christy Rodriguez

September 09, 2019

Hi Judy, unfortunately the credit bureaus don’t have a way to verify if the inquiry is legitimate – only that the request is coming from a legitimate source.

In order for a lender or a creditor to conduct a hard inquiry, you must first have granted them permission to do so. So if you discover a hard credit inquiry was conducted without your knowledge or permission, you can dispute it. You can always ask your lender/creditor if the inquiry is soft or hard, but since it sounds like you didn’t authorize the inquiry, the only way to know is to ask one of the credit bureaus.

Hope this helps and thanks for reading!


November 21, 2019

Hi, I have four hard inquiries on my credit scores from credit card inquiries — what is the quickest way for me to get these off of my credit?

Andrew Kunesh

November 21, 2019

Hey Joe, there is no way to remove credit card inquiries from your credit report unless they’re fraudulent or otherwise unauthorized. However, all inquiries fall off of your credit report after 2 years.


November 27, 2019

Thanks! What I would like to know is if it will affect my score until then?

Jarrod West

November 27, 2019

Hi Joe,

Any discrepancies with your credit report are likely to continue to have an impact on your score until they are removed from your report.

Cynthia M Ortiz

January 12, 2020

I applied for a auto refinance loan with a company and was approved, but after looking at the numbers, decided not to take the loan. They were unhappy and kept trying to have me accept the offer. Well, today I got a letter from another company that they are sorry but I am denied an auto refinance loan with them. I called them and they told be that the first company applied on my behalf! My credit score has dropped 20 points! I think they have tried at least once before this. What should I do?

Christy Rodriguez

January 12, 2020

Hi Cynthia, it’s hard to know for certain as we aren’t affiliated with these companies. It sounds like you did authorize your credit to be pulled for the first loan (even if you decided to not take out a loan), so this counts as a hard inquiry. Hard inquiries can result in your credit decreasing (read more about that here). We always recommend pulling your own credit report and reviewing for errors (if they have pulled your credit more than once for example) and disputing any errors, if any. Hope this helps and best of luck!


January 21, 2020

Regarding that, where should I go and who should I speak with to have it removed from my credit report?

Also, most of the credit laying on my profile was paid up and I got paid up letter. Is there any way I could have them clear this since it has a negative impact on my credit profile?
If so, what step should be followed?

Is it possible to have my credit inquiries removed? It was done in November 2019 with Netbank and Standard bank when I was looking for vehicle financing, so can I have it removed?

Christine Krzyszton

January 21, 2020

Hi Walter. You can start by ordering a copy of your credit report. You can print off a copy of the error, write a letter to the credit bureau and enclose a copy of the payment letter. You can also dispute the charge online or call the credit bureau that is making the error, and then provide a copy of the payoff letter after the fact. Allow up to 30 days for a response and an update to your credit report.
You cannot dispute credit inquiries that you have authorized and are legitimate. If you have inquiries that you did not authorize, you can dispute them using the letter template and instructions above. Thanks for reading.


May 08, 2020

Recently I applied a chase credit card but it was declined after asking additional document. I found that JPMC (Chase) pulled my credit report twice (first: when I applied, second: when they rejected my application after 16 days the first credit check). Can I dispute the second inquiry?

Jarrod West

May 11, 2020

Hi Andy,

Yes, you should be able to dispute the second inquiry. Have you contacted Chase and asked why they pulled your credit twice?

Tina Hastruup

June 22, 2020

Great reviews here. Quite informative.

Jarrod West

June 23, 2020

Hi Tina,

Thanks for your kind words!


October 15, 2020

I would like to add the registering with opt out prescreen via the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion & Innovis) will also reduce/eliminate soft inquires from the companies sending out pre-approved credit/insurance offers.

Angel Robinson

July 07, 2021

Hi, I know that we have to send a certified letter in the mail to merchants and the 3 credit bureaus, but can we dispute online prior to sending out the letter? If so, how do we dispute online? Sending the letters itself is the dispute?

Jarrod West

July 07, 2021

Hi Angel,

Each credit bureau offers an online dispute application that you can fill out on their website. Simply Google “Equifax Dispute” for example, to be led directly to the page.

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