Will inquiries and credit pulls hurt your credit score?

Will inquiries and credit pulls hurt your credit score?  There's a lot of worry by consumers about this very question, so here are several answers that will give you a peace-of-mind.  This content is courtesy of my AR associate, Jeff Sipes.


Are you shopping for a home loan?  Sending a child to college so you’re applying for student loans?  Or did you just come from your favorite store where they offered a discount if you take out one of their store credit cards.  Every time you apply for new credit it shows up as an inquiry on your credit report – and done wrong, that could even lower your score.  However, some people become so afraid of having their credit pulled that they don’t adequately shop for the best loans, losing a lot of money in the end.  What you don’t know can hurt you, so today we’re going to explain the process of credit inquiries and the impact they have on your score.
Every time a vendor, bank, or merchant requests to see your credit report, it registers as an inquiry, an event visible on that report.  But will these inquiries actually lower your FICO score?  
 The short answer is: it could, but not too much.  But it’s based on two factors: what kind of credit trade line you’re applying for, and the timing of those inquiries.  Remember that the whole basis of credit reporting and credit reports is to give lenders an accurate metric to measure the risk of granting you a loan.  So when a consumer registers multiple inquiries (and the wrong kind) it sets off a red flag to risk for lenders.  Why?  They’re worried about the consumer applying for credit or loans out of financial desperation or overextending themselves with debt.  So the larger the number of credit applications and inquiries the greater the risk, and therefore their score could drop.  In fact, people with six inquiries or more on their credit reports are statistically 800% more likely to file for bankruptcy!
Now here is the fine print – not all credit inquiries are treated equally.  Some are a logical function of consumers shopping for the best rates or terms, especially with big-ticket items like auto loans, mortgages, and student loans.  The credit bureaus expect consumers to submit several applications (and have their credit report pulled) in order to get quotes from multiple sources when it comes to those loans, so those inquiries are less likely to adversely affect a credit score, if at all. 
However other types of loans are seen as clear indicators of risky consumer behavior, so the more credit inquiries, the bigger the hit to their credit score will be.  These include credit card applications, store credit cards, payroll advances and other inquiries that mark irresponsible financial behaviors. Typically, your FICO score can go down about 5 points per inquiry if you have your score pulled too much by the wrong vendors.  The drop could be greater if you have few accounts or a short credit history without seasoned, positive factors to compensate.
The second component of this equation is timing.  The more “bad” inquiries that appear on your credit report within a short time, the harder the hit to your score.  For instance, if you apply for 5 new credit cards within a two-week period, it definitely is seen as risky to the credit bureaus, and your score will drop accordingly.  But just like there are compensating factors for big-ticket types of loans like mortgages, the timing of those is also factored in.  Shopping for the best rate on one loan (not simultaneously applying for multiple loans) means getting your credit score pulled several times within a short period, and that will not hurt your credit score.  The bureaus usually just count this group or batch of inquiries as one if they’re within a 30-day period.  So the lesson here is that you absolutely shop around for the best rates on big, important loans without worrying about multiple inquiries on your credit report, but try to contain them to within a 30-day period, but avoid multiple credit pulls on other kinds of debt that signal risk.
The different types of credit inquiries are broken down in two general groups; hard inquires and soft inquiries.  Hard inquiries occur when a bank, financial institution, lender or credit card accesses your credit report for the purpose of making a lending decision.  Hard inquiries may lower your score nominally, only by a few points, and stay on your report for two years.  Of course the negative impact diminishes and disappears over time.
Soft inquiries, on the other hand, are when a person or company checks your credit report.  Usually these come from when an employer checks your credit, preapproved credit card offers, and when you pull your own report.  Soft inquiries can happen without you giving permission, so they typically don’t affect your score at all. 
Hard inquiries:
  • Applying for auto loan, student loan, business loan, or personal loan
  • Applying for a credit card
  • Applying for a mortgage


Soft inquiries:
  • Checking your own credit score
  • Pre-approved credit and loan offers
  • Background checks employers


Sometimes hard sometimes soft:
  • Applying to rent an apartment
  • Verification of identity by a financial institution like credit union or stock brokerage
  • Renting a car
  • Getting cable TV or internet account
  • Opening a checking, savings, or money market account

share buttons 
denver homes
(303) 514-4000

newsletternewsletterblog iconfacebookflickrlinkedintwitternewsletteremail

   Buy A House     Sell A House     New Homes      Foreclosure Help     First-Time Buyers  

Copyright © Michael Dagner and All rights reserved.  Attribution: flickr/photos/unquiet (creative commons-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Comment balloon 1 commentMichael Dagner • April 02 2016 04:31PM
Will inquiries and credit pulls hurt your credit score?
Will inquiries and credit pulls hurt your credit score? There's a lot of worry by consumers about this very question, so here are several answers that will give you a peace-of-mind. This content is courtesy of my AR associate, Jeff Sipes. … more