Credit report reveals 'hard' inquiries

Don Taylorq_v2.gifDear Dr. Don,
How would I know if a credit card company did a "hard inquiry" or a "soft inquiry" on my credit report.
-- Sherry Solace

a_v2.gifDear Sherry,
A hard inquiry occurs when you apply for credit or open an account. This type of inquiry stays on your credit report for two years but only is used in calculating your credit score in the first year.

Banks sometimes initiate a hard inquiry when you open a bank account, but a lender will always do a hard inquiry when you apply for a credit card or a loan.

A soft inquiry occurs when an existing creditor checks your credit report, or when lenders review your credit report on their own initiative to decide if they want to extend a credit offer to you.

These soft inquiries don't show up on the report when a lender is reviewing your report as part of a hard inquiry. A soft inquiry only shows up on the credit reports you request to review. Your request also generates a soft inquiry, but again, you're the only one to see it on your credit report.

So, if you want to find out who's been checking out your credit, the best thing to do is to review a copy of your free credit report. The Bankrate feature "How to get your free credit report" provides all the details.


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