finance

Each inquiry hurts credit score

Don Taylorq_v2.gifDear Dr. Don,
I was appalled to be told by my auto insurer that I did not receive the best quote for my auto insurance because of my credit score. I owe no one and all my bills are paid by the debit process, so I am never late nor have I ever been late in paying anything. I owe no one or no entity a dime.

I have since found that because I have gone for offers of 5 cents off on a gallon of gas or some other come-ons, that each such acceptance of a new credit card results in a credit card inquiry on my credit report. These inquiries have caused my credit score to be less than perfect.

This is grossly unfair. No one in my peer group of retirees has ever been made aware of the result of biting (like a fish on bait) on so-called "advantage" credit card deals.

I am outraged to now understand that any savings I may have gained from accepting new credit-card offerings has actually cost me additional dollars for insurance and who knows what else.

Please let the public know that every time you apply for a credit card, the inquiry for credit information made to the three major credit reporting agencies by the credit card company results in a strike against your credit score. -- Edward Egregious

a_v2.gifDear Edward,
Every time you apply for credit, the application shows up on your credit report as a credit inquiry. These inquiries stay on your credit report for two years, but only factor into your credit score for one year. Inquiries not initiated by you, like account reviews by existing accounts, promotional inquiries and you requesting your credit report for review, don't factor into your credit score.

Yours is a cautionary tale for consumers who have their heads turned by all the promotional offers from merchants -- especially as we head in to the holiday shopping season. Here's what the myFICO.com Web site says about multiple applications for credit on a credit report:

"Inquiries can have a greater impact, however, if you have few accounts or a short credit history. Large numbers of inquiries also mean greater risk: People with six inquiries or more on their credit reports are eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people with no inquiries on their reports."

To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the " Ask the Experts" page, and select one of these topics: "financing a home," "saving & investing" or "money."

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