Our content is free because we earn a commission when you click or make a purchase from links on our site. Learn more about how we make money.

Credit Score

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on Your Credit Report?

There are several important things to understand about credit inquiries and how they affect your credit.

The following topics will help you better understand how credit inquiries work and what you can do about them.

What Are Hard Inquiries?

There are two types of credit inquiries.

A hard inquiry occurs when you are actively applying for some kind of loan. For example, when you apply for a credit card or mortgage, the lender will ask if they can pull your credit report and this will show up as a hard inquiry.

A soft inquiry occurs when either you pull your own credit or a creditor pulls your credit without your permission.

Do Hard Inquiries Hurt Your Credit?

Soft inquiries don’t negatively affect your credit score so it doesn’t matter how many are on your credit report. However, multiple hard inquiries can negatively affect your credit score because it indicates that you’re looking for credit.

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On Your Credit Report?

Hard inquiries stay on your credit for 2 years. However, that doesn’t mean a hard inquiry negatively affects your credit for 2 years. Rather, a hard inquiry will only affect your credit for up to 12 months. Even then, hard inquiries only hurt your credit if you have several.

While hard inquiries can remain on your credit report for up to 2 years, I’ve seen them fall off after only 12 months.

You might be wondering what happens when you’re shopping for credit and your credit is pulled multiple times. An example of this is when you shop for the best mortgages rates and multiple lenders pull your credit.

Don’t worry about this because as long as they are pulled within 30 days, it will essentially only count as one hard inquiry.

How Does A Hard Inquiry Affect Your Credit Score?

A single hard inquiry isn’t going to hurt your credit score. In fact, even a couple probably won’t have any impact on your credit score. So, how many inquiries is too many? Well, once you hit 3 hard inquiries within 12 months, you’ll start to see a small hit on your credit score.

The point is that hard inquiries don’t have a huge impact on your credit score and you really shouldn’t worry about them. You’re better off dealing with negative entries on your credit report and removing collections and late payments.

Can I Remove Hard Inquiries From My Credit?

If you see a hard inquiry on your credit report that you don’t recognize you can probably have it removed from your credit report. Start by finding out who logged the inquiry by getting a copy of your credit report.

Next, write a letter to whoever is listed on the hard inquiry entry stating that you didn’t authorize them to pull your credit report and to remove it right away. In order to make sure you have everything in writing send the letter via certified mail.

Hard Inquiries Should Be the Least of Your Worries

Quite honestly, you shouldn’t worry much about hard inquiries because unlike other entries on your credit report they only remain for 2 years rather than 7 years. Additional, they only can hurt your credit score for up to 12 months.

That said, if you have other negative items on your credit report such as collections, charge offs, or late payments, I would recommend getting these removed from your credit report.

You can either do this yourself or hire a professional to remove the negative items. For this, I suggest you check out Lexington Law Credit Repair. They’ll take care of you. Give them a call at 1-844-764-9809 or Check out their website.


  1. Here’s my situation, and it seems to contradict, at least a bit, your entry re: “Hard Inquiries.”
    Over this past summer I made a trip from CA to WI using an ’83 Chevy pickup and towing a new 6’x12′ enclosed trailer containing a 800# motorcycle and some small motorcycle related items. Travelling the mountains was a genuine strain on the truck (25 mph in CO…big rigs passing like I was standing still.) Since my long-term goal is to acquire a travel trailer for extended travelling I sought to purchase a different truck while in WI. While the dealer was checking my credit I phoned my bank to see if they would re-finance when I returned to CA (a previous auto purchase was refinanced and I got a significantly lower interest rate, so…)
    As it turned out purchasing a vehicle in WI (as non-resident) presented too many obstacles so I chose not to purchase. On my return to CA I found that my credit rating had dropped 100 points, based solely on TWO hard inquiries … the lender in WI and my own bank. (I do have 3 late payments on my record: 1 is 6 years old, the other 2 are two successive months at my bank and they are 4 years old.) Trust that I was in complete shock at this. (I did manage to acquire a different pickup truck through a dealer in CA and did manage to get a reasonable interest rate; however, the credit rating is still listed as poor. I have taken stock of my circumstance, have instituted a fair financial budget (on a fixed income) and take hope that the hard inquiries only show for 12 months; I dispute that inquiries within 30 days show as 1 inquiry, though. That may be the norm, but certainly not for me.
    Thank you for you website; I’m scouring it for any useful information to help me restore my rating. (I will be contacting my bank re: clearing the late payments.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Meet the Experts

BetterCreditBlog.org’s staff of editorial writers have spent hundreds of hours conducting research, interviewing industry experts, and reviewing the products and services out there to help inform and educate our readers.

Learn More About Our Team