Know Your Rights

Inquiries on your Credit Report

If you have ever taken a look at your credit report, you have probably noticed a section titled, "Inquiries" at the end of the
report.  Inquiries are requests made by a company to review your report for a variety of different reasons.  While most consumers understand that these inquiries can affect your credit score, the subject can still raise a lot of questions.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), credit reporting agencies are required to compile a list of all the companies that requested a copy of your consumer report and to provide you with a list of those companies upon request.  This list appears at the end of your credit report and must include the name of any company or business that requested your
report for the one to two years prior depending on the purpose of the inquiry. 

The most commonly asked question about inquiries is whether or not they will damage your score.  The answer, depends on what type of inquiry you are asking about.  Thereare two different types of inquiries, and they are referred to in the industry as "hard" and"soft".  The first type, a"hard" inquiry or pull, is one which you apply for credit or a loan andthe company that is reviewing whether to give you that credit pulls your report.This type of inquiry will affect your score and the more of these"hard" inquiries you have the more your score will be impacted.  Often times, the credit reporting agencies will look at the type of company that is pulling your report and if you are shopping around for credit the inquiries will be grouped together and considered a single inquiry instead of multiple. 

The second type of inquiry, a "soft" inquiry or pull, is where your existing creditors review your report.  A soft inquiry does not affect your score in any way.  As a consumer, you may also pull your credit report as often as you like without any affect to your score.   These are also referred to as "account reviews".  Also, soft inquiries can be promotional pulls. 
In that instance, your name, not your report, was given out to a potential creditor who wishes to make a firm offer of credit to you because your credit meets certain criteria.  This is often why you may receive credit card offers in the mail.

If after reviewing your report a company is listed that accessed your report without your permission, you are entitled to dispute the inquiry under the FCRA.  First and foremost, do not automatically assume that if you do not recognize the name of a creditor that accessed your credit file that it means the access was fraudulent or impermissible.  Often times when applying for a loan or for line of credit companies use different names or banks to run your credit.  You can easily request the name and address of any company that accessed your credit and if it still looks unfamiliar you can dispute the impermissible access with the credit reporting agency.  Just like when you dispute an account on yourreport, the credit reporting agency must investigate your dispute and respond to your request within 30 days. 

If you would like more information regarding your credit report and the inquiries made into your credit file, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.



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