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Inquiry Master Thread - understanding inquiries and how the affect your credit score

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Inquiry Master Thread - understanding inquiries and how the affect your credit score

Hi Community members,

 

Across the MyFICO forums, many posts and many similar questions exist about the score impact related to inquiries. This thread is intended as a master thread for inquiry related questions.

 

A brief background, especially to those new to these forums and credit scoring

There are many terms and slang related to an inquiry: INQ, credit request, credit pull, hard pull, soft pull, and HP or SP. For this description, an inquiry refers to an HP - a hard pull or examination of your credit report.

 

Simply, an inquiry is recorded by a credit granting organization on your credit report whenever an institution requests to review your credit record.  In most cases, an inquiry occurs when you apply for a loan, credit card, or mortgage; INQs can happen for rentals or for employment.  

 

There are 2 main classes of inquiries: those that affect your score, and those that do not.

 

The focus on this thread is on those inquiry events that affect your score - hard pull inquiries or HPs.

 

Hard inquiries, or hard "pulls" (HP) of your credit, become a formal documented record that remains on your credit report for 25 months. A hard inquiry WILL impact your credit report and MAY impact your score. Hard inquiries occur when you apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card, and in some cases, when you request a credit line increase.  Employment records and rental agreements may or may not be hard inquiries.

 

Soft inquiries, or soft pulls (SP), are less formal and less significant reviews of your credit report. A soft inquiry will not impact your score and will not impact your credit report. An example of a soft inquiry is when you review your own credit record. In some cases, a credit line increase can be coded by the issuer (credit card or revolver) as a SP.

 

What determines how an inquiry is recorded (coded in "credit speak")? Generally, is it a policy determination of the credit issuer. Credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) do just that - they report your credit activity and behavior. They do not determine whether an inquiry is coded as an HP or SP.

 

Creditworthiness is an assessment by a lender of your credit report - your record of managing credit provided to you.  It indicates to a lender how reliable you are at complying with payment terms of those who have lent you money or offered you a revolving or credit card. Please note that lenders (banks, car and mortgage companies) and issuers (credit card companies) have similar, but different rules on how each assess and intrepret your credit report and your creditworthiness.

 

Some quick facts about hard pull (HP) inquiries:

-they remain on your credit report for 25 months (each credit bureau has a slightly different set of rules on timing)

-generally, you cannot dispute an HP (unless you can definitively prove with evidence that it was the result of a true error or fraud)

-An HP is immediately recorded against your credit report for revolving accounts (credit cards)

-Multiple HPs for the same installment or mortgage loan SHOULD be recorded as a single inquiry, generally 30-45 days after the initial HP

-An HP MAY impact your score; "binning" or ranges of HPs and your "scorecard" help determine the severity of penalty points from an HP. 

-Generally, HP's become "unscorable" after 12 months and the points lost from an HP MAY be restored ("scorecards" and "binning" effects)

-the score magnitude of an HP depends on your specific credit report (see scorecard and binning, below)

-HP score sensitivity varies with FICO version (FICO 4, 5, 8 for auto, mortgage, or credit card; FICO 10 effects are not yet clear)

-Some lenders and issuers are more sensitive to HPs than others; some may not approve new loans or cards based on "too many" HPs

-HPs are important.  While not the most imporant part of your score, HPs DO matter. Do not overestimate or underestimate them. 

-If your score does change after applying and opening a new credit card account, the score change may be due in part from an HP. Opening a new account will likely change your score. The 2 events (HP and new account) are different, but linked. A change to your score may be due the  new account only, or the combination of the HP and the new account.

 

On scorecards and binning

Scorecards and binning have direct influence on the impact of an HP on your score, and that interaction is complex. Do a search to on the terms to learn more, as they require a deeper explanation to fully understand what they mean and how they work. 

 

 

As mentioned above, many factors affect the impact of an HP on you: your individual inquiry activity, scorecard assignment and binning rules for your specific report. FICO (and other scoring models) does not provide an explicit explanation of the complicated and interactive math behind HP scoring. 

 

Keep in mind that of all scoring categories (referred to as ingredients) on your credit report, HP inquiries (referred to as "seeking new credit" by FICO) generally only accounts for about 10% of a FICO score (~55 points). Again, your specific credit report, HP behavior, scorecard assignment and binning rules determine how sensitive your FICO scores are to HPs.

 

(This post was revised 4.12.20 to improve clarity and accuracy per several of the posts which follow)

 

Payment history: 100%; no lates, records, or derogs. Utilization: always under 8.99%. Profile: 10+ cards. Mix: closed card, mortgage and car loan accounts. AoOA: > 20 years. Total credit line: >$300K. Scores: all FICO8s > 800. Goals: higher scores, CL, and knowledge
Message 1 of 113
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Legendary Contributor

Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score

The distinction between a so-called hard inquiry and a soft inquiry is that hard inquiries will appear in credit reports issued by the CRA to others, while a soft inquiry will only appear in credit reports issued to the named consumer, and will not appear in credit reports issued to others.

 

Since soft inquiries are not included in credit reports provided to anyone other than the consumer, they do not affect scoring.

The FCRA mandates that so-called promotion inquires made by creditors where the consumer has not initiated a request for credit cannot be included in credit reports issued to other parties, meaning they are always soft inquiries.

Other types of common inquiries that are coded as soft under CRA policy, and thus do not affect your score, are consumer pulls of their own credit reports, and inquiries made by your existing creditors in order to evaluate your account with them.

 

The CRAs also provide codes that permit inquiries that otherwise can be reported as hard to subjectively be coded as soft.

There are no official regs that define when such subjective reporting can be made, and it is common to request a creditor to recode a reported hard inquiry as soft. No statute, regs, or published CRA policy or guidelines exist that define when or how that subjective coding as soft can be done.

Message 2 of 113
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Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score

Thanks Robert for your expanded descriptions and details!

Payment history: 100%; no lates, records, or derogs. Utilization: always under 8.99%. Profile: 10+ cards. Mix: closed card, mortgage and car loan accounts. AoOA: > 20 years. Total credit line: >$300K. Scores: all FICO8s > 800. Goals: higher scores, CL, and knowledge
Message 3 of 113
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Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score


@MWGardener19 wrote:

Hi Community members,

 

Across the forums, many similar questions exist about the score impact of inquiries. This is intended as a master thread for inquiry questions.

 

A brief background, especially to those new to these forums and credit scoring

There are several terms and slang related to an inquiry: INQ, credit request, hard pull, soft pulls, and HP. For this description, we will use inquiry.

 

Simply, an inquiry is recorded on your credit report whenever an institution or person requests to review your credit record (most often to consider you for a loan, credit card, mortgage; less frequently for rentals or employment).  

 

There are 2 main classes of inquiries: those that affect your score, and those that do not.

 

Hard inquiries, or hard pulls of your credit, become a formal documented record that remains on your credit report for 25 months. A hard inquiry will impact your score. Hard inquiries occur when you apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card, or in some cases, when you request a credit line increase.  Employment records and rental agreements may or may not be hard inquiries.

 

Soft inquiries, or soft pulls of your credit, are documented incidents that remain on your credit report as well. A soft inquiry will not impact your score. Hard inquiries occur when you apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card. Soft inquiries occur when you review your own credit record, or in some cases when a lender takes a brief but not detailed look at your credit for a credit line increase.

 

Inquiries are formal reviews of your credit report (credit record) to assess your creditworthiness. Creditworthiness, as the name infers, is an indication to a lender of your record of managing credit provided to you.  It tells a lender how reliable you are at complying with payment terms for those who lend you money.

 

The focus on this thread is on those inquiry events that affect your score - hard inquiries.

 

Some quick facts about hard inquiries:

-they remain on your credit report for 25 months

-generally, you cannot dispute a hard inquiry (unless you can definitively prove is it a true error or fraud)

-will impact your score

-the impact to your score lasts 12 months

-the impact on your score 'fades' and becomes less during the 12 month period after the inquiry occurs

-the magnitude to your individual score depends on your specific credit report

-generally, the older in age your credit report, the less the impact of an inquiry

-generally, the 'thicker' your credit report - the greater number of credit relationships, the less the impact of an inquiry

-when you have more than 1 active inquiry on your report, there are buckets, or brackets, that change the impact to your score

-generally, within 1 year (12 months) the score impact (score points lost) of an inquiry is earned back to have a 0 score impact.

-the effects of inquiries vary with scoring models (auto, mortgage, and earlier versions of FICO; FICO 10 effects are not yet known)

 

The impact and effect of inquiries is a complicated subject, and unique to each person and situation.  FICO (and others) does not provide an explicit explanation of the math behind inquiry scoring.  Keep in mind of all scoring impacts from your credit report, inquiry related ("seeking new credit") only accounts for 10% of a FICO score (55 points maximum).

 


I'm only going to address a few things here

 

Impact of HP doesnt lessen over the 12 months. Points lost (if any) are gained when inqury becomes unscorable. 

They impact scores until max penalty is in place. For me that's 8-9. I dont lose points after that. 

They can have more impact on thin and young files, but thick and old file can certainly feel the pain if they go for a while without applying for new credit

HPs are not the "devil", new accounts are 

Binning (what you referred to as buckets) is public info when it comes to loan applications,  mainly auto and mortgages. How and if  HPs are binned as they relate to revolving credit is not all that clear. 

TU and EQ remove them at two years exactly.  EX removes them first Saturday of the following month

 

 

 

 

You might be sleep deprived if you try opening car door with Samsung Pay
Message 4 of 113
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Valued Contributor

Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score

Yeah, I have also had/have the "max penalty" experience . I had several CC inquiries last month and saw no decrease on TU, 1 point on EX and 4 points on EQ. Once the new accounts reported this month, that is when I saw more than a few points decrease. 
TU in particular I have punished with inquiries and it just looks back without flinching like "that's all you got?"

Message 5 of 113
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Established Contributor

Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score


@Remedios wrote:

@MWGardener19 wrote:

Hi Community members,

 

Across the forums, many similar questions exist about the score impact of inquiries. This is intended as a master thread for inquiry questions.

 

A brief background, especially to those new to these forums and credit scoring

There are several terms and slang related to an inquiry: INQ, credit request, hard pull, soft pulls, and HP. For this description, we will use inquiry.

 

Simply, an inquiry is recorded on your credit report whenever an institution or person requests to review your credit record (most often to consider you for a loan, credit card, mortgage; less frequently for rentals or employment).  

 

There are 2 main classes of inquiries: those that affect your score, and those that do not.

 

Hard inquiries, or hard pulls of your credit, become a formal documented record that remains on your credit report for 25 months. A hard inquiry will impact your score. Hard inquiries occur when you apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card, or in some cases, when you request a credit line increase.  Employment records and rental agreements may or may not be hard inquiries.

 

Soft inquiries, or soft pulls of your credit, are documented incidents that remain on your credit report as well. A soft inquiry will not impact your score. Hard inquiries occur when you apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card. Soft inquiries occur when you review your own credit record, or in some cases when a lender takes a brief but not detailed look at your credit for a credit line increase.

 

Inquiries are formal reviews of your credit report (credit record) to assess your creditworthiness. Creditworthiness, as the name infers, is an indication to a lender of your record of managing credit provided to you.  It tells a lender how reliable you are at complying with payment terms for those who lend you money.

 

The focus on this thread is on those inquiry events that affect your score - hard inquiries.

 

Some quick facts about hard inquiries:

-they remain on your credit report for 25 months

-generally, you cannot dispute a hard inquiry (unless you can definitively prove is it a true error or fraud)

-will impact your score

-the impact to your score lasts 12 months

-the impact on your score 'fades' and becomes less during the 12 month period after the inquiry occurs

-the magnitude to your individual score depends on your specific credit report

-generally, the older in age your credit report, the less the impact of an inquiry

-generally, the 'thicker' your credit report - the greater number of credit relationships, the less the impact of an inquiry

-when you have more than 1 active inquiry on your report, there are buckets, or brackets, that change the impact to your score

-generally, within 1 year (12 months) the score impact (score points lost) of an inquiry is earned back to have a 0 score impact.

-the effects of inquiries vary with scoring models (auto, mortgage, and earlier versions of FICO; FICO 10 effects are not yet known)

 

The impact and effect of inquiries is a complicated subject, and unique to each person and situation.  FICO (and others) does not provide an explicit explanation of the math behind inquiry scoring.  Keep in mind of all scoring impacts from your credit report, inquiry related ("seeking new credit") only accounts for 10% of a FICO score (55 points maximum).

 


I'm only going to address a few things here

 

Impact of HP doesnt lessen over the 12 months. Points lost (if any) are gained when inqury becomes unscorable. 

They impact scores until max penalty is in place. For me that's 8-9. I dont lose points after that. 

They can have more impact on thin and young files, but thick and old file can certainly feel the pain if they go for a while without applying for new credit

HPs are not the "devil", new accounts are 

Binning (what you referred to as buckets) is public info when it comes to loan applications,  mainly auto and mortgages. How and if  HPs are binned as they relate to revolving credit is not all that clear. 

TU and EQ remove them at two years exactly.  EX removes them first Saturday of the following month

 

 

 

 


I believe new accounts are the devil, late pay, bankruptcy are.

Message 6 of 113
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Super Contributor

Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score

This is actually a good idea for a thread so that the information doesn’t have to be answered repeatedly. Kudos to OP for a good idea.

First, it is not a fact a hard inquiry WILL affect your score. If it happens to be binned or you’ve reached maximum point loss, it will not. So, that’s not an absolute.

Second, the impact does not lessen over time. The points return when it becomes unscorable at 365 days. Keep in mind if you have a scorecard reassignment in the interim, the value may not be exactly the same. But it WILL be 365 days later.

If it’s for a revolver the impact, if any, is instant. If it’s for a loan, the impact is delayed 30 days. (Buffering.)

It should also be noted de-duplication causes any LOAN inquiries within a period of time to be combined and counted as one for scoring purposes. 14 days for EX2, 45 days for other fico models.

Yet, when you apply for a revolver, the lender’s computer sees every one of them and counts them against you. This causes many denials.

However, sometimes you can call in for recon (if the lender does recon, capital one does not) and point out they were all from the same loan and should only be counted once and still be approved, upon manual reconsideration and review.

Last an AR (account review) soft inquiry is NOT for a brief review by an existing creditor. A lender acquires the same detail via soft inquiry as they do a hard inquiry. (The only exception I’m aware of is if you have a fraud alert. Then they must do a hard inquiry to get the telephone number listed to verify your identity. Promotional and other SPs exist.)

Good thread idea.

-Our Community’s updated scoring wisdom: Link to Scoring Primer.
-For Negative Reason Codes see: CassieCard’s Score Factors thread.
-ccquest’s workbook to calculate metrics for you: Link to Workbook.

Oct 2020 New Account Scorecard.Nov 2020, No New Account Scorecard (reassignment conflated with aging. EX9 not updated yet. Oldest/avg varies. Estimates above.)
Real world mortgage maxes are: EQ5-818, TU4-839, EX2-844.


RIP:
(Everything said is JMHO and is not endorsed by FICO or MF. I have no affiliation with either, just a grateful member.)
Message 7 of 113
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Senior Contributor

Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score

This is probably just semantics, but one way the idea that the effect of a HP can be seen to lessen over time would be in the way a potential lender views it, such as one who will not approve an application if you have above X number of inquiries in Y number of months. Through that lens, the practical impact of an inquiry would lessen during the year that its scoring impact does not change. All else being equal though, it's true that for score purposes, full impact remains for the entire first year.

 

I agree with the above commenters - great thread idea.



Platinum NPSL | Rose Gold NPSL | BCP | Delta Gold | Hilton Surpass | Hilton Honors | PenFed PCR | IT Cash | IT Chrome | GHSFCU Visa Plat | Quicksilver | Target | VS | Home Depot | Lowes | Sams MC | Firestone | Overstock | Kohl’s | Key Bank auto loan (2017 Audi A6 Premium Plus S-Line)





TCL $95,400 | Agg. Util under 5%
Message 8 of 113
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Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score

Definitely agreed the age and quantity of hard inquiries definitely matter to lenders. Good point.
-Our Community’s updated scoring wisdom: Link to Scoring Primer.
-For Negative Reason Codes see: CassieCard’s Score Factors thread.
-ccquest’s workbook to calculate metrics for you: Link to Workbook.

Oct 2020 New Account Scorecard.Nov 2020, No New Account Scorecard (reassignment conflated with aging. EX9 not updated yet. Oldest/avg varies. Estimates above.)
Real world mortgage maxes are: EQ5-818, TU4-839, EX2-844.


RIP:
(Everything said is JMHO and is not endorsed by FICO or MF. I have no affiliation with either, just a grateful member.)
Message 9 of 113
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Re: Inquiry Master Thread - demystifying hard inquiries and their effect on your credit score

OK, I will be a inquiry lab rat, and report on what happens to me in an effort to help others understand impact of inquiries.  

 

Some background:

-Thick file (over 20 years)

-14 cards (8 are with Amex, Barclays, Chase, Citi; 3 are "store" cards); highest limits are over 40K; 1 AU account (9K)

-Total CL 275K

-0 derrogatives

-All FICO8 scores within 9 points of 800

 

Recent app with Discover (first time experience with them).  I will report on impact.

 

Payment history: 100%; no lates, records, or derogs. Utilization: always under 8.99%. Profile: 10+ cards. Mix: closed card, mortgage and car loan accounts. AoOA: > 20 years. Total credit line: >$300K. Scores: all FICO8s > 800. Goals: higher scores, CL, and knowledge
Message 10 of 113
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