Before we get started, there’s something important to know: You can’t remove legitimate inquiries from your account. They will naturally drop off your credit report after 2 years, but should stop affecting your score after 12 months; you cannot remove them unless you dispute the veracity of the inquiry.
With that being said, if you have multiple fraudulent hard inquiries on your credit report, which will affect your credit score, you can dispute the inquiries with the credit bureaus.
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Credit Report Mistakes
You may have mistakes on your report that you’re unaware of. In some cases, certain negative items may errantly show up on your history multiple times. An example of that would be issues appearing as unresolved, even though they have been taken care of. This could happen if you’re working with a few companies to resolve a debt, such as a bank and a debt collector.
Fraudulent Account Inquiries & Credit Applications
If you’re making payments on time, lowering your credit utilization, and you’ve cleared up any mistakes and your score is still looking pretty sad, there could be a possibility of fraud on your account.
If your personal information (like Social Security number) has been stolen, scammers may be opening new accounts in your name without your knowledge. These accounts are neglected, often over-utilized and never paid off, which has a terrible impact on your credit score. However, you will be able to see all open accounts on your detailed credit history report. If you’re checking for mistakes every year (which you should be) you most likely already saw some lines of credit that you don’t recognize.
Having multiple hard inquiries in a short time could drop your credit score. While lenders will generally be understanding if you are shopping around for the best rate on a loan, it’s better to not have too many inquiries in quick succession.
What Can I Do to Make Sure My Credit Score is Improving?
Improving your credit score and counteracting simple mistakes is quite straightforward. You’ll have to find a budgeting plan that works for you in order to make all of your loan payments on time and lower your overall credit utilization. This is the answer if you have been making the many hard inquiries for your own report. Luckily, you now know that this is an easily remediable situation. Now that we understand that concept, let’s move on to some other things that might be hurting your credit even worse than a few missed payments.
It’s not always as easy as “make your payments on time” and “lower your credit utilization.” Some of us are drowning in debt and just don’t see any possible way out. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. However, in order to expect improvements from your credit score, you’ll still have to do something about your total debt. That is where debt consolidation comes in. Check with your bank or the other lenders that you’re working with to see if debt consolidation is an option for you. This would mean combining all of your debt into one large loan. Some plans will offer you one large loan to pay off all of your debts, then you make payments on that single loan. In other cases, you may just be able to work all of your loans together and pay on that. Either way, This is often much easier to keep track of and may make your total monthly payment a bit lower, depending on the situation.
Professional Credit Repair Services
Another instance includes the mistakes and fraud we mentioned earlier. It’s possible that the multiple credit inquiries that are hurting your report are actually due to double reporting or fraudulent accounts being opened in your name. If you’re seeing many inquiries that you don’t recall making and/or accounts that you don’t recognize, it might be a good time to think about working with a credit repair agency. Credit repair professionals specialize in fixing these types of mistakes. They have years of experience finding evidence of mistakes and fraudulent behavior. They will coordinate with you, the bank, other lenders, and the credit scoring agencies to clear up the issues.
Credit repair can be a lengthy process, which is why credit repair agencies can be so helpful, especially in circumstances involving fraud. A credit history involving fraudulent checks to your credit and fake accounts being opened in your name can equate to a daunting credit history. It takes time to sort through all of the details and it may take a professional to know which accounts and credit inquiries are real.
How Often Should I Check My Credit Score?
You should always check your credit score and history at least once per year. The three credit bureaus allow one free credit check per bureau annually. You can use all three at once, or space them out, checking your score every four months.
Checking more than once a year is particularly pertinent to those who have any suspicion that fraudulent credit inquiries or credit applications could be on their credit history. Even if your personal information wasn’t hacked by scammers, you may have friends or family with access to your confidential details. If you have any inkling that someone other than yourself has opened an account in your name, or has inquired about your credit score, it’s always a good idea to check your report to confirm or deny.
If you happen to find fraudulent behavior on your history and are working with a credit repair agency to clear it up, the credit bureaus will work with you to get you an updated credit report. If an inconsistency is spotted and brought to the attention of the bureaus to resolve it, they will issue you a new, free credit report once the mistake has been full resolved.
When Should I Apply for a New Line of Credit?
When you’re trying to get approved for a new line of credit, the bank or lender will check your credit for you, there is no need for you to check it first. This will only result in too many credit inquiries on your account. You should already have a clear idea about what is on your history before you decide that your score is in a good enough spot to open a new line of credit.
Again, patience and determination are what you need in order to be approved for a new loan or line of credit. Stable financial habits, checking your report for mistakes, debt consolidation, and partnering with a credit repair agency to resolve fraud could all play a part in perfecting your credit score for good. There is no credit mistake that can’t be resolved, including too many credit inquiries on your credit report. Even the nastiest items on your history will drop off after seven to ten years. In the meantime, if you can get all of the above in order while you wait, you can get yourself setup for a credit score that you can be proud of. For tips and guides for improving your credit score, and how to read your credit report, visit our credit score resource and learning center.
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