You came for a video game, realized you hadn’t planned dinner, so you shuffled over to the frozen foods section for a pizza. At the cash register you were asked, “Would you like to save 10% on today’s shopping by opening a SuperStore credit card?” You say to yourself, “Hey, what the heck? On $25, that will be $2.50 in my pocket.” Congratulations. You just nicked your credit score for a meager $2.50.
“Hard” credit inquiries, the kind that come whenever you apply for credit, negatively impact credit scores, not as much as delinquencies, but if you have a limited credit history, the impact may be disproportionate. How do you get rid of credit inquiries? You exercise more control than you might imagine.
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Stop Asking for Trouble
Every time you fill out a credit card application, ask for a car loan, home equity loan or mortgage, you trigger a credit inquiry. Tempting as their incentives are, weigh your chances of winning a contest or the savings of a one-time discount against the lasting damage to your credit score.
“Opt Out” of Credit Card Offers
If you’re throwing out a lot of pre-approved credit card offers, someone’s looking at your credit history and you need to stop them. But how do you
get rid of those credit inquiries? Actually, it is simple. The three major credit agencies have an “opt out” program through which you can request that such offers stop for five years. Additionally, the agencies will limit the information provided to “cold calling” type inquiries. You’ll eliminate junk mail, and have fewer hits on your credit report.
Put Your Bills on Auto-Pilot
The best protection for your overall credit score is paying bills on time. Arrange auto-deduct plans for utility, mortgage, and other regular bills. This will not per se stop credit inquiries, but paying bills is a hassle. If you occasionally neglect a bill, it gets lost in the mail or is applied incorrectly, that delinquent payment may prompt a credit inquiry. Save a few stamps, your bills will be paid on time, and you’ll rid yourself of these potential credit inquiries.
Fix Prior Damage
Chances are, someone has asked about your credit without your permission. Armed with a copy of your credit report, you can contact the credit agencies and ask that those inquiries be removed. But if you applied for credit, you almost certainly gave them permission to look.
Eventually, almost everyone needs credit. Too many inquiries will give the appearance of constantly being “hungry for credit,” and your rating will suffer.