Concerned man looking at laptop

Credit corner: what’s an inquiry?

Share This Page

Inquiring minds want to know: what’s a credit inquiry?

If you’ve looked through your credit report lately, you may have noticed a section that lists “inquiries.” Here’s what they are, what they mean, and why they’re important.

Credit inquiries, defined.

Simply put, a credit inquiry is a credit check. Inquiries happen when there is a legally permitted request to see your credit report from a company or person.

All inquiries aren’t created equal.

There are 2 different types: hard and soft.

Hard inquiries are ones made with your permission for specific transactions. When you apply for credit—be it a credit card, mortgage or car loan—the potential lender will generally pull your credit before deciding whether to approve your loan application and what the terms might be.

Soft inquiries won’t show up on reports requested to evaluate your credit-worthiness. Every time you check your credit report, a soft inquiry is generated. Among other reasons, soft inquiries happen when creditors check your credit to determine any pre-approved offers.

Why inquiries matter.

Lenders requesting your credit report will only see hard inquiries on it (note you can see soft inquiries listed on your free annual credit reports available at annualcreditreport.com).

Credit scoring models typically factor in the number of hard inquiries you have when they’re calculating your credit score. Generally, too many inquiries made within a short timeframe is concerning to lenders when it comes to your credit-worthiness. Rest assured, though, that hard inquiries are removed from credit reports 2 years after the date they’re made.

Take the next step toward financial health
See yours now

Advertiser Disclosure: TransUnion Interactive may have a financial relationship with one or more of the institutions whose advertisements are being displayed on this site. In the event you enter into a product or service relationship with any such institution through the links provided on the site, TransUnion Interactive may be compensated by such institution. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. TransUnion Interactive does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers.


Disclaimer: The information posted to this blog was accurate at the time it was initially published. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. The information contained in the TransUnion blog is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. You should consult your own attorney or financial adviser regarding your particular situation. For complete details of any product mentioned, visit transunion.com. This site is governed by the TransUnion Interactive privacy policy located here.