There are two different types of inquiries that may appear on your credit score. One is the soft inquiry, which is a look at your credit report for any other reason besides a purchase. This could be your own inquiry into your credit score, a potential employer’s inquiry, or for pre-approval purposes. A hard inquiry is a credit score check for the purposes of making a purchase. These hard inquiries will appear on your credit score, and a rejection can adversely affect your report.
All inquiries are recorded on your credit report, even the inquiries that you make for yourself. If you have several hard inquiries on your credit report, then potential lenders may believe that you are attempting to spend outside of your current means. This does not mean that you cannot shop around for a loan. Though all inquiries show up on the credit report, those that are similar and take place around the same time will end up grouped together as one hard inquiry.
Another benefit of having each inquiry reported is that you can receive early warning if someone attempts to apply for credit with your name. If you regularly receive credit reports, you can easily spot any unusual activity. This is why it is a good idea to subscribe to credit monitoring programs, though you can keep an eye on your score without outside help.
You need not worry that unauthorized individuals can receive your credit information. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, only legitimate business entities can access your credit reports. These inquiries will remain on your credit report for up to two years from the original placement. You can dispute any inaccuracies, but they will not be removed without hard proof that the report is incorrect.
It is very important that you keep a close eye on your credit report and scores. You will need good credit for many more things than you might imagine, and maintenance is the easiest way to ensure that you receive no surprises when you are preparing for large purchases. Keep the hard inquiries to a minimum, if at all possible, and remember that inquiries to certain credit reports will only appear on that particular credit report. For instance, if your car loan lender only checks the TransUnion credit report, then your inquiry will not appear on the other two reporting services.