Free report on erasing credit inquiries


Erasing Credit Inquiries

Every time you apply for credit, and the credit grantor checks your credit report, a credit inquiry is placed on your file. Even if you receive a credit offer in the mail and you respond, your credit will almost certainly be checked and a credit inquiry will be added to your credit report. Credit inquiries are bad because too many of them can indicate to a creditor that you're "credit hungry" and may be in financial trouble.

Worse yet, the creditor has reason to believe that you received many of the credit lines that are showing as inquiries, and that many of those credit lines have not yet appeared on your credit report. Too many recent inquiries indicate to a potential credit grantor that your debt to income ratio may be much higher than you say. Most creditors disregard inquiries once they have been on your credit report for six months or more. This may not help your situation if you need credit right away or if applying to a creditor who looks at all of your inquiries. All credit inquiries should come off your credit report after two years.

If you're not willing to wait, you may take these steps:

Step One. First, you must find out which credit inquiries are getting in your way. Order all three of your credit reports following the instructions in the Order Your Credit Reports file on this web site. When your reports arrive, look toward the end of your credit report to find the inquiries. Some of the inquiries are only promotional and will not be shown to prospective credit grantors. You need not worry about those. Identify only the inquiries that are shown to credit grantors. You should recognize some of these as places where you applied for credit, but others may be a complete mystery to you.

Step Two. You must then find the addresses for each credit inquirer. Your TRW credit report will list addresses for each of the inquirers. Your Trans Union and Equifax reports will show no addresses for credit inquirers. Match your TRW with your Trans Union and Equifax reports; you should be able to use the same addresses on the inquirers that are listed on TRW and on one of the other credit reports. If some of the addresses don't show up on TRW but do show up on either Trans Union or Equifax, you will have to call the corresponding credit bureau to find the address. It is almost impossible to get a live body on the telephone at Trans Union, but Equifax has an 800 number listed at the top of their reports. If you have a inquirer on your Trans Union and you can't reach Trans Union by phone, then you might try calling the 800 directory (1-800-555-1212) and request the 800 number for the inquiring creditor. Once you have collected all of the addresses for each inquiring creditor on each credit report, you are ready for step two.

Step Three. Now you must prepare letters to each inquiring creditor asking them to remove their inquiry. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows only authorized inquiries to appear on the consumer credit report. You must challenge whether the inquiring creditor had proper authorization before pulling your credit file. You may write the inquiring creditors a letter such as this:
Re: Unauthorized Credit Inquiry
Dear American Express,
Recently, I received a copy of my TRW credit report.
The credit report showed a credit inquiry by your company that I do not recall authorizing. I understand that you shouldn't be allowed to put an inquiry on my file unless I have authorized it.
Please have this inquiry removed from my credit file because it is making it very difficult for me to acquire credit. I have sent this letter certified mail because I need your prompt response to this issue.
Please be so kind as to forward me documentation that you have had the inquiry removed. If you find that I am remiss, and you did have my authorization to inquire into my credit report, then please send me proof likewise.
Thanking you in advance,
Jane Caveat-Debtor

Step Four. Some of your creditors may provide documentation that a credit inquiry was authorized by you. Read the authorization that you signed very carefully. If there is any ambiguity, you can write back and argue that the inquirer's authorization form was too complicated and not easily understood by the layman. You can threaten to contact the state banking commission and complain about a deceptive and unclear authorization form if they don't remove your inquiry. Some creditors will try to ignore your challenge. Be sure to send each letter Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and keep close track of the time that you sent the letter. If the inquiring creditor doesn't respond within about thirty days, you will have ample grounds to call the inquiring creditor and demand some action.

At that point, it's almost irrelevant whether or not you authorized the inquiry. Then it becomes about the creditor's lack of response to a consumer dispute. Be sure to hold your ground and demand that the inquiry be immediately removed or you will complain to the state banking commission or similar authorities. Many of your inquiring creditors may simply agree to delete the inquiry as a courtesy or because they cannot or will not verify your authorization. That is the goal. Remember, it is not likely that you will need all of your credit inquiries removed - just enough to keep you from being denied credit.

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