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How Many Hard Credit Inquiries Are Too Many?

Last Updated: May 3, 2023
2 min read

Key points about: hard credit inquiries

  1. Any hard credit inquiry may alter your credit score and having multiple hard inquiries in a short time may increase this likelihood.

  2. Hard inquiries may influence your credit score because it means you have applied for credit, and lenders may consider multiple credit applications as an indication that you’re a risky borrower.

How hard credit inquiries may affect your credit score

Applying for a credit card, home loan, or auto loan typically results in a hard credit inquiry, which is when the lender requests a copy of your credit report to evaluate the risk associated with your credit profile. But, if you’re shopping around for the best credit card or car loan, can too many credit inquiries in a short time affect your credit? The short answer is yes, but it depends on things like how many inquiries a credit bureau receives for you in a short period of time, and the type of inquiry.

What is a hard inquiry vs. a soft inquiry?

Credit inquiries can have an effect on your credit score, but not all inquiries are the same, and it’s important to know the difference.

  • Soft Inquiry. Soft inquiries will not affect your credit score. A soft inquiry is a review of your credit report that isn’t associated with an application for credit.
  • Hard Inquiry.  A hard inquiry is a review of your credit report that is associated with an application for credit.This type of inquiry will affect your credit score.

Did you know?

According to FICO1, each hard credit inquiry can have a small impact on your FICO® Score, and many inquiries over a short time period can have a greater impact on your credit score than just one. The overall impact to a credit score depends on the person, but, in general, FICO states that one additional hard inquiry will take less than five points off a FICO® Score.

So, if you’re trying to open several credit accounts in a short period of time (like a credit card, mortgage, and a car loan), your FICO® Score will likely be affected because it represents a greater credit risk.

How long do hard inquiries last?

Credit inquiries remain on your credit report for two years, but your FICO® Credit Score only considers the last 12 months.

Not everyone will be affected by a high number of credit inquiries in the same way, so it’s important to keep track of how many times you’ve applied for credit in the past two years to potentially reduce the risk of your application being rejected.

Hard credit inquiries can affect your credit, but typically the impact to your score will be minimal for a single hard credit inquiry. But if you’re applying for many different types of credit or applying for credit too often, that can have a greater impact on your credit score. If you’d like to request your credit report for free to review your credit score and how many hard inquiries you have, go to


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