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How many hard credit inquiries are too many?

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    When you apply for a credit card or a loan, your lender conducts a hard inquiry into your credit. Since hard inquiries affect your credit score and what is found may even affect approval, you might be wondering: How many inquiries is too many? The answer differs from lender to lender, but most consider six total inquiries on a report at one time to be too many to gain approval for an additional credit card or loan.

    In this article, we will review:

    • What a hard credit inquiry is
    • What the difference is between hard and soft inquiries
    • How long hard inquiries stay on credit reports
    • If credit card applications are considered hard or soft inquiries
    • How hard inquiries affect your chances of getting a credit card

    What is a hard credit inquiry?

    A hard inquiry (also known as a “hard pull”) is a request by a lender to see your full credit report in order to help determine eligibility for loans and credit cards. Hard pulls are a necessary and unavoidable part of extending credit in most circumstances.

    What is the difference between hard and soft credit inquiry?

    Just as there are hard inquiries, there are also soft inquiries. There are few key differences between the two.

    A hard inquiry affects your credit score, impacting it by a few points, while a soft inquiry does not. A hard inquiry is necessary for a lender to determine your APRs, credit limits and more, while a soft inquiry can be run for the purposes of pre-screens and as part of a background check.

    Soft inquiries are sometimes used to help determine your pre-approval status for certain credit cards as well, however this is not the same as being approved for a credit card or loan.

    How long do hard inquiries stay on my credit report?

    Hard inquiries remain on your credit report for about two years. However, this does not necessarily mean they will hurt your credit score for this long. Generally speaking, the effects of a hard pull on your credit score are not significant and the impact usually lessens over time.

    Are credit card applications considered hard or soft inquiries?

    A credit card application (as well as other applications, such as for auto loans and mortgages) requires a hard inquiry. Soft inquiries, however, can be used as part of a pre-approval process.

    How can hard inquiries affect my chances of getting a credit card?

    Having too many hard inquiries can hurt your credit score and potentially make it harder for you to get approved for a credit card. For example, if you apply for multiple credit cards within a short period of time, this may appear as a red flag for the issuer. They may be suspicious that you potentially may not make payments back on time towards your current credit cards or are looking to make purchases that you may not be able to pay off.

    If you collect about six hard inquiries within a two-year period on your credit report, you may have a difficult time getting approvals for future cards and other lines of credit. Hard pulls can affect your credit score and may also hurt your eligibility for new credit cards and/or loans — especially if the number of inquiries reaches six.

    If you’re curious about how your credit score is being impacted and want to find ways to improve it, be sure to enroll in Chase Credit Journey®, a free online tool that provides strategies if you want to improve your credit before applying for a loan and tips after a hard inquiry has affected your score.

    In summary

    Hard inquiries are a necessary part of the process of getting a new line of credit. While they can hurt your credit score at first, they won't typically have a lasting impact. Unless you collect several hard inquiries (especially in a short period of time), hard inquiries shouldn’t affect your ability to get your next credit card, loan or other credit account. Remaining aware of your financial habits, such as the frequency you get new lines of credit, can help you better prepare yourself for a healthy financial future.

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