How to Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report

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[Disclaimer:  I am NOT a financial planner, nor am I a lawyer.  Nothing in this post should be considered as a recommendation, suggestion, or advice for YOUR specific situation.  You should NOT use information in this post to make or not make decisions relating to your credit.  Consult your lawyer, accountant, or financial planner before making decisions which impact your credit.]

Remove Credit Inquiry

If you are new to miles and points or don’t apply for many credit card, you can skip this post.

Many folks apply for credit cards to earn miles and points.  However, each time you apply for a credit card, the banks look at your credit report (sometimes from more than 1 credit bureau).  This is called a “hard inquiry” and stays on your credit report for 2 years.  There are 3 main credit bureaus in the US – Equifax, TransUnion & Experian.

According to MyFico, in addition to impacting your credit score, lots of hard inquiries also suggest that you are a riskier borrower to banks.  So the banks software may automatically decline you for new cards if they see a lot of inquiries on your credit report.  But, as this post explains,  you can usually call the reconsideration line and explain how responsibly you manage credit and get approved for new cards.

How To Remove Credit Inquiry

I read about a way called “bumpage” (or “*B” for the paranoid folks who post information on the internet, but then try to hide it with cute codewords!) to remove credit inquiries from your Equifax and TransUnion (but not Experian) credit bureau over a year ago while googling around.

There is a thread on FlyerTalk about this as well as on credit forums, so it is hardly a “secret,” but I suspect that some will be upset by this post.

However, the method involved a bit of work and I had hundreds of other posts on my “to-do list”, so I didn’t research it myself.

However, Kendra, a Million Mile Secrets reader, who I met at the Frequent Flyer University performed her own experiments and managed to remove hard credit inquiries from her credit report in just a few months.

Kendra has written the first of a 3-part series on removing credit inquiries on her blog, Points & Pixie Dust, so head on over to her blog to see her experience in removing credit inquiries from her credit reports!

Risks

Please do your OWN research and diligence before using “bumpage.”  One big risk is that too many “bumps” or soft inquiries could result in a split credit file which means that you have 2 files (instead of 1) with a credit bureau.  And it will take some time to contact the credit bureaus to get it fixed.

Another possible risk is that a bank, credit bureau, or overzealous prosecutor could consider bumpage as fraud and pursue legal action against folks.  I’m not a lawyer, so nothing I write is legal advice, but I try to share all possible outcomes (however remote).

Bottom Line

I haven’t tried bumpage as yet (and don’t know if I will), but it could be helpful to some (be sure to study the risks and do your own diligence before).  I’m also not sure if having fewer inquiries will really help get approved for more cards, because the new credit lines will still appear on your credit report despite there being fewer inquiries.

Thanks to Kendra for sharing and writing a series of posts on it!

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49 responses to “How to Remove Inquiries From Your Credit Report

  1. Amol (@PointsToPointB)

    I’ve started looking into B*, but too bad most of my CC inquiries are on Experian. :/

  2. Another possible risk is that one of the bureaus bans you from pulling your report from them. I know that TransUnion has done this to people in the past.

  3. @ Amol – it doesn’t work with Experian? Most of my inquiries as wish Experian as well.

  4. How about just being an honest person and accepting the rules? There are plenty of good opportunities that are perfectly ethical. There’s a lot of good stuff in this blog, but some people in the hobby really go to extremes and in the long run probably harm everyone. MMS, go back to the great posts, and leave this stuff behind.

  5. No, this does not work with Experian. Also, if you’re adding bumpage to your vocabulary, you need to know the downsides and risks, so look up choppage and splittage.

    Also, it’s funny how every single post I read on B* uses the bookcase example — no new analogies? 😀

  6. @BobChi
    “How about just being an honest person and accepting the rules?”

    When the finance industry decides to take an ethical stance on honesty I may take your advice under consideration.

    Until then, one is playing within the “rules” as these are the rules as it stands today.
    Please don’t suggest to others to be “above honest” to better benefit those in the finance world.

    A while back, one could add someone as an authorized user on their credit card to help improve the added person’s credit score…those were “the rules” at the time.
    Many took advantage of “the rules” in their favor and decided to “sell” access to their perfect credit history to those who needed a lift in their credit history. This was “within the rules” and people took advantage of the “value of their credit history” and sold access to their perfect credit history to others (without giving the other person the credit card).
    When the finance industry realized that people were using the “rules” to benefit financially from their own perfect credit history, the finance industry changed the “rules” to take this value away from the consumer and not allow an “authorized user” to benefit from being attached to someone with perfect credit history.

    So, as long as these are the “rules” today…why not play within the “rules” to benefit onself? No one is doing anything illegal or fraudulently IMO…they are playing within the “rules” set up by the Credit Reporting Agencies.

    Now, personally, I’d never do any of this because I ain’t paying the BS high-fees being charged for “credit monitoring”, nor would I recommend anyone else do so – but to each their own.

    But please, those in the finance industry are not the most highly ethical individuals they espouse to be.
    The finance industry, IMO, is in the same ball park of used-car salesman as far as ethics goes – they just wear better suits!

    😉

  7. @BillyBob, your points are indeed well taken but this blog isn’t about improving credit history for people with bad credit; it’s about miles and points. I am not making any case on behalf of ethics in the financial industry, but I see that as a red herring. The fact is that these entities provide avenues through which many miles and points can be obtained. I’m taking four international reward trips this year as a result.

    In exchange for availing ourselves of the opportunities, we do take a small, temporary hit to our credit score, so that needs to be taken into account, but we should accept that. I think manipulating one’s credit score is unethical, risky, and ultimately counter-productive to ourselves and others in the hobby as institutions react to it with new policies and restrictions. One person’s point of view, and an appeal to MMS to do the things he does so well rather than getting into stuff like this.

  8. I do not think the fact that most of the big banks pull Experian and the fact that EQ and TU can still be bumped is entirely coincidental! EX is a more trusted credit score.

  9. OY VEY! This is all very complicated. Daraius, Robin thinks you’re cute.

  10. I stumbled across this a few months ago too and have done a little research. Ultimately I don’t think it is for me, but thanks for bringing it to the table.

  11. MilesAbound, EX is more trusted by whom? Certainly not my creditors, the vast majority of whom pull TU in my region. The only entity that ever pulls EX for me is AmEx. Citi, Bank of America, Barclays and US Bank all pulled TU for me. Credit unions pull EQ. In fact, EX is the only 1 of the 3 bureaus who refuse to make your own credit score available to you, which makes them less trustworthy to me.

  12. Good idea but too costly and time consuming for something that may have little to no real benefit. I’ve only once been denied because of inquiries and that was by Barclays so it was expected anyway.

    Good to read the idea though thanks.

  13. This hardly seems to be worth the trouble. At least for me, and I bet most of us that churn a lot of cards, I would still have to call the reconsideration line because I have maxed out on the amount of credit the big 3 will lend to me. So I almost always have to call and move credit around.

  14. I’m confused. I’m new to this miles & points community. I learned from MMS that applying many credit cards won’t hurt my credit scores, as long as I stay within the rules (91-day gap, max. 1 personal/business credit card with each bank, etc.)

    If that’s the case, why are we discussing about how to remove credit inquiries?

    I’d appreciate your inputs!

  15. All information brought to the table is not like aspirin/tylenol – good for just about everyone. So use it if you like, else move on. Passing a moral judgement on any miles/points related issue is the last thing I would be doing, knowing that in most cases my aim is to maximize my earn. There are the ‘code runners’ who communicate in codes and squeeze every opportunity to the fullest, there are average folks who use all the uncomplicated ways and feel morally upright, and the last ones are the born again puritans who feel compelled to wag fingers at others.

  16. @Rose – Because MMS is like the “Miles for Dummies” version of how this game is played. If you’re following the advice you state, you will never need B* and you can just continue on your merry way. Some people have more than a single card per bank, and when you are applying for multiple cards every 3 months, a method like this would be of use.

  17. @ Rose “I learned from MMS that applying many credit cards won’t hurt my credit scores, as long as I stay within the rules (91-day gap, max. 1 personal/business credit card with each bank, etc.)”

    That’s true, in fact over time, as you get more and more credit established, getting more credit cards will improve your credit score. One of the things creditors look at is how much of your credit you are using. As you get more and more credit, the amount you are using becomes less and less as a percentage. Voila, a better credit rating.

    As for 1 card per bank, I don’t think that applies. 3 months ago I got 2 Citi AA cards the same day. {which sadly Citi no longer allows 🙁 You can still get two Citi cards the same day, but they can’t be the same type of card ie AA, or Hilton.}

    Last week I did another churn and got 2 B of A cards the same day, along with 3 other cards. Credit Sesame shows the two B of A cards just issued, and still rates me at 815. The big question is do you pay off the full amount you charged every month before it’s due?

    Get as many cards as you can, use at least one of them from each bank regularly, pay them off as soon as you can, and watch your credit rating soar !

  18. Here’s to hoping the CRAs fix the cute B* thing and sue this propaganda machine out of his a**

  19. @Steve 23 – Thank you!

    @Robert Hanson – Thank you!

  20. i cna honestly tell you how these banks careless about our credit reports.

    The other day, I wanted to close one of my BOA personal card but wanted to check to see if I can transfer the credit limit to my other BOA personal card without hard inquiry. The credit rep assured me that it doesn’t require a pull and he won’t pull my credit for this becos it is not a request for new increase and it is just a transfer of CL between accounts. An hour later, I received an alert on my credit report and I see an inquiry from BOA on my . Boa pulled my transunion report. I called and complained about this and the misinformations and lies, I told them if they don’t believe what I asked and the previous rep said, play the recording. They careless and told me we can pull credit any time for any reason once you have our card.

  21. @jim – that is correct, I heard that from another bank as well. They can pull your credit whenever and it doesn’t have to be soft either.

  22. this is good info, and what people choose to do with it is on that person and how they balance time and other costs with prospective advantages. what comports with a reader’s ethics/values depends on that specific reader, like any moral issue, and that’s why he leaves it up to us to make a decision. i appreciate that MMS provides relevant caution along with useful info to help us decide.

    …ok, off the soapbox

  23. BUT THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO LIE TO CUSTOMERS.

  24. Darius,

    You need to be careful, because you are now giving people financial advice. There are a lot more risks than you know about. The credit bureaus can reinsert those inquiries into your credit report, and then you spent time and money for nothing. Also this is not easy to do on equifax. You have a 28 day bump window. If you do not pull at least 3 a day, the whole thing will be for nothing. Also, with all your advice, even though you have a disclaimer at the top “Disclaimer: I am NOT a financial planner, nor am I a lawyer. Nothing in this post should be considered as a recommendation, suggestion, or advice for YOUR specific situation. You should NOT use information in this post to make or not make decisions relating to your credit. Consult your lawyer, accountant, or financial planner before making decisions which impact your credit.]”

    All it will take is one person to take your advice, and it to backfire and they can sue you. Also, a lawyer will look at all your posts about churning, etc. Even if you say you are not a financial planner, you have so many posts on the subject, that people could very well make the argument that you are an authoritative source on the topic. Your disclaimer would not do you any good. Not only that, but all the evidence they need is right here on your blog, where people are asking for your advice on finances in comments, and you responding. Again tread lightly into this arena.

    Ultimately most people here will not take your advice, as once they realize it will require them to pull their credit file daily, and if they miss one day on equifax they will not see any results, then they will not do it. Also, it doesn’t work on Experian, and Transunion is notorious for giving you an enhanced file. Again tread carefully you can mess up a lot of peoples credit reports with this. I for one will be pulling out the popcorn waiting to see who the first persons credit report that gets messed up is.

  25. My wife and are totally new to credit cards for airline miles. We both have excellent credit and carry debt only for our mortgage. We do not have a lot of savings. We are planning to move in about 2.5 years and will be applying for a big mortgage at that time. I would like to try and get about 6-8 free round trip domestic flights with basically zero risk to either my wife or my own credit score. We really value making sure we get the lowest possible interest rate on our home. I have read about American double browser trick and that seems good for about 80k miles right now. I also saw united’s 60k offer and just signed up for their frequent flyer program to see if I can get that offer. It seems like domestic economy flights run about 25k miles round trip. Does applying for those three cards seem like a risk to our credit? Do you think we could also apply for the chase sapphire preferred or would it be better go with an air tran card or a southwest card? Are there any other better offers out there? Thanks for any help.

  26. @Brad, 3 cards is nothing. No risk at all (if you pay all the bills in time, and the usual disclaimers). After a couple of months your credit will be the same or better.

    I’m a low paid graduate student, apply for 5 to 10 cards a year, and have a credit score that is usually above 750, and it hasn’t dropped below 700 for almost 2 years now. In fact it rarely dropped below 750, the only time it went downhill was one time that I had 4 applications in 2 months and had a very high utilization ratio in one card (which I don’t care since I always pay my bills in time, so it all goes to zero in a few weeks), which made my credit score drop 40+ points; next month I paid the balance and it was back to 750.
    When I started this game (and was earning more money than I do today!) – at the time only had an Chase Amazon.com CC – my score was always around 720.

  27. I got banned from all Transunion sites after a run of bumpage about 8 years ago. Still banned. Can’t dispute online. Can’t get credit reports online. Nothing that deals with Truecredit or Transunion online.

  28. What then ends up on your credit report? Does it show that you were the one who made all the inquiries?

  29. @Susan, if you pull your own credit (soft pull) it shows up on your report. Each puller has a different code, and your soft pulls will show up as coded from those pullers. Hope that helps!

  30. @ Susan @ Pixie Points
    Soft pulls from pulling your own report are visible to you when you pull your report but they are not visible to others such as potential creditors that pull your report. The hard pulls from creditors (visible to all) and the soft pulls (only visible to you) from your pulls, promotional, and account review pulls are in separate sections on your credit report and these sections are usually labeled as to whether they are viewable by others or not.

  31. Also, before spending money on bumping you should go to creditboards.com and read the threads about B* and bumpage. Besides the initial expense, there are other potential downsides that have happened in the past such as TU reinserting the inquiries after you get done bumping. This has been reported in the B* threads on creditboards. That’s a big “Doh!” and can be frustrating after going through the time and money of bumping. On Equifax they usually stay gone but there the tricky thing is the 28 day window. It can be done but you want to be fully informed before you commit the money and time so you don’t end up wasting either.

  32. @Jack, I agree. Credit Boards has tons of info about this topic. The last post in my series covers TU and how they put inquiries back onto your account. I go into detail about all the info I learned so hopefully it will answer a few more questions.

  33. I work in sales for Equifax and can tell you where you live has more to what bureau is pulled. If you are in the Northeast you are in Trans Union’s back yard, in the southeast, Equifax. California is dominated by Experian. Exceptions are everywhere as I work with community banks all over the country. All of the big players report to all three, but when smaller banks, credit unions, finance companies, collection agencies, etc. don’t always contribute data to all.

    Keep in mind that the “credit score” you see on a subscription service offered by EFX, XPN, or TU is almost always NOT the same score being used to approve (or decline) your card, loan, or mortgage. Almost all banks use a FICO (Fair Issac) modeled score, where the direct to consumer services use a score modeled by the bureau or some other source… I have seen swings of 50 points in either direction, so keep this in mind, especially if your credit falls somewhere between rock solid and just rotten. Why you ask? The bureaus pay a royalty to FICO every time one of their scores is generated, so the bureaus use our own model to reduce costs… especially int he direct to consumer business.

  34. @Billybob I’d say if it’s legal and there is a way to get them off your credit that is follow the rules.

  35. I can say that I have done the *B before, but only on TU. I managed to get 6 hard inquries off, once this was done then I stoped. I did get a raise is score, but I don’t think it was worth it.

    Now I am more focused on getting credit line increases on my 12 credit cards that I have, and only go for those CLI’s when they are going to be soft pull.

    I am just about to do my first churn in about two weeks. My scores will all be over 800. Wish me luck.

  36. Just another example of a blogger using free information and trying to monetize it for their own gain. You wonder why people are going underground and why there are no”deals” to post on?

  37. Sounds like way too much trouble to me. But thanks for the info nonetheless.

  38. “giving advices” – that a problem? I am telling you what I do or heard, shouldn’t you research/investigate it yourself?
    Why do we expect to rely completely on the info we received? That line of thinking from your educations system?

    I was at a health food store and asked a clerk that was restocking nuts I heard the nuts are good for your heart, and she replied she could not give advices like that.

    This is a broken system that sets up liability to be held against each other. Darius could be giving me all kinds of financial advices on his blog if he likes, I did not pay him for that, I’ll still do my own research.

  39. @ Ethics … where people are asking for your advice on finances in comments, and you responding. Again tread lightly into this arena.”

    I started this hobby reading blogs from people like Darius who are kind enough to share information. I don’t consider it “financial advice” and neither should anyone else. There hundreds of suggestions on many blogs…some have worked well for me, others I don’t care to try – but that’s based on my own principles..ultimately it’s up to me…right?

    Only a fool would blame someone else if he/she tries to build a tower based on “free advice” if it doesn’t work out(unless they are LOOKING for someone to sue) How about suing those you pay to give you advice? IMO, the system would be quite rotten if it allows someone to get sued over this…but then again, the system is rotten!! (OOPS, will I get sued for saying that?)

    @ Darius, please beware. I noticed some bloggers just post but don’t actually respond to questions from readers so they cant’ be accused of giving “financial advice”. You’ve been wonderful to us newbies so we’d hate to see them come after you for doing your thing. PEACE.

  40. I just got done writing letters to amex, citi, and barclays to remove all the inquiries.

    On top of that had some other things removed too from all 3 reports.

    Once that is all complete, will run my scores again to see how much they increase!

    THIS TAKES TIME, MANY PHONE CALLS, and LETTERS but all worth it in the end.

    It’s just paperwork.

    z.

  41. Hi! I really like this blog. Please tell me – from where do you have information for ths blog?

  42. I would like alot of inquiries removed off my credit report but dnt know how. Could i please b helped

  43. i have several hard inquiries i know to remove them it is very difficult, there’s some people out there they know how to remove them i need some helped someone please help me.

    sincerely

    vincent Reyes

  44. we just moved into a new house 2 new cars 1 new boat. I have 25 pulls on my credit I need them off !!!

  45. I suspect something goes on behind the scenes when simply making a hotel reservation. There was an event in late December 2013 in Sacramento at the Hilton Hotel. I just wanted to make a reservation for the one night. But talking reservation takers instantly turn into Hilton Rewards salesmen. The deal they offered sounded great but i told them that my travel would need to be for 2015, that I could not use the plan in 2014. The person said it would not be a problem but after a lengthy conversation, he said he needed to ask his supervisor for approval. The supervisor eventually comes on the line and informs me the plan would NOT allow me to use the benefit in 2015, it had to be in 2014, so I declined the offer. However…..what I did not know was that during the question and answer period for which they knew nothing except who I was and where i live AND my Visa card number, nobody EVER mentioned anything about running a credit report on me. But on that very same day I incurred a $1 charge to my credit card. And several days later another charge for $29.99, both being charged to Experian!!! I considered this fraud at first, and contacted my issuing credit union right away, I had to sign an affidavit swearing I never asked for any services from Experian. However, now that I got curious about how this could have happened, it dawned on me that HILTON and Experian are related companies. This is indeed fraud in my book, and I might seek an attorney. I have since had to close my credit card and re-establish automatic bill payers. How dare they do this? Any opinions out there?

  46. Bumping inquiries is still alive and well on transunion. ..there is only one method known to still work

  47. Please give a number to speak to someone please to remove my inquiries