How to remove a serious request from your credit report

Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm / Getty Images

You cannot remove an inquiry from your credit report unless it is fraudulent.

Your credit score is linked to your financial health. This three-digit number becomes a big deal when you are applying for a mortgage, car loan, or credit card because it determines how risky it is to lend you money.

Getting a credit card is an important financial step in creating credit, and applying for it is relatively easy – just a few clicks and you’re good to go. But every credit card application triggers what’s called a “serious investigation,” which can hurt your score.

What is a serious credit investigation and how does it affect your credit score?

When you apply for a credit card, loan, mortgage, or any other type of financing, a credit check is almost always performed by the lender, usually a bank or credit card company. This triggers a thorough investigation of your credit history to see if you are qualified.

Serious inquiries have a relatively small impact on your credit score. They usually only reduce a few points of your score and only count for 10% of your FICO score.

Let’s say you are looking for a new credit card. It may be easier to apply for a bunch of credit cards at once and see which ones you qualify for. But is it smart?

Applying for multiple credit cards at once is not the best idea

If you apply for multiple credit cards, each credit card company will request access to your credit report, which means multiple inquiries. Your credit score may be more impacted than if you had just applied for one card.

“If a lender sees multiple inquiries made over a short period of time, it can set off a red flag that you are desperate for financing, which can make you come across as a riskier borrower, potentially resulting in a refusal,” said Ashley Dull, spokesperson for

Your best bet is to do your research before you apply and find the card that meets your needs. Then, if your credit is in good shape, you can go ahead with your credit card application.

Finding mortgage, auto or student loans is a little different. If you apply for multiple loans of the same type in a two week period, the credit bureaus consider it the right choice and will count all of those difficult applications as one application.

Having trouble getting a loan? Can Help You Improve Your Credit Score »

How to remove a serious request from your credit report

Serious inquiries stay on your credit report for two years, although their impact on your credit score lasts less, usually around a year. The drop in your score will likely be made up for once you make on-time payments for the loan or credit card you purchased.

Consumers can challenge a serious investigation of their credit report in the event of fraud. Dull recommends reviewing your credit report at least once a year for any suspicious activity. Seeing serious requests for which you are not responsible may indicate that someone has your identity and is trying to open a credit card in your name.

“Any information that is not accurate on your credit report can and should be removed,” Dull said. “Once an invalid claim is removed, you may notice a small improvement in your credit score. “

To dispute a serious claim, you must file an individual claim with each credit bureau – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – that shows incorrect information. You can file online, by phone or by mail. After filing, the office has 30 days to resolve your complaint.

Once an invalid claim is removed, you may notice a small improvement in your credit score. If there were multiple invalid claims on your reports, your credit score will increase even more.

If you notice a lot of fraudulent activity on your report, put a credit freeze on your account. It’s free and offers an additional level of security; you can do this with any credit bureau.

Once you verify all your information, you will get a special PIN code. Whenever a request for access to your credit report is made, the PIN code will be required, which means that no serious investigation can be placed on your report without your knowledge.

Need help cleaning up your credit? can help you »

Disclosure: This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you act on the basis of one of our recommendations, we receive a small share of the revenue from our business partners. It does not influence whether we present a financial product or service. We operate independently of our advertising sales team.

Previous Envestnet announces credit exchange and lenders
Next How to remove negative items from your credit report