Wait, an inquiry can hurt my credit?
The credit score, more specifically the FICO score is made up of five factors.
Let’s breakdown factor number four, credit inquiries. This factor makes up 10 percent of your score. An inquiry is when someone, usually a company, requests and views your credit report, and there are two types of inquiries, a hard and a soft inquiry.
A hard inquiry is what happens when you apply for a loan or credit card. When you submit an application, you've given the lender permission to review your credit report and score. These hard inquiries do appear on your credit report.
A soft inquiry, on the other hand, can occur when you check your own credit through a reputable source, please, or when a lender wants to send you a pre-qualified offer. Soft inquiries have no impact on your overall credit score. Overall, this factor looks at how many accounts you've applied for, how many you've opened, and how much time has passed in between. However, the credit score formula knows that you're likely to shop around for the best rate, whether it be for a mortgage or auto loan, so you won’t be penalized if you run a credit is run multiple times in a short period of time.
So, in order to maintain a healthy credit score, make sure you limit the number of credit inquiries you make, because they do take two years to fall off your credit report.