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NS30U

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Please explain "hard inquiry"
I'm considering applying for another credit card because the bank that issued my current one is becoming difficult to deal with in general, not specifically with me. I read people here speak of "hard" inquiries or "soft" inquiries, and how to avoid them or remove them. I know creditors can inquire about my credit rating, but I don't know what the implications are to me. What does hard and soft mean, and why might I need to fear an inquiry? (my rating is 800)

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Hard & Soft Inquiries

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Hi NS30U

A soft inquiry is when someone, including yourself, simply looks at your credit report without actually applying for any type of credit. These have no effect on credit scores and will not show up under the "Inquiries" section of your credit report. 

A hard inquiry is when you apply for some type of credit (mortgage, car loan, credit card, etc.). A hard inquiry stays on your credit report for 2 years, however inquiries have a very low impact on your overall score, especially with an 800 FICO score. 

I would also caution that even though you are having a problem with a credit card company, you do not want to cancel the card as it can affect your credit history length, which has a much higher impact on your score. I would apply for a new card and then transfer the balance but keep that card open. Make sure to use the "problem card" at least once every two or three months and then pay it off. It then reports it is still active and will not be closed.

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Thanks - I intend to keep the old card active if I get a new one, but use it much less.

Last year I bought an iPad which came with a AT&T data plan, and that required a credit check.  Curiously, I received some odd emails from AT&T requiring me to access and decrypt a security messsage, and then supply a phone number and receive a call from them.  The caller asked several questions to verify my identity.  I asked the reason for this cloak & dagger process and they said it was because my credit report was locked and they could not obtain my credit report.  I am assuming that it was Credit Karma that did that, and I guess it's a good thing.  But also wondered how the AT&T checking would affect me.

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