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The process for removing enquiries from your credit file

Information verified correct on December 10th, 2016

Too many credit enquiries can negatively affect your ability to get loan approval. Here's what you need to know reduce these black marks and improve your credit score.

Whether you want a shiny new credit card, a car loan or a mortgage, your credit file plays a crucial role in the application process. Lenders use details of your credit history to help them determine your eligibility for loan products – including the number of enquiries that have been made on your file.

These credit enquiries stay on your credit file for five years, so if you have too many credit enquiries on your file in a short amount of time, it can negatively impact your credit score and your ability to get the card or loan you want. Here, we look at what credit enquiries are, your options for removing them or reducing them and what else you need to consider to optimise your credit file.

What is a credit enquiry?

There are two main types of credit enquiries: "soft" enquiries and "hard" enquiries. A soft enquiry is recorded any time you request a copy of your credit file, and doesn't really have an impact on your credit score.

A "hard" enquiry refers to any request for your credit file that's made by a third party, such as a lender. For instance, every time you apply for a line of credit, such as a card or personal loan, the lender you've applied to will submit a request for your credit file. This request is recorded on your credit history as a "hard credit enquiry". While a few of these enquiries is usually fine, too many hard enquiries on your credit file can suggest to lenders that you are not able to manage credit accounts responsibly, and may lead to a declined application.

How do I know if I have "too many credit enquiries"?

If you're concerned about the number of enquiries on your credit history, the first step is to get a copy of your credit file. You can request a free copy from each of the major credit reporting bodies (CRBs) once every year. When looking at these details, it's important to note that it's not so much about the total number of enquiries, as it is about the time between them. Less time between credit enquiries increases the chances that they will have a negative impact on your credit score.

For example, if you have applied for five credit cards in a period of three months and have five hard enquiries as a result, it is likely to be considered as a negative detail on your file. In contrast, having five hard credit enquiries listed over a period of five years, may have less of an impact.

Can I remove an enquiry from my credit file?

You can't remove a legitimate enquiry from your credit file. In most cases, you will simply have to wait until five years has passed and they are taken off your history.

In general, the only details that can be removed from your credit file are those that are incorrect or erroneous. For example, if a lender made an enquiry without proper authorisation from you, if your name was attached to an account you never opened, or if an account was incorrectly listed as "in default". In these cases, you can submit a request to have the incorrect details removed from your file.

How to remove incorrect details and enquiries from your credit file

  1. Review your credit file. Start by getting a copy of your credit file, and go through all the credit enquiries and other details on record. Count the total number of ladyCCbillsenquiries and reference against the enquiries you know you have made (ie. loan, utility and card applications). Flag any enquiries that are unfamiliar or which you can't recall approving.
  2. Follow up on unfamiliar enquiries. If you have identified an enquiry you don't remember approving, then now's the time to contact the lender associated with it. Find out what the enquiry was made for and why to establish whether you approved it or not. Note that sometimes you can give approval simply by ticking a box on a form. For example, if you consent to receiving credit limit increase offers on your credit card, and then accept an offer, it could lead to a new enquiry on your credit file.
  3. Submit a request for incorrect details to be removed. If you have followed up on unfamiliar enquiries and still feel that authorisation was not properly given, you can submit a request to the credit reporting body to have it removed. Make sure your request is to the CRB who provided you with your credit file, as details may vary between them. For example, if you got your credit file from Veda, you would submit a request to Veda to have incorrect listings removed.
  4. Wait for an outcome. The CRB will then review your request and the details, before providing you with an outcome. If you are unsuccessful, the listing will remain for the allocated time (eg. five years from when an enquiry was made), and if you are successful it will be removed.

Alternatively, you may want to seek help from a company that offers credit repair for a fee. These organisations may be able to help you find and remove incorrect listings from your credit file, but it's important to note that they won't be able to help remove any legitimate credit enquiries or details on your file.

What should I consider when trying to improve my credit file?

Improving your credit file takes time. But you can start optimising it by following the tips below:

  • Limit new applications. You can keep the number of credit enquiries on your file down by only applying for cards, loans or utilities when it's necessary. Applying for one account at a time, and waiting a few months between applications will also help keep your credit enquiries to a minimum.
  • Pay your accounts by the due date. Information about late payments can also have a negative impact on your credit file, so always aim to make repayments by the due date on your statements.
  • Settle outstanding debts. If there are debts you can afford to pay off now, doing so could help show lenders you are responsible with money.
  • Close old accounts. Go through your credit file and check to see whether there are any accounts that are still open that you don't currently use. For example, an old joint electricity account from a sharehouse. Closing these or removing your name from them will ensure that only current, relevant details are on your credit file.

What can I do if a provider declines my application?

Credit repair takes time, so if you have followed the steps and tips above and still receive an unsuccessful outcome on your next card or loan application, be patient. Aim to wait around six months before submitting another application, and carefully review your options and eligibility when you do. These steps can also improve your chances of getting approved.

In the meantime, you may also want to consider contacting the lender that declined your application to see if you can find out why. Most lenders won't provide a specific reason, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

Learn more about credit card repair

Removing incorrect details and enquiries from your credit file can have a positive effect on your creditworthiness, but it is not a solution for any legitimate details recorded on your file. Make sure you consider this fact before seeking the services of a credit repair company, and consider your other options for improving your credit file so that you can increase the chances of approval in the future.

Frequently asked questions

How long do credit enquiries stay on my credit file?

Credit enquiries stay on your credit file for five years. Mentions of defaults also stay on your file for five years.

I have a default showing on my credit file that I still haven’t repaid. How can I get it removed?

You cannot get a lender to remove a default listing until you pay the arrears. Once you pay what’s due, the same finds a mention on your credit file, but mention of the default stays on file for five years.

I contacted multiple credit repair companies and they told me they can’t help. What can I do?

If credit repair companies have declined to offer assistance in your case, you should start by trying to get your finances on track. If you have existing credit cards and/or loans, try to repay them in a timely manner or speak to the creditors and try to work on alternate payment plans. Try to save some money in a savings account every month or term deposit account to help build up your assets. These steps would have a positive bearing on your financial health in the future.

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Sally McMullen

Sally McMullen is a journalist at finder.com.au who is a credit cards, frequent flyer and travel money expert by day and music maven by night.

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40 Responses to The process for removing enquiries from your credit file

  1. Default Gravatar
    Tracey | November 7, 2016

    HI,

    Can I have enquiries’ removed if we did not proceed with a application

    • Staff
      Anndy | November 7, 2016

      Hi Tracey,

      Thanks for your question.

      When you apply for a particular credit product, an enquiry is recorded on your credit file. The enquiry is recorded on your file regardless of whether your application was approved or rejected. Unfortunately, you can’t remove a legitimate enquiry from your credit file. In most cases, you will simply have to wait until five years has passed and they are taken off from your history.

      Generally, you can only remove incorrect or erroneous details from your credit file.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    | September 21, 2016

    Is an enquiry on a credit report a bad thing?

    • Staff
      May | September 22, 2016

      Hi Nic,

      Thank you for your question.

      If you will have too many enquiries on your file, that would negatively affect your chances of approval for credit.

      An enquiry will appear on your credit file every time you submit an application for any form of credit such as credit card, home loan, personal loan, car loan, etc. These will all be mentioned in your file. So as soon as the creditor reviews your file, that will be recorded.

      Cheers,
      May

  3. Default Gravatar
    | September 21, 2016

    Hello,
    I have just opened my credit report and I have 1 credit card that’s paid off but still on there as well as another GE money card that I was approved for but cancelled as I didn’t require it. Is there any reason they would both still be on there?

    • Staff
      May | September 22, 2016

      Hi Nic,

      Thanks for your question.

      Information is kept on file for a number of years. For instance, credit applications, enquiries and overdue accounts are held on your file for 5 years. If you want to have a good understanding of your credit file, you may like to read this page for your guide.

      Cheers,
      May

  4. Default Gravatar
    mary | August 3, 2016

    Hi, I have just received a copy of my credit file and there aren’t any enquiries/defaults on my file it is perfectly clear but a debt company is accessing my file at least once a month under accesses I don’t understand why they are doing this as I don’t have any bad debts listed against me. Any ideas?

    • Staff
      May | August 4, 2016

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Usually, when you apply for a credit, the creditor/lender, will most likely review your credit file. You may want to double check if you have applied for a credit with that company some time ago. If you find that a creditor did not have proper authorisation from you to access your credit file when it did, you can look forward to the removal of the given enquiry. Our guide above on removing enquiries from your file can be of help.

      Cheers,
      May

  5. Default Gravatar
    Raji | March 25, 2016

    I have 10 enquirers in my credit file but recently I have 4 enquirers so I want to remove that so can you help me with that please

    • Staff
      Debbie | April 1, 2016

      Hi Raji,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you on removing enquiries from your credit file as you’ve come through finder.com.au, an online comparison service and we can only provide general information about credit cards features and other benefits.

      You may wish to speak directly to credit repair companies, they’ll be more happy to assist you and provide more alternate payment plans.

      Cheers,
      Debbie

  6. Default Gravatar
    michelle | February 8, 2016

    Is there a sample letter in which we can give to the creditors to dismiss our inquiries from our credit file?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | February 8, 2016

      Hi Michelle, thanks for your inquiry!

      Unfortunately we do not currently have a sample letter/ template to dismiss inquiries from a credit file.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  7. Default Gravatar
    Kanish | December 4, 2015

    Hi,
    I got approx. 10 credit inquiry. Back in FEB 2015. I applied credit cards which were declined. I didn’t keep a track on my credit score and I am Apart from credit inquires, rest everything is clear. Is that possible to fix those inquiries. Current score is below average.
    Thank you

    • Default Gravatar
      blackbird | January 29, 2016

      I have 4 enquiries that have been paid out,2 have been paid out more than 3yrs ago.
      Why are the enquiries still listed?
      Thanks in advance.

    • Staff
      Jonathan | February 1, 2016

      Hi Blackbird, thanks for your inquiry!

      If any enquiries are still listed on your credit file you can contact the respective financial institution whom the records are with to request them to be removed.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    • Staff
      Jonathan | December 7, 2015

      Hi Kanish, thanks for your inquiry!

      If you have any remaining credit inquiries which are incorrect you can remove them by using a credit repair service.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  8. Default Gravatar
    | November 20, 2015

    I have too many credit enquiries that cause my credit score go down.
    Does my credit score goes up monthly?
    If so, how much does it go up every month?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | November 22, 2015

      Hi Bostan, thanks for your inquiry!

      Credit scores improve with positive financial signals such as paying your bills on time, rather than increasing with time. To find out more about the factors that contribute to your credit score total please refer to this guide.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  9. Default Gravatar
    bostan | November 10, 2015

    I have too many credit enquiries in my file that caused my credit score too low.
    How long should I wait for my score to go up?

    • Staff
      Ysa | November 11, 2015

      Hi Bostan Rahimi,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Credit card bankruptcy, defaults and enquiries are kept on your credit file for two years from the annulment date or five years starting from the day when the default began – whichever is later. If you have applied for several enquiries for a short span of time, it may have a negative effect on your credit.

      You may wish to check this page for a guide on how you can repair your credit rating.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Ysa

  10. Default Gravatar
    cory | July 27, 2015

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if i can remove credit enquiries instead of using a credit repair company?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | July 28, 2015

      Hi Cory, thanks for your inquiry!

      Credit enquiries can be removed if there is supporting evidence of the claim for the record to be removed. Credit enquiries/ applications will remain on an individual’s credit file for up to 5 years.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    • Default Gravatar
      cory | July 29, 2015

      So what has happened was, Telstra had put a default on my credit file 3 years ago. I had not noticed that I was being rejected a lot for credit, so I purchased my credit report last year in December. My report had the default and many credit enquiries, I contacted Telstra and they have since removed the default but the credit enquiries are still there. What i’m curious about is that i was being rejected due to a default that was put there incorrectly and the numerous credit inquiries have impacted my score greatly. How can i get them removed? Should i seek legal advise? If so who is the best to ask?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | July 30, 2015

      Hi Cory, thanks for your inquiry!

      In the event that credit records have been incorrectly placed on your credit file it can be ideal to consult with a credit repair service, who specialise in cleaning up incorrect listings on credit files. Please see this page for more details on this process.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

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