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Interest Rate Shopping and Its Effect on Your Credit Score

Written by Robin Holland on August 23, 2010 in Credit  |   2 comments

The Thirty-Day Grace Period and Other Credit Inquiry Facts and Myths By Robin Holland Credit myths are common in the credit-reporting industry, and we often see them when consumers call us with questions: Why did the credit-reporting agency deny my credit application? Why did the…

Credit score affected by interest rate shopping
The Thirty-Day Grace Period and Other Credit Inquiry Facts and Myths
By Robin Holland

Credit myths are common in the credit-reporting industry, and we often see them when consumers call us with questions:

Why did the credit-reporting agency deny my credit application?
Why did the credit-reporting agency change my score?
Why did the credit-reporting agency put false information on my credit report?

And then there are questions about supposed myths of the credit-reporting process. I recently received this comment, from Marcy, on a previous blog post:

I’ve been in the process of a refi. I have worked with 3 companies in the same 30 day period (I always get 3 quotes for any job). I always heard that if you have multiple inquires within a 30 [day] period for the same thing (refi) that the inquires would NOT affect your score. The last credit score I received a copy of, my score (Equifax) had dropped 10 pts, with Experian it went from 818 to 792-the reason “too many inquires…” Is the 30 day period a MYTH?

The 30-day grace period is not a credit myth. It’s probably a smart idea to compare rates and check out loan offers from several lenders before making a purchase of a car or a house.

Under normal circumstances, if you apply for a mortgage or an auto loan, any inquiries related to that application made within 30 days count as ONE inquiry. Even if you visit twenty lenders and all of them pull a copy of your credit report, those twenty inquiries should count as only one inquiry.

I don’t know what other activity Marcy has on her credit file, but some inquiries will affect your credit report differently:

Personal Credit Inquiry: If you pull your own credit report, it will not affect your score. You can check your credit report every single day, and it will not make a difference in your credit report or credit score.

Soft Inquiry: When someone other than you accesses your credit report, but you did not initiate the transaction, the inquiry doesn’t count against your score. One example is a promotional inquiry, in which a creditor or lender looks at your credit report in order to give you a new credit offer or a different rate. This promotional inquiry should show up on your credit report as a promotional offer, which makes it clear that you did not initiate the request. Soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score during a hard inquiry, which is when you give permission to a credit grantor to pull a copy of your credit report (see below). If you want to prevent creditors from accessing your credit report, you can opt out of these promotional offers.

Hard Inquiry: Any request for a copy of your credit file is an inquiry, but a hard inquiry is the only one that can affect your credit score. A hard inquiry is one in which a bank, a landlord, an a mortgage broker, or another creditor or lender accesses your credit file because of a transaction you have initiated.

Read More:

How To Dispute Credit Report Errors
Four Things College Kids Need To Know About Credit
Four Myths About Your Credit History
Debt Reduction: Why Paying Down Your Credit Card Debt Helps Your Credit Score

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Sheena, Ohio says:

    I recently went car shopping, and I had a score of 670, within 30 days I had 2 inquiries on my report, after checking my credit scores again all three ranked below 560, carefully reviewing my credit reports, I just cant see how my scores dropped so low, after shopping for a car, and applying for one credit card.

  2. Mittens says:

    I recently purchased an SUV from a reputable local GM dealership. From this one purchase I have 18 inquiries on my equifax credit report. All 18 report as being made within the same 2 day period. When I disputed, 17 of the 18 inquiries, online with Equifax, I was only given the option to choose 1 of the 2 reasons for my dispute. (1) I did not authorize or (2) this is a fraudulent inquiry. Equifax response was that they had determined these inquiries to be reported correctly and Not 1 of the 17 has been removed from my report. If the 30 day rule is not a myth then why doesn’t Equifax add a 3rd reason for dispute such as auto loan Inquiry or …

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