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Credit Card Glossary: Terms and Definitions

Confused by credit card terms?'s glossary of credit card definitions will help. From account holder to Regulation Z, we have defined the most-common and most-confusing credit card terms.

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Hard inquiry
Hard inquiry is a credit scoring term. It describes an initial step that potential lenders take when a consumer has applied for a loan. The potential lender checks the consumer's credit report, which creates a small negative impact on the consumer's credit score. An occasional hard inquiry (or a quick burst of hard inquiries) has little impact on credit scores; the credit scoring formulas recognize routine loan shopping. What hurts a credit score most are multiple hard inquiries over a long period, which the credit scoring algorithms treat with suspicion, since they could signal hard times have befallen the borrower. A hard inquiry is also known as a "hard pull."