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Credit Card Glossary: Terms and Definitions

Hard inquiry

A hard inquiry is a credit scoring term that describes an initial step taken by lenders in evaluating consumers’ loan applications.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 has only a small negative impact on a credit score. Hard inquiries stay on your credit report for two years. 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.”

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