Can I hurt my credit by checking my credit report and credit score?

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 Q. I know it’s good to check your credit report, but is it true that you can hurt your credit score if you check your report too often? How much is too much?

A. Because your credit report and your credit score is so important to your finances, we’re glad you asked.

You cannot hurt your credit by checking your credit reports or scores, said Gerri Detweiler, the director of consumer education for Creditcom.

“Consumer-initiated inquiries fall into the category of `soft’ inquiries which do not affect your credit scores,” Detweiler said. “In fact, these inquiries are not shared with others.”

She said the only way you can damage your credit by checking it is if you ask your banker or an auto dealer to pull your credit for you. Because they are the ones requesting your credit information, a different type of inquiry — a “hard” inquiry — will result, she said, and that will affect your credit.

Michael Gibney, a certified financial planner with Highland Financial Advisors in Riverdale, notes that “promotional inquiries” — the kind that lenders make before they send you a pre-approved credit offer — are also not counted by your credit score. Requests that come from employers aren’t counted either.

“The reporting agencies list the following as issues that will affect your score, listed in order of importance, and weighting assigned to each: payment history (35%), amounts you owe (especially relative to your limit, 30%), length of credit history (15%), applications for new credit (10%), and types of credit used (revolving credit, bad; mortgages, better, 10%),” he said.

And Gibney also pointed out an important comment from FICO, one of the largest credit scoring companies, which answered what happens if you apply for new credit.

It said your score will move lower if you apply for new credit, but probably not by much.

“If you apply for several credit cards within a short period of time, multiple requests for your credit report information (called “inquiries”) will appear on your report,” the myFICO web site said. “Looking for new credit can equate with higher risk, but most credit scores are not affected by multiple inquiries from auto or mortgage lenders within a short period of time. Typically, these are treated as a single inquiry and will have little impact on the credit score.’

Email your questions to moc.p1591396325leHye1591396325noMJN1591396325@ksA1591396325.

This story was first posted in February 2015.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.
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