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The Right Way to Do a Credit Inquiry

If the salesperson comes back and says that you are not approved you have wasted your time and theirs. But worse than that you have just lowered your credit score even further by initiating a hard credit inquiry. Doing inquiries this way will impact your credit score in a negative way. The more you do the worse your credit score gets.

How can you do a credit inquiry without doing damage to your credit score?

We recommend that you do a credit inquiry on yourself before you go shopping. A great web-site to do this is myFICO.com. (*Beware of fake credit scores!) Here you can buy your credit report with a score and this inquiry is considered soft, as it will not influence your score. Consumers do have the right to access their credit reports and scores without it affecting their credit score; however you must use the correct source. Once you know your credit scores you can go shopping and you can tell the sales representative what your credit score is before you make any transactions. An educated sales representative should be able to tell you if your scores are in the range that they can do business with. If the scores are in the correct range they will still have to run a credit inquiry on their system which will be a hard inquiry, but at least now you know that your chances for being approved are very high! If they tell you your scores are not in the range that they can work with you simply move on and do not initiate a hard inquiry on their system that will lower your score further.

Another reason to do your inquiries this way is it gives you more negotiating power (of course this only works if your credit scores are good). Example: When a car salesperson wants to do a credit inquiry early in the sales process, they want to see if they can do business with you before they waste their time on test drives and so forth. If you know your scores are good tell them my credit scores are very high, however you would like to negotiate the best sales price before we discuss any financing or trade in options. Do not give them your Social Security number until you know the sales price, trade in value (if applicable), and what financing options they are offering. When you do this you let them know you are not a pushover and have just taken control of the negotiations. If you let them run your credit early in the process you give them the control of the situation and you lose!
This is just another reason why knowing what’s going on with your credit files is vital to your overall financial and credit health!

*The most commonly used credit score in the financial industry is a FICO Score which ranges from 300 – 850. We do not recommend buying a credit score that uses a different scale. The scores sold at myFICO.com are true FICO scores.

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