Whenever an individual or company pulls up your credit report, it appears as an inquiry on your credit report. Hard inquiries are those by a potential lender that you initiate through an application for credit, and these affect your credit score. Soft inquiries include checking your own credit report, having an employer or landlord check your credit report, and inquiries for preapproved or prescreened credit card offers. You can take steps to stop unwanted inquiries of both types.
Stop Unwanted Hard Inquiries
Apply for new credit only when you need it. Because an application generates a hard inquiry that affects your credit score, you should consider whether you want new credit enough to have an inquiry.
Ask your credit card company if it pulls your credit report before raising your credit line. If so, avoid the inquiry by not requesting a credit line increase. Some credit card companies will periodically increase your credit line without checking your credit report.
Do not apply for a checking account if the bank must make a hard inquiry to give you the account. You can ask what its policies are before applying for the account.
Stop Unwanted Soft Inquiries
Visit the official OptOutPrescreen.com, which allows you to remove your name from the list of people who can receive prescreened credit card offers, each of which generates a soft inquiry on your credit report.
Click on the "Click Here to Opt-In" or "Opt-Out" button at the bottom of the page.
Select the option next to "Electronic Opt-Out for Five Years" and click "Submit."
Type your name and address into the appropriate boxes. You can also type in your date of birth and Social Security number, which help improve the chance that the website will be able to find your record and remove you from the list. Click "Confirm" when you are done.
If you would like to permanently opt out from receiving prescreened credit card offers, select the option next to “Permanent Opt-Out by Mail” on the website. You will be directed to a form you need to print, fill out and mail to the address listed on the form. If you would prefer to opt out on the phone, call Opt Out Prescreen at 888-567-8688. It may take up to 60 days for you to stop receiving prescreened credit card offers after you have completed the form to opt out.