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I was shopping around for a car, and in the process I was shopping for car loans. I finally bought a car within a couple weeks, but it resulted in many hard inquiries on my credit report (at least for Equifax).

From what I read online, all of these inquiries should count as one hard inquiry because I was shopping for a car and a single loan for that car. Is this true?

How can I fix my credit reports so that it counts as a single hard inquiry while shopping for a car?

EDIT:

This is what NerdWallet shows:

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Experian says:

Experian lists each inquiry that is made into your file for two years, so that you have a complete record of who has reviewed your credit history, but they will only be counted as one inquiry when calculating the score

So it looks like what I thought should be correct. If my score is low on NerdWallet, maybe it is making assumptions, or not getting a score from Experian?

Here's what credit.com and nerdwallet show as my scores:

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The reason I'm asking is because in particular I see credit.com shows that I now have an "F" in the "Credit Inquiries" section, so that's what makes me believe that shopping for a car and applying at many places for the car loan resulted in my credit drop (and I'm wondering if it maybe dropped more than it should've?).

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    Do you want to remove the inquiries from your credit report, or do you just want the impact on your credit score minimized? In either case, why? Do you plan to open any new lines of credit in the near future? – yoozer8 Feb 15 at 20:57
  • I'd like the impact minimized. Eventually I'd like to get a house. – trusktr Feb 15 at 21:08
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    "they will only be counted as one inquiry when calculating the score" means they are all still separately listed on the report -- that's not an error, and you will not be forcing removal of any – Ben Voigt Feb 16 at 6:03
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    Did you see what your credit score as reported by NerdWallet was before the inquiries and then see it go down after the inquiries? – Ben Miller Feb 16 at 11:49
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Your report looks like just 2 hard inquiries: the cluster of Sep 2018 inquiries is one, and the Nov 2018 is two. This should be true for both newer FICO scoring models, and also for NerdWallet's TransUnion VantageScore (the main difference being that VantageScore counts a cluster of only 14 days, which your Sep inquiries still fall within.) Based on my prior research, 2 inquiries should affect your FICO 8 model score about 10-15 points for 3-6 months.

As for why the NerdWallet estimator displays an F for inquiries, it sure seems like just 2 inquiries should be better than an F. My best guess is that their data doesn't know that those inquiries are all the same type and should collapse down into just 2 inquiries. Or maybe the data is there but they just didn't bother to implement it in their algorithm. It looks like they just count them up and 6 or more inquiries is an automatic F, without further intelligence. These types of services are meant to be a general guide, not an absolute measure. You might try firing off a question to their customer support asking why your multiple inquiries of the same type are showing up as F. Maybe they can confirm my guess, or provide another reason.

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Wait.

You indicated that you would eventually like to get a house (presumably borrowing money via a mortgage). Any hit to your credit score for these inquiries will go away over time, especially as they are all clustered together in time. You even quote Experian saying that they will only count as one inquiry when calculating your score.

Having several inquiries and a newly opened line of credit will have negative impact on your score short-term, but it's not permanent. As long as you make all your payments on time, your score will recover. Having this loan can actually help your score if you didn't have any credit history prior, as it will establish a history of making payments on time (assuming you do, in fact, make all the payments on time).

Assuming your "eventually" for buying a house isn't very soon, these inquiries shouldn't be a negative by the time a mortgage lender is checking your credit history.

  • What if I'd like to get the home withing 6 months to a year? – trusktr Feb 15 at 21:43
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    @trusktr Then it may have more of an impact. The rate you pay (or even whether you get approved) will depend on your credit history. Your question doesn't really get into whether what's discussed here is your entire credit history, or if this rate-shopping and new loan is just the latest in a long history, so it's difficult to quantify how much effect it will have. – yoozer8 Feb 15 at 21:47
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From the same page you quoted from in your question:

Most Credit Scores Will Count Multiple Car Loan Inquiries As One

Lenders know that multiple applications for a car loan within a short period of time indicate you are shopping for the best terms, not buying multiple cars. Scoring systems have been designed to reflect that reality.

Therefore, as long as the inquiries were all made within a certain period of time, usually 14 days but sometimes longer, they are counted as just one when calculating your score.

That tells us that there are different ways to score the same data. In fact the lender decides which of those score models they want to use.

The credit card companies, and other websites that allow you to see "your score" are only getting the data and score that can be calculated from a soft inquiry, at no or low cost.

This is why if you do these checks at multiple sites you will get different scores. You are looking for drops across the months as reported by one site, not mixing sites.

If my score is low on NerdWallet, maybe it is making assumptions, or not getting a score from Experian?

Unless the site is being very open about which of the three credit reporting agency they are using and which algorithm they are paying for you can't compare the free scores. My credit union, and my credit card companies all offer this service. In all cases the score hovers near the same number except for one. The reason for that outlier is that they don't have the same top of the scale, they go to a number above the 850 that the others use.

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