If my credit card company raises my credit without my input (meaning - I did not request the credit limit increase), does it result in a hard credit inquiry?
In general, hard inquiries should only occur when you initiate them (per the Fair Credit Reporting Act): there should either be an explicit request by you for credit (such as a request for a limit increase, a new card, etc.), or they should explicitly ask you.
Of course, the credit reporting agencies don't know whether the creditors asked you or not - they trust them, unless you put a freeze on your credit report - so this isn't a 100% guarantee.
Several websites have lists like this one which show what some credit card companies do for limit increases; not all pull a hard inquiry even for a at-your-request increase. None of them in this list mention that they pull a hard inquiry for automatic increases, as is proper.
If you do find inquiries that you didn't initiate, you can ask them to be removed. The above page concluded with these instructions:
If you find hard inquiries listed on your credit report that you did not initiate, you can have them removed by making a request in writing to the lender that initiated the inquiry. In your letter, remind the lender that you must authorize these types of inquiries under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and ask them to remove the authorized inquiry or to provide proof that the inquiry was authorized by you.
No, it will not serve as a hard inquiry or a soft inquiry. Based from my experience, this usually happens when
A) companies see that you pay bills on time while having a zero balance OR B)reaching your limit while you still pay your bills on time.
For B, the reason why they increase your limit is because you are already paying them interest. Now, if they continue to increase your limit, they know that you will pay them even MORE interest because interest is exponential. The higher the balance you owe them or the limit they give you, the more money you pay interest if you don't keep your balance to zero.