May 2nd, 2011

Credit Karma Q&A: Hard Credit Inquiries and Accounts in Collections

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Several actions can negatively affect your credit score: hard inquiries, accounts in collections, tax liens, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are some of the most common. But how do they really affect your credit? For how long will it affect your credit score? What can you do if you think the negative information is inaccurate?

All of these are commonly asked questions over in our Credit Advice center, a community-powered Q&A forum. Credit Karma users are always prepared with great answers, many times straight from their own financial experiences.

Here are some responses to the common questions around hard inquiries and accounts in collections.

Hard Credit Inquiries

  • Credit inquiries will fall off your report after 24 months. There is nothing you can do to get rid of them, but the negative effect to your score should be relieved within about 4 months. (How do I get rid of credit inquiries?)
  • At this point, just see what happens in a couple of months. Scores can fluctuate quite a bit from inquiries and can bounce back quickly. It took about 60 days for mine to bounce back. (Card dealer credit inquiries)
  • You can pull your full credit reports to find out who has pulled your credit. (Hard score inquiries).
  • This is potentially a case of identity theft. If you have a lot of inquiries you don’t recognize, call the credit bureaus immediately and put freezes on all of your reports. (Mysterious credit inquiries)
  • Although hard credit inquiries don’t have a huge negative impact on your credit score, you should never apply for tons of credit at once. You’ll appear credit-hungry and risky to lenders if you do so. (Credit Karma blog)

Accounts in Collections

  • Another option is to get a secured credit card…. I think people spend more wisely when it is their actual money they are spending, instead of an unsecured loan. (How to get rid of collection accounts and charge offs?)
  • Settling a debt in collections will often be reflected as “Paid – Not as Agreed” and will affect your credit score. Given that you are in collections already it may not make a big difference. (Paying off debt in collections in full vs. settling)
  • Depending on how you resolved your credit collections, these negative marks will reflect in your credit score even after you’ve paid them off… The good news is the effect on your credit score will decrease over time. (Credit Karma blog)

Still curious about how negative marks affect your credit? Head over to the Credit Advice center and ask your own burning question.

And stay tuned to Credit Karma blog because next week, we cover how credit over-utilization and tax liens affect your credit score.

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.


  1. desperate for advice that is ACCURATE!!! credit score is high 700’s says Excellent? credit utilization is 23% no sure if that is really bad or not? some say under 33% or some say 10-11%? when this credit report was run it showed i had credit cards with zero balances i never knew i had… seems back 15-20 years ago when all these folks sent you cards in the mail… and you just tossed them… THEY ACTUALLY OPENED ACCOUNTS at that time!!?!?! but, the advice i was given was DO NOT CLOSE THEM NOW… it will lower my ‘total credit’ ability. YET, I got a bad ding on my report anyway because one of the 2 cards we actually use (one is zero balance & if used is paid in full that same month)…. the one we use and carry a balance on… flags that it is too close to limit? i will admit it is a high balance.. we allow all 3 of our children and 2 of our 10 grandchildren to use on this account due to the 2 grands in college. but, i always make DOUBLE the amount due payments. the history of the account is PERFECT!! in fact, they have lowered my interest in the past 5 years because of my great history with them. But, the account is NOT right at the limit…. there is still quite a bit there to spend if need be.? we have read about things to do… and there are clearly TWO DIFFERENT OPINIONS on what will and will NOT hurt your credit on both these actions!!! i can NOT afford to drop my score at this time!!! but, if i could get it better then i think i would like to do one of these things. The answer i need is which of these scenereo’s will help and which will harm my rating?:::::> A) move a portion of that balance to the zero balance card to lower the balance of it, leaving the balance further from the end limit? ~OR~ B) call my credit card company and request they raise my limit to move that end limit further away from my balance? Please help if you truly know what will happen to my score in each situation! THANK YOU SINCERELY! we are old, sold our large home with lots of land upkeep as well to downsize so we are able to still live on our own…. never been thru all this credit ‘raping’ before??? PLUS, lenders are very leery of you if you dont work any longer… doesnt matter how nice of a retirement income you have. to them you are on a FIXED INCOME on a banana peel headed towards 6 foot under! sadly… there is probably truth in that… even if we dont want to admit it! hahaha

    mamagirl3 at 4:11 pm on October 6, 2012
  2. Hi, there! We highly recommend you use our Credit Advice Center for these types of questions. It’s a community-powered forum for credit questions and answers. Good luck!

    bethy at 10:48 am on October 8, 2012
  3. I still see on my credit report, that there’s a debt in collections for $912. I’ve talked to the original debtor and that representative said that the debt would be charged off of my credit report within a few months. When I checked back to see if it was charged off, the representative said that it was. Do I need to get a letter from the company to show proof that this has been charged off my report?

    Lamar Holcomb at 4:45 pm on February 11, 2014
  4. Mike

    Hi Lamar – All of CK’s information comes directly from TransUnion. If you haven’t already, please check out the following link to learn more about the information dispute process:

    Mike at 4:15 pm on February 12, 2014
  5. I have a few medical bills that are showing up twice on my credit report. Is that Legal. What can I do to get one of each off. Also I had a bankruptcy in 2006. I was told it would be removed from credit report after 7 years. Now it shows up public can I get that removed.

    Cindy at 10:08 am on June 26, 2014
  6. Mike

    Hi Cindy – If you think your Credit Karma profile is displaying information that is incorrect or should be removed, you can file a dispute with TransUnion directly about the matter. You can find more information here:


    Mike at 4:47 pm on June 26, 2014

    bob at 10:49 pm on August 11, 2014
  8. Mike

    Hi Bob – Thanks for your comment. This question could be a good one for our advice center. I’d recommend asking your question there ( and seeing if anyone has similar experience. Thanks again!

    Mike at 9:08 am on August 12, 2014
  9. About Credit (Hard) Inquiries – I have 13 Inquiries and have battled with this for a while as I look at perfecting my Credit Score, while getting a New Home loan… I got the loan, but still don’t completely understand Credit Inquiries. As best I understand, if you go do a loan application at one bank on Day 1, and another app on a different Bank, and both banks report to all-3 Credit Bureaus… THEN I would have 6 Hard Inquires. If those two banks hit the credit bureaus on the same day, then those inquires would be filtered out as dups and the report would show up as just 3 Inquiries – problem is some banks report to all 3, while some just report to 1 or 2. Seems impossible to maintain less than 3-6 inquiries if you are doing any sort of NEW Bank Loan, Refi, or anything else. Please help me reduce these or provide more absolute explanation… seems to me it would be more accurate to evaluate the number of inquires at EACH Credit Bureau and take the one in the middle or most inquires!?!?

    Eric at 11:41 am on August 19, 2014
  10. Mike

    Hi Eric – Thanks for your comment. The information you see on your Credit Karma account comes directly from TransUnion, so we only display hard inquiries that you have on that specific report. We won’t tally one hard inquiry as 3 just because it was reported to each credit bureau. Regarding the idea of duplicate inquiries being canceled out, I’d recommend checking out this article:


    Mike at 10:10 am on August 20, 2014
  11. At the end of last year I disputed some old debts I had on my credit. Now keep in mind these debts are over 10 years old. There were 5 items and all 3 Bureaus erased them off my credit. I was very happy! I wait a few months got my credit up to 689 and then applied for a credit card. The credit card is not much just a $300 limit. But that’s ok I am just trying to build my credit. So about 3 months later a new Collection agency with the same bills and I think the amounts are more but they put it back on my credit???!!! My wife and I are so upset due to the fact that next year we are trying to purchase a new home. Is this even legal? And how is this far because now I am at square one because of these bottom feeders. How can I prevent this from happening again? And do different programs like Life Lock prevent this from happening? I have just recently disputed again the same item but I sure hope they take it off again.

    Josh at 8:57 am on October 21, 2014
  12. Hi Credit Karma, I have a question why is it that about other week my credit karma report shows # hard inquiries goes up then a few days to 2 weeks it goes back down? it starts at like 2-3 inquiries then goes to 9-11 then back down again, then up….you get the idea.

    Thanks, Mark

    Mark at 4:48 pm on October 28, 2014
  13. Mike

    Hey Mark – That sounds a bit odd. Could you file a ticket with our member support team so that they could look into this for you? You can reach them here:


    Mike at 8:53 am on October 29, 2014
  14. I have a creditor that I was 2 months late on my payments. I paid the entire bill in full, just after the 60 days late mark. it was in may of 2013. I then was notified that they reported it as a charge off after the payment was made. 4 months after the payment was made. can they enter it as a charge off after the fact if I paid the bill in full? w can I get this corrected?

    karl tiedemann at 5:28 am on April 26, 2015
  15. Mike

    Thanks for your comment, Karl. This sounds like a good question for a legal professional, but I’d also recommend checking out our credit advice center to see if anyone there has dealt with a similar issue. Good luck!

    Mike at 12:10 pm on April 28, 2015
  16. I have a bankruptcy from 2005 how long does it take to be removed from my credit?

    Janice Ferrari at 2:31 pm on July 15, 2015
  17. Enola Guerrero

    Hi Jance – Since we do not know what type of bankruptcy you filed, you can go to our advice center to ask questions regarding your credit:


    Enola Guerrero at 11:26 am on July 16, 2015

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