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Why Does a Credit Inquiry Show on My Credit Report?

A credit inquiry is created when you apply for credit, and a financing institution such as a bank requests a copy of your credit report from a credit reporting agency. 

When you shop for a car
If you go shopping for a car and think you might make a purchase, you’ll complete a credit application in which you authorize the dealer to submit the application to multiple lenders for consideration. Each lender who receives your credit application will request a copy of your credit report from a credit reporting agency. These credit report requests are known as a "hard credit inquiries." And these inquiries will show up in your credit report even if you choose not to use financing after all.

Hard credit inquiries and your credit
When hard credit inquiries show up in your credit report, they’re typically treated as a single inquiry, for the purposes of determining your credit score, if the inquiries are made within a short window of time and they’re for the same type of credit, such as an auto loan. 

If you receive a letter from a financing institution informing you that your credit report was requested, it is because you applied for financing, whether or not you ultimately obtained financing. 
 

"Know what lenders look for." Wells Fargo: Financial Education: Credit Management, 1999 – 2017, Wells Fargo website.
"Financing major purchases." Wells Fargo: Financial Education: Credit Management, 1999 – 2017, Wells Fargo website.
"How Do Credit Inquiries Affect My Credit Score?" Wells Fargo Dealer Services: Consumers: Financial Education, 2017, Wells Fargo Dealer Services website.

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