Old debts, missed payments and collection notices are not the only annoying things you can find on your credit report. Credit inquiries can negatively affect your credit score. Too many can mean you are shopping around fervently for loans and financing.

Now, credit inquiries are not the worst things you can have trailing around on your report. Delinquent debts and missed payments are not good. Not good at all. But credit inquiries is part of the “new credit” section of your report. That includes new accounts, amount of recent inquiries, period of time between inquiries and length of time since opening an account. Those categories account for 10% of your score

How long do credit inquiries stick around? Only 2 years and they only affect your score for up to 12 months. So, like we said above, they are not quite as damaging as old debts, since the have a relatively low effect on your score and cause less and less damage over time. But every little bit helps when you are looking to repair your credit.

It helps to understand credit inquiries before you try to remove them yourself. So here are some facts about removing credit inquiries from your reports:

You need to request a copy of your credit report to review all your items. In the credit inquiries section, you can check to see if there are any inquiries that you did not authorize. Then you can send a certified letter to each of the credit bureaus, indicating that your report has unauthorized credit inquiries.

You can put a freeze on your credit report if unauthorized inquiries continue to pop up. That can also help prevent negative consequences from identity theft.

What are hard inquires and what are soft inquiries. Hard inquires always affect your credit and occur when you apply for new credit, an employer takes a good look at your credit history or you are trying to buy insurance. Soft inquiries are when a creditor pulls your reports without your permission. Sometimes that is a lender that is looking to give you a pre-approval or a current creditor that is checking on your situation.

When you are shopping for one type of loan, such as a mortgage, lenders are aware that you are going to talk to multiple institutions, so the reporting agencies can group those inquiries together and lessen the overall impact on your credit report.

The bottom line: Are lots of credit inquiries really terrible for your credit health? Not really, but they are not great either. Contact a good, reputable credit repair company that can put your credit cleanup needs in the right order. Then you will be on your way to a fresh and clean credit score.