Hard inquiries are recorded on your credit reports when you apply for new credit products, cell phones, insurance, or maybe even a new job. They are essentially a record of every time a business has viewed your credit report information for the purpose of an application, and they may remain on your reports for up to two years from the original placement.
There is no specific amount of points that will be deducted from your credit score per inquiry; however, you should be very careful about applying for too much credit too often. Depending upon the strength of your current credit score, you will likely lose at least a few points or more from a hard inquiry. And while a loss of a few points might not seem like much at first, it could mean the difference between qualifying for the best interest rates available and a second-tier product. That alone could cost you thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.