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According to Vantage Score, one of the companies that devise scoring systems, each such inquiry could decrease your score by 10 or 20 points.That seven-year rule applies to virtually all entries, including -- in spite of another myth -- those concerning accounts you've closed.A credit score is a three-digit number that presents a snapshot of your overall creditworthiness on a particular day.

If lenders check your report because you've applied to them for new credit, that does have an impact.

It's entirely based on information contained in your report (your age, ethnicity, salary, assets and place of residence don't come into it), and is calculated by computers using highly sophisticated algorithms.

These assign negative or positive values to all the entries in your file, weighted according to their recency and significance, and are designed to provide the best possible indicator of your likely ability, readiness and willingness to handle future credit well. In fact, in 2013, the Federal Trade Commission reported that one in four consumers in a study had found errors in their credit reports that were sufficiently serious to materially affect their scores. It's vital that you check your report and score regularly -- at least annually -- for errors.

So we have a system based on lenders reporting to credit bureaus, and then computers storing information and calculating scores. In fact, it's widely regarded as good practice to monitor them much more often, something that might help you actively manage your score, as well as uncover identity fraud before too much damage is done. Your best bet may be to get your own copy upfront, and address any issues during your interview.

Check out the Wise truly free credit score service. Many people believe that accessing their own credit report harms their score.