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How often is your credit score updated? This is a fundamental question to ask, if you’re anxiously waiting for your new credit report to reflect the changes that you’ve made to your credit.

Staying on top of your credit and managing it well can sometimes feel like you’re walking on a tightrope without a safety net beneath you. A good credit score is a crucial piece to how much financial assistance you can access in modern society.

Bad credit scores mean no access to mortgages, bank loans, private student loans even cellphone service. You’ll need to raise a lot of money or pay very high premiums and interests if your credit is terrible.

Understanding your credit reports and scores is very important. But when do credit reports update? And how often does your credit score change?

If you want to track your progress, you’ll need to wait for your credit score to update.

When does your credit score update?

When does it update

Congratulations! You’ve managed to get your credit under control by paying off your entire credit balance. Your next credit report should naturally reflect that your debt-free, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Every credit provider has a billing cycle. This cycle of transactions updates every 25-31 days. This means if you pay your credit balance off after the process has been completed, your credit report will not reflect this immediately.  

Credit companies send updates monthly to the major credit bureaus after the billing cycle has completed. Your payment might reflect on the statements you receive, but it can take months for your credit score to reflect the changes.  

So when do credit reports update? And how long does it take for a credit report to update after paying off debt?

Usually, a billing cycle of up to two months will allow the credit companies to report new changes. This time frame also applies to changes to your credit score. Once all the information is gathered, you will likely see changes to your credit report and credit score within two months.

How often do lenders report to credit bureaus?

Credit card lenders report changes to the credit bureaus at least once a month. The creditors do not all report changes on the same day during the month. That is why there is always a lag in reporting certain transactions because of delays within the different systems.

There are some minor changes that credit agencies report more frequently than once a month. The different lenders that you owe money to update these micro-changes constantly.

New account openings, new balance amounts, new loan applications, and bill payments are just a few of the activities lenders report to credit bureaus.

Does my lender report to all three credit bureaus?

The major credit bureaus in the US are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. All lenders report these activities to at least one of the major three credit bureaus, which will refresh your credit score. 

Yes, your score can change when your credit is updated

Yes, you read right! The three major credit bureaus will update your credit score once all the relevant information is in your billing cycle.

But, how often is your credit score updated?

The credit score question is tricky because there is no definitive answer for everyone. In reality, credit score changes update within a specific range of time. Each time you look up your credit score, you might notice two things:

  • There are no changes for months, and then you wake up one day with a significant shift.
  • There are constant fluctuations daily dependent on you and your lender’s activities.

Your credit score can update as the information on your credit report becomes outdated, added, or removed. Your credit score is a summary of everything contained in your credit report.

What does your credit report contain, and why do credit scores change?

As we have stated above, it is very typical to see constant fluctuations in your credit score. Experts advise not to rely on the small changes you frequently see to determine how well you score.

Waiting a few months to see your credit score performs is a better way to gauge how well you perform.  

We’ve constantly talked about the information that your credit report contains in this article. But how many people know what their credit reports contain? After all, it is this same information that influences how often your credit score is updated.

What information does your credit report contain?

What does report contain

First, let’s look at the information that you will find on your credit report.

A general credit report includes the following information:

1.Your personal information

The following information captured on your credit report: 

  • Your name
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • Social security number
  • Current and previous employers

The authorities use it to verify your identity and mitigate fraud. It has no bearing on your credit score. 

2. Public Record information

For public record, the following information will be on your credit report:

  • Any filed bankruptcy information (available for seven years)
  • Monetary judgments against or for you
  • Unpaid child support records (in some states)
  • Tax liens
  • Overdue debts that have sent to collection agencies

3. Unpaid Debts

Things don’t disappear quickly in today’s digital world. Any unpaid debts referred to collection agencies will appear on your credit report for seven years from the date of the first missed payment. If you pay in installments, the balance on the account is not updated until paid in full. 

4. Account Information

Other information you will find on your credit report include:

  • The date you opened the account
  • The credit limit or loan amount
  • Remaining balance due
  • All monthly payments and payment history 
  • Any co-signers, spouse, or any other person responsible for the account

5. Inquiries

All inquiries made on your credit report for the past two years will appear on your statement.

Inquiries are divided into two categories; 

  • Hard inquiries- such as when you are applying for credit
  • Soft inquiries-such as when a request on your credit report  

What will you not find on your credit report?

Information that you will not find on your credit report include:

  • Criminal records
  • How much you make
  • Family, religious, political, and marital status
  • Medical History
  • Driving records
  • Race and gender
  • Interest rates
  • Credit score
  • Bank accounts
  • Business account information (except for sole proprietors)
  • Whether you have received public help

Why do credit scores change?

When does your credit score update? And why do credit scores change?

Credit scores change for several reasons.

Changing Information

The number one reason why credit scores change is because of relevant information added or deleted accordingly. Think of your credit score as a snapshot of all the changes you’ve made to better your financial health.

Every new activity that you embark on financially will eventually reflect on your credit score. Every loan inquiry you make, every clothing account you open or close, when and how often you pay your bills, everything is recorded.

Credit bureaus differences

The three major credit bureaus operate in similar but not identical ways. The same goes for all your credit agencies and lenders. How often the lenders report and to whom can result in significant credit score changes.

The credit bureaus may also use different scoring systems that will give you a different credit score. For example, one bureau might use the FICO score, and the other might use the Vantage Score. (More on this later!)

Creditors are not obligated to report to all three bureaus. Some may opt to report to one or two and others to none at all. These differences mean that the credit bureaus may be calculating your credit score based on differing or missing information.

Your debt versus your credit balance

The amount of credit you have available against how much you owe can impact your credit score quite frequently. This is because your monthly credit balance changes every month depending on how much you pay off. These fluctuations do affect your credit score.

Payment History

Every time you make a payment, it’s recorded in your payment history. Your payment history is the most significant contributing factor to your credit score if we use the FICO scoring system. (We will discuss scoring systems later on in the article.)

So all the times you’ve missed a payment or you’ve paid late are recorded as part of your payment history.

Why is it essential for the credit score to change?

If you understand the role that credit scores play in the financial system, you will see why these changes happen.

We have already stated that a good credit score is a critical piece in accessing financial assistance. For the creditors, a credit score signals your financial health.

When you apply for credit of any kind, the first thing that the lender checks are your credit score. Your credit score shows the lender how reliable you are in paying off your debts on time. It is a risk assessment tool for financial institutions.

Credit score changes are normal, but they must result from accurate and complete information. If you see that your score is not accurately reflecting the activities you’ve made, you should regularly review your credit reports. It will help you know whether it is a result of fraudulent behavior or something else.  

What do I want to focus on to improve my credit score?

If you want to improve your credit score, you need to know how to calculate the credit score and which actions contribute to a negative or positive credit score. 

How is your credit score calculated?

Calculate Credit

There are two scoring models that financial institutions use to calculate your credit score. These are; the FICO method and the Vantage Score method. The most popular method is the FICO method, with over 90% of financial institutions opting to use FICO.

The methods do share some similarities. For example, they both use the score ranges of 300 to 850 to determine how good your score is. They also recognize payment history as one of the most significant contributing factors to credit score calculation. The differences come from how they rank the other factors. 

The FICO credit score contains five elements, which are:

  1. Your payment history, which makes up 35% of your score
  2. The amount of debt you currently have (credit utilization) makes up 30% 
  3. The length of time that your credit history comprises makes up 15% of your score 
  4. The amount of new credit you have and credit inquiries is 10%
  5. The types of different credit accounts you have (credit mix) is 10%

The Vantage Score looks at the following in order of importance:

    1. Your total credit utilization (usage vs. balance and available credit)
    2. Your credit mix
    3. Your payment history
    4. The new accounts that you’ve opened
    5. The length of time you’ve had credit

What actions positively influence your credit score?

Now that you can see what weight is given to certain factors when calculating your credit score, let’s look at what you can do to improve it. 

Focus on building up your credit

A lack of good credit history is one of the major causes that will get your loan applications rejected: that and bad payment history. So focus on building up your credit file slowly.

Start small by opening accounts that you can afford to pay back on time. Build a good track record of paying the balance in full. If it’s not yet possible for you to open accounts in your name, add yourself as an authorized user on another person’s card. Make sure the individual you choose handles their credit responsibly. 

Always pay on time

Nothing puts a dent in your credit score and payment history, like a missed or late payment. Try not to miss any payments by more than 29 days because, on the 30th day, they will report that late payment.

Many creditors have this grace period, so if you need a few extra days to make your payment, keep this deadline in mind, but don’t make it a habit. 

If you have a busy schedule and you are afraid you’ll forget, set up an automatic deduction system with your bank. Also, do not default on small accounts like your gym membership or your Amazon subscription. They all contribute to your payment history. 

Pay off overdue accounts

Life happens, and sometimes there are bills that we miss or we fail to pay on time. If you find yourself in either situation, do not despair. Even though late payments stay on your record for at least seven years, paying off your overdue accounts when you can is a good strategy.

It will help you avoid more late payments to your payment record. 

Reduce your revolving credit balance

Revolving credit is excellent. Who doesn’t love having a cushion that you can rely on repeatedly to soften your fall? 

Having a high balance on your revolving credit may not be such a good idea, though. Sure, you can go on borrowing and paying back monthly without ever clearing the balance. This behavior will, unfortunately, impact your credit utilization ratio and lower your credit score.

Try to reduce the balance you owe on your revolving credit facility.  

Avoid applying for every account you can think of

Opening new accounts is a great way to improve your credit score. What’s not so great is that every new inquiry or application you make is on your credit report.

We’ve mentioned hard and soft inquiries before. Unfortunately, each new account you apply for is a hard inquiry. The only exceptions are when you are applying for a car loan or a mortgage. 

How can I raise my credit score rapidly?

How fast can you raise your score?

Determining how quickly you can raise your credit score is significantly tied to how your credit score is often updated.

TIt is impossible to raise your credit score within twenty-four hours. However, if you are someone with a low score, to begin with, you are better positioned to rapidly increase your credit score, unlike someone who has a good score.

On average, you can expect your new credit score to appear within 30 days. But there is something you could do to try and raise your credit score in less than a month. It’s called rapid rescoring.

What is rapid rescoring?

Rapid rescore is an option that creditors use to obtain recent information on your credit report. Normally you would expect to wait for several months for your credit report to reflect some changes to your report. That’s a long time to wait, when you need financing.

Lenders use rapid rescore to quickly update their credit information to qualify for the financing you are seeking. Usually, creditors report to the credit bureaus once a month, so you might have to wait for an average of 45 days before your information is updated.

When your credit provider uses rapid rescore, they request the credit bureaus to update your information as soon as possible.  

When to use rapid rescore?

Rapid rescore is not a magic wand that you can wave, and your credit score is miraculously fixed. You cannot use it to whitewash a bad credit score. Your lender can apply for rapid rescore on your behalf. Unfortunately, you are not able to initiate the process yourself.  

Though rapid rescore is excellent, it is not to be used in every situation. You can only qualify for rapid rescore if the following scenarios apply to you:

  • When incorrect information appears on your credit report, for example, you’ve cleared your credit balance. However, it’s still being reported as owing months later, or if an account doesn’t belong on your credit report.
  • When you’ve made significant positive changes to your credit, and you need it to be reflected as soon as possible for a new loan application.
  • When you are shot a few points from qualifying for financing, you make the necessary payments to gain those points.
  • When your added to an account in good standing 
  • When you’ve received a bump on your credit limit.
  • When you are applying for a mortgage (mainly because mortgages are time-dependent)

Where rapid rescore will not work.

Like we mentioned before, rapid rescore is not a quick fix for bad financial decisions. It will not fix bad credit history if you’ve defaulted on payments. You will need to put in the work to regain a good credit history. Only then can you apply for rapid rescore if you qualify for it.

If you have a giant leap to make in terms of your credit score points, rapid rescore will not help that at all.

Lastly, rapid rescore will not work if you are disputing an error on your credit report with no proof. You’ll need to present actual evidence that you paid off the credit balance and that the error is not of your doing.

How much does it cost, and how long does it take?

Rapid rescore is not a free service, but the credit bureaus will not charge you directly for it. Because you cannot apply for this service by yourself, the fee will be charged to your lender.

The common practice by the lender is to transfer this charge to you via the closing costs or the interest rates you will pay for the loan. The service costs at least $20 to $100.

Rapid rescore can take up to two weeks to reflect the changes on your credit report and your credit score. So it’s not as fast as you might think; still, it is by far a quicker way to change your credit score.

Ways to check your credit score

Every year you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from any major credit bureaus in the country. Many credit card providers in the US offer free credit score checks to their customers, and the limits depend on the credit card issuers.

Most lenders also provide free FICO or Vantage scores, so you can quickly check where you stand by visiting your issuer’s website. In addition to this service, there are some sites where you can check how certain financial decisions might affect your score.

These simulators are some of the latest innovations that you can use to make better financial decisions. You can also use these sites to verify whether your account or personal information is correct in your credit report.

The Final Thoughts

How often is your credit score updated? On average, we would say within 45 days. As this article has shown, many factors go into deciding when your credit score is updated. These factors stem from both you and the financial institutions that we have in the country.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of how interconnected these factors are that affect how often your credit score is updated.

Wes Durham

Wes Durham is the founder of Develop Your Wealth. He has a long-running career is a mix of financial technology and education. His main goal is to help others develop good saving habits, money earning opportunities, debt balancing and wealth development.

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