Your credit score is a summary of your financial behavior. According to Experian, credit scores update at least once a month, but the timing could vary based on when your lenders report to the credit bureaus. Since the information in your credit report is used to calculate your score, the data must change for your score to update. It’s not uncommon for your score to stay the same. However, here are a few factors you’ll want to consider to determine what you can do to get your score to rise.
9 reasons your credit score is not changing
Your credit score isn’t a fixed number and changes as your account activity changes. For instance, if you max out your credit card, you may see your score drop. If you pay off a credit card, your score could go up. Payment history, credit utilization (your credit balances divided by your credit limits), account mix, age of accounts and credit utilization are factors that impact your score.
Your credit score has yet to update
Credit bureaus take about 30 days to update new information. If your credit card issuer reported your account is in good standing or that you paid down the balance, it could take 30 days for this change to reflect in your score. Not all creditors report on the same day and not every creditor reports to each bureau.
Your credit utilization rate is too high
Using too much of your available credit limit can cause your credit score to suffer. If you consistently keep your utilization rate the same, your score won’t go up. Paying down your balances and opening a new credit account can help reduce your utilization ratio. Ideally, you should aim to use no more than 30% of your credit card’s available limit.
Your credit history is too young
The age of your credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score, according to MyFICO. If you haven’t been using your credit card for long or recently opened the account, you’ll want to wait for it to age. Building credit is a process that takes time. As you make timely payments, you’ll see your score start to rise.
You’re a victim of identity theft or fraud
Identity theft or fraud can destroy your credit score. If you’ve been working hard to improve your credit but haven’t seen any noticeable changes to your score, check your accounts. Review all your account balances and transactions to ensure all the charges are correct. Check your credit report for any accounts you do not recognize and report fraud immediately to each credit bureau. You can request a fraud alert in your file and a credit freeze requiring new creditors to verify your identity.
You only have one credit account
Lenders determined that better borrowers are those who can successfully manage a variety of debts at once. Because of this, having a mix of installment loans, like car loans and mortgages, and at least one revolving credit account, like a credit card, might help your credit scores. About 10% or so of your FICO Score comes from your credit mix. If you have one credit account and keep the utilization rate the same, your score can stay stagnant until there’s a major change.
You recently closed an account
Closing an account isn’t technically considered a negative act, but it can cause your credit score to drop. When you close a credit account, you lose that credit limit. If you have balances on your other cards, losing that available credit can cause the ratio to rise and the score to fall.
Your credit report has a negative or incorrect item
A negative action, such as a missed payment, can stay on your credit report for 7 years. Check your credit report for errors or discrepancies. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report each year from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Dispute errors directly with the bureaus to launch an investigation.
You have late or missing payments
Late or missing payments will damage your score since payment history is the most significant factor. Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score. Make consistent, timely payments to boost your score.
You keep applying for more credit
Although a single inquiry has a minimal impact on your score, multiple inquiries add up. Applying for too much credit can raise red flags for lenders. Numerous credit applications in a short time span make you a riskier borrower. Credit scoring models differentiate between rate shopping for the best deal on an auto loan or mortgage and trying to open a bunch of new accounts. Rate shopping will have less of an impact on your score.
What to do if your credit score is stuck
If your credit score seems to be stuck, you can take a few steps to get it moving.
Check your credit report regularly
Keep tabs on your credit by using a credit monitoring site like Credit Karma. These scores are updated frequently using the information in your credit reports from the major bureaus.
Pay off your entire balance
Paying off an account will improve your credit utilization rate and may get it low enough to see a noticeable change in your score. After paying off an account, be sure to keep it open to ensure the available credit is calculated in your utilization ratio.
Make timely payments
Continue making all your payments on time. Even a single late payment can have a lasting impact on your score. If you experience financial hardship, contact the creditor before falling behind.
Consider whether you need new credit
If you have just one credit account, you might want to open a new line of credit to mix things up and improve your utilization rate. Although new accounts are scored lower than older accounts, they’ll eventually age. The positive impact tends to offset the age of the account.
Good Credit Takes Time
Credit scores can stay the same for several months, especially if there are no significant changes in your credit report. Continue checking the data lenders are reporting to the bureaus to ensure everything is accurate. If you want to see your score rise, make positive changes like paying off your credit card.
Why did my credit score drop?
Your credit score can drop for many reasons, including missing a payment, using too much of your credit limit or applying for too many credit cards. Check your credit report to rule out identity theft if your score seems to drop for no reason.
Why isn’t my credit score going up?
If there are no updates to your report, your score won’t go up. If you don’t have enough credit accounts or keep things the same, there likely won’t be an improvement in your score.
Why hasn’t my credit score changed?
There are many reasons why a credit score doesn’t change, such as the lender didn’t report to the bureaus yet, your utilization is too high, you missed a payment, you applied for too many new accounts or you don’t have enough available credit.