If you’re working hard to increase your credit score to qualify for better mortgage terms or make another large purchase, you’ll want to know how soon you can expect to see improvements in an Experian score. Likewise, if you’ve applied for several credit cards, you might temporarily see a dip in your credit score. But how soon will that happen?
This article covers all the factors that affect credit scores so you’ll know when to expect a credit score increase or a drop, including how often Experian updates your credit score. It’s not rocket science, and knowing what to expect can help you raise your credit score.
How often does your credit score update?
Most creditors report to credit bureaus every 30 to 45 days. Your score won’t change until your report is updated. When does Experian update? According to Experian, every creditor reports according to their own schedule. While the average is every 30 to 45 days, creditors can report on much shorter or longer time frames. You’ll want to check in at least once a month to see an updated Experian score.
Your credit score can change when your credit report is updated
While on-time payments will always affect your credit score, there is a lot more you can do to maintain or raise it. The following five factors, taken together, are used to calculate your credit score. Take control of all of them, and you’ll see good to excellent credit reflected on your Experian score over time.
On the most commonly used credit score model — FICO — payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. It is the single largest category that affects credit scores. Late or missed payments will affect your score for up to seven years, according to Equifax.
On the other hand, on-time payments over time will help improve your score.
The second factor, accounting for 30% of your FICO score, is the total amount of debt. Experian updates the score with the total debt and the percentage of the credit limit you’re using.
Here’s an example: If you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and you charge $1,000, you’ve used 10% of your credit limit. If you only have a credit limit of $2,000 and you charge the same $1,000, you’ve used 50% of your total credit limit.
How much credit you’re using compared to your credit limit will affect your credit score. Credit bureaus usually prefer customers who use less than 30% of their total credit limit.
New credit applications
New credit applications make up 10% of your total FICO score. Too many new credit applications can cause a dip in your score. This includes credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, store lines of credit and any other new lines of credit you apply for.
To maintain good credit health, avoid applying for more than two or three new credit cards per year. And when you apply for a mortgage or auto loan, most credit bureaus consider all applications within a few-week period as part of a single inquiry. Once you start applying, choose a lender quickly.
Credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO score. Credit history measures the number of years of responsible credit usage. This is measured by your oldest credit line. If you close the account that has the longest credit history, it can decrease your credit history and therefore lower your credit score.
Credit scores update every 30 to 45 days, but additional years of credit history reached on an anniversary can cause a sudden increase in credit scores.
Here’s an example: If you got a credit card for college students when you were 20 and didn’t close it, at 40 you will have a 20-year credit history. That’s great for your credit score. Even if you don’t use that credit card anymore, if you don’t have another account with a similar 20-year credit history, it’s worth keeping the college account open. That is assuming the annual fee isn’t too high.
Credit mix makes the final 10% of your FICO score you’ll want to master for an updated Experian score. Credit mix takes into account different types of credit, including revolving credit, installment credit and open credit. Revolving credit includes credit cards from different banks. Installment credit includes mortgages, auto loans and student loans.
Lenders want to see that you can responsibly manage a variety of credit accounts. Closing an account can decrease your credit mix. You may want to apply for a new account if you only have one account. But don’t take on debt just to improve your credit mix.
How to improve your credit
Increasing your credit score requires establishing regular habits and monitoring your credit reports to ensure nothing surprising appears on it. Here are a few steps you can take to start improving your credit score this month.
Make it a habit to check your credit report
The first step in managing your credit score is to understand what credit bureaus are seeing on your credit report. All consumers have the right to a free annual credit report from the three main credit bureaus — Equifax Inc., Experian PLC and TransUnion. Through December 2023, all consumers are entitled to a free credit report from all three credit bureaus every week.
You can access your credit report online at the government-maintained site AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also request your credit report by phone or mail.
For requests by phone, call 877-322-8228. For TTY service, call 711 and ask the relay operator for 800-821-7232.
To request your credit report by mail, download and complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Checking your credit report regularly can help you ensure that all information is correct and allow you to request a correction for any mistakes. When Experian updates your score, you’ll be able to see which areas of your credit report need improvement.
Pay off your balance in full
After paying credit debt on time, the most important step you can take to improve your credit score is to minimize debt. If you’re carrying debt on credit cards, you’re also likely paying high-interest rates, which means you’re paying much more for items over time. If you can pay off your balance in full, do it right away. If you can’t do it right away, make a plan to prioritize paying off debt as quickly as possible. This is one of the most important steps not only to improve your credit score but to improve your overall financial health.
Stay on top of bills and payments
Staying on top of bills and payments demonstrates to lenders that you can be trusted to make on-time payments. In addition to paying your credit card(s) on time each month, pay rent, utilities and other recurring bills on time. You can set up auto payments to avoid forgetting to make a payment.
Automatic payments for the minimum due on a credit card will ensure you never have a late payment on your Experian updated score. In the long term, the habit of on-time payments is the most important factor to improve your credit score.
Consider new types of credit
If you only have one credit account, opening a new one can help improve your Experian updated score. This is especially true if you only have one type of credit. If you’ve got student loans, consider applying for a credit card. If you already have credit cards, consider a small car loan or a mortgage to diversify your credit mix.
This advice comes with a caveat: Don’t take out a loan unless you truly need it. The slight bump to your credit score isn’t worth additional debt. And applying for too many credit cards can actually hurt your credit score. If you apply too often, it’s time to refrain from a new account for a while.
Final thoughts on how often Experian updates credit scores
Experian updates credit scores once a month. TransUnion and Equifax follow a similar schedule. Depending on creditors’ reporting, you might see an update to your score every 30 to 45 days. You don’t need to check your credit score every day, but checking credit reports at least once a month can help to consistently build a good credit history.
What time will my credit score update?
Usually your credit score is updated once a month. How soon a specific creditor reports to credit bureaus varies, with an average of 30 to 45 days reporting period.
How many times a month is your credit score updated?
Your credit score is usually updated at least once a month. However, some creditors may provide information more often, which means your credit score could be updated more often.
How quickly does Experian update credit scores?
Experian updates your credit score an average of once a month. While you might see a more frequent update, you’ll usually see changes in your credit score once a month.