When Do Credit Cards Report to Credit Bureaus?

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When Do Credit Cards Report to Credit Bureaus

Ever wondered why your credit score appears to fluctuate? It might have to do with when your credit card company sends its updates to the credit bureaus (Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®). These updates can impact your credit score, so understanding this timing will help you manage your score. Read on to learn the answer to common questions like when do credit card companies report to credit bureaus?

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How and when do credit cards report to credit bureaus?

Credit card companies report to the major credit bureaus on their own schedules, which impacts how and when your credit activity affects your scores. Reporting times can vary a lot from one issuer to another, depending on their policies and the number of billing cycles they handle.

According to Equifax, most companies aim to report monthly, around the time your billing cycle closes (also called the statement date). So, the day you get your bill for the recent period is usually when they gather info to send to the bureaus. These billing cycles, thus, companies might send multiple files each month to make sure every customer’s statement gets reported accurately. However, the exact reporting dates can range from mid-month to the very end, with no one rule followed by everyone.

Creditors aren’t actually required to report to credit bureaus, as noted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Credit card companies might not report at all, or they might only report to one or two of the three main bureaus. This variation makes it tough to know exactly when your payments and balances will show up in your credit scores.

Why should you care when your credit card company reports your information?

Knowing when your credit card company reports information to the credit bureaus can be a secret weapon in your financial toolbox for a few reasons:

Credit utilization

Credit utilization – the ratio of your credit card balances to your credit limits – significantly affects your credit score. According to MyFICO, it makes up 30% of your credit score. If you know your issuer reports close to the end of your billing cycle, you can be strategic. By paying down your balance before that date, you can temporarily reduce your utilization and potentially give your score a boost. Think of it like this, the information reported is a snapshot in time. You want that snapshot to show you are using less credit!

Credit score improvement

One can be a responsible credit card user by practicing to making timely payments of your bills or sticking to a budget among others. Knowing your reporting date lets you manage the timing of your payments a bit. If the report goes out right around your due date, making a larger payment just before that can give your score a temporary bump. This is a short-term strategy. Focus on building good credit habits over time for lasting improvement.

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New credit card application

Eyeing a new credit card with a rewards program or a lower interest rate? Knowing your reporting date can help you time your application strategically. If a card issuer reports close to your due date and your balance is high, it might affect your approval chances. Aim to apply when the report shows a lower utilization after a recent payment.  You want to put your best credit foot forward when applying for new cards!

How often are your credit scores and reports reviewed and updated?

Credit scores are based on the information in your credit report. Since these are both getting information at different times and there are three major bureaus, you could have three totally different scores. 

For credit scores

According to CNBC, “Credit scores are expected to update at least once a month, but it can be more frequently if you have multiple financial products.” It can actually bounce around a bit more often. That’s because lenders send info to credit bureaus at their own pace. So, your score can change whenever new info arrives. This means there’s no one-size-fits-all update schedule since lenders don’t all report at the same time or to all three bureaus. But hey, the good news is that big improvements, like paying down a credit card significantly, can lead to a jump in your score that you might actually notice!

Since your score can move around, it’s a good idea to check it regularly. There’s no magic number for how often, but looking once a month keeps you in the loop. This way, you can see how your financial moves, like paying down debt or keeping credit card balances low, are affecting your credit health.

For credit reports

Just like credit scores, your credit report isn’t like clockwork. Since the lenders send information at their own pace, it can take some time for new information, like that awesome job you just did paying down your credit card, to show up. While most lenders update monthly, some might be quicker or take up to 45 days. Each report will have a “Date Updated” section to show the latest info.

Staying ahead of credit reporting

Since credit card companies don’t follow a specific schedule for reporting to the bureaus, pinpointing the exact time your lender will report can be tricky. Because of this, it’s best to keep your balance low at all times. That way, whenever they do report, your credit utilization ratio will look good, which helps your credit score stay healthy.


Are all credit card companies required to report to credit bureaus?

No, credit card companies aren’t required to report to credit bureaus. It’s more like they do it voluntarily. So, while most report because it’s a standard practice, they technically don’t have to report at all.

Can late credit card payments be reported to credit bureaus?

Late payments can definitely be reported to credit bureaus. If you’re more than 30 days late on a payment, that’s usually when credit card companies will report it. So, it’s a good idea to try to keep on top of those payments to avoid a ding on your credit score.

Are business credit cards reported to credit bureaus?

Business credit cards are a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to reporting to personal credit bureaus. Some issuers report business credit card activity to consumer credit bureaus, but others might only report if your account is delinquent. It really depends on the issuer’s policy, so it’s worth checking out how your specific card handles it.

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