Your credit score is composed of three important numbers in the financial world. If you have a significant financial transition coming up, you might find yourself eager to check your credit score.
While checking every day is an option, your credit score does not update that often. Typically, your credit score updates once a month or even every 45 days. Knowing when your score will update can save you time and allow you to check when it is most effective.
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How often do credit scores update?
Though your credit score typically only changes once a month, some factors could help you see an update sooner. Paying off your credit card or paying a more considerable amount toward your credit card could update your score sooner.
Another significant shift for your credit could be applying for a new loan or closing an account; this could also help you see an updated score sooner. Standard transactions such as making your regular monthly payment or making one additional payment might not elicit a significant change in your credit score for it to update sooner. Making your payments on time is still very important and contributes to your overall score, so even though they don’t cause instant updates, make sure you stay on top of them.
Your credit score updates also depend on the nationwide credit reporting agencies and how often they update the score. Additionally, consider how many accounts you have when looking at your score. Not all creditors report at the same time. For example, your loan creditor might update weeks before your credit card company, meaning more significant updates can come either weeks or days apart.
How often do FICO Score and VantageScores update?
FICO® Score and VantageScore 3.0 are the two most common types of scoring models when considering your credit score and how often it could update.
Created in 1989 to ensure a fair way to determine creditors’ risk, FICO® is the most widely used credit scoring system. FICO® uses five key factors to determine your score:
- Payment history
- Length of credit history
- Credit mix
- New credit applications and approvals
VantageScore was founded in 2016, with the most recent update to 3.0 occurring in 2013. It was created to compete with FICO® and give more people a chance to qualify for credit. VantageScore 3.0 has six factors in determining your score:
- Payment history
- Length of credit history and type of credit used
- Current credit balances
- Available credit amount
- Credit use
- Recent loan or credit applications
Both FICO® Score and VantageScore 3.0 use the same range to cut down on confusion. There could be a difference in how fast either of these scoring models update based on who your lender uses, but essentially they could update about once a month.
Where to check your credit score for free
Consumers are entitled to one free credit report a year through www.annualcreditreport.com. If you need an additional credit report during a calendar year, you will have to pay, but you should never be required to pay more than $13.50 for a credit report.
You can receive your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies: Equifax Inc., TransUnion and Experian. The annual credit report does not include your credit score but does show your credit history. It is still beneficial to review these reports because you can spot red flags that could eventually impact your credit score.
Your financial institution might offer access to your credit score either through its mobile application or if you apply for any sort of credit through it. Keep in mind that your bank could pull your FICO® Score or VantageScore 3.0. If you use this score to determine your ability to open a loan somewhere else, the score might not be the same, but it could offer a good ballpark unless there is anything significant pending that hasn’t been accounted for yet.
Credit card issuer
Like your bank, your credit card issuer could offer a free credit score. You can find your score on your monthly statement, in the mobile app or on the website you use to check your balances and pay your bill. It could also depend on the credit card issuer if you see a FICO® Score or VantageScore 3.0. Some credit cards offer just the credit score, while others show how your score is trending over the last few months and what is affecting your credit score specifically as it pertains to the credit card you have with the company.
Free credit monitoring services
Services such as Credit Karma offer credit monitoring and can give you your credit score daily. Depending on the service, this could be a completely free option, or there might be a monthly charge.
First, make sure you read up on the credit monitoring service to determine which credit bureau’s scores they report. Knowing this information can help you prepare for possible point differences when you submit a credit application, but it is still a great way to know where your score stands.
How to improve your credit scores
You might be checking for credit score updates because you’re just curious or because you have made an effort to improve your score. If you check your score and it is not where you want it to be, there are ways to improve that three-digit number.
Pay your bills on time
Making your payments on time every month is a great way to improve your credit score. Payment history counts for about 40% of your VantageScore and 35% of your FICO® Score. Plus, making payments on time helps you avoid late fees and interest rate increases, saving you money.
Manage immediate collections
If you have an account going into collections, contact the creditor. There might be a grace period; in some cases, it takes more than 30 days of being past due before an account goes to collections. If a collections agency contacts you, work with it to determine how the payment can be handled before your credit takes a hit. An account going into collections does not necessarily mean your credit will immediately take a hit; there might be time to figure out payment plans to get the account back in good standing.
Fix any errors on your credit report
You’re entitled to a free annual credit report. When you get your report, it is a great time to look into any errors you see and alert the credit reporting companies. You can contact TransUnion, Equifax or Experian online, by phone or by mail to file a dispute. Once the dispute is requested, an investigation will occur, and the credit bureau will repair your credit if an error is found. Though it is not always the case, errors on your credit report can indicate identity theft, which could cause other issues. Staying on top of errors can significantly help short-term and long-term by allowing you to catch more significant problems quickly.
Lower your credit utilization rate
Ideally, your credit utilization rate should be below 30%. For example, if your credit card has a limit of $1,000 but your balance owed is $250, then you are below your 30% utilization. If you find your credit cards are above 30%, try paying over the minimum payment each month while also cutting down on your usage. Current credit card utilization accounts for about 20% of your VantageScore, which means lowering it can yield some benefits to your credit score.
Reduce applications for new credit
Even if you have an ideal score, you want to be very selective when applying for new credit. Just because you qualify, do you need that new credit card? Reducing your credit applications can help boost your score. Each application can cost you some credit score points, whether a soft or hard credit inquiry. Only run your credit when necessary to save the score you worked hard to boost.
Keep a watchful eye
Seeing your credit score improve can be pretty exciting. Though you might be tempted to check your credit score like you’re watching a sporting event, credit score updates can be a slow and steady process. You might see some rapid boosts or declines in your score, or it could take 30 to 45 days before seeing a change. So keep an eye on your score, but maybe take a day or two off from checking.
How often do credit bureaus update?
Credit bureaus update at least once a month or every 45 days.
How often does my credit report update?
Your credit report can update at various times depending on when your updated credit information is received by the credit bureaus. At the very least it will update every month.
How often does your credit score change?
Your credit score changing can depend on the lender. Your score can change every day or once a week. It varies.