How often do credit bureaus update reports and scores? The simple answer is several days after the company furnishing the refreshed data transmits it.
You may be asking this question because a few extra points on your rating will get you a better interest rate or improve your chances for an approval on a new loan.
Three concepts will help you understand how long you need to wait after paying off debt or bringing a delinquent account to current before your score improves.
- Credit scores update dynamically. They immediately reflect new data on your file
- Credit reports change daily with new inquiries and staggered monthly billing cycles
- Consumer-facing websites introduce a time lag of 7 to 10 days
Credit Score Update Frequency & Timing
How often is your credit score updated? The answer depends on who will see the result (consumer or lender) and the source (website or bureau). Both the FICO and Vantage equations follow the same process. However, the predominant customer determines the answer.
Consumer-facing websites act as intermediaries and store the scores on their computers. They periodically reach out to the source bureau to refresh the Vantage score. Consumers use Vantage scores frequently for education purposes.
The major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) provide FICO scores directly to lenders. Lenders use FICO most frequently to make underwriting decisions – without a time lag associated with the middleman (websites).
The remainder of this article addresses what happens at the agencies and their data sources.
Day of the Month
Your lender credit score does not update on any specific day of the month. In fact, the bureaus do not store the equation result in a file. They calculate the rating each time that a lender pulls a copy of your credit report – using the information presented on your file at that single point in time.
Credit scores predict the likelihood of delinquency on at least one account during the next 18 months. The equations are time-sensitive and need the freshest data possible. Therefore, they always work with the most current information –as it appears on the date of calculation.
Your lender credit score fluctuates as the underlying information in your consumer report changes. The bureaus update the files daily – even on weekends. Data freshness drives the predictive accuracy of the equations, so the bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) compete feverishly to keep things as current as possible.
However, each data furnisher has a different refresh cycle. The bureaus begin posting the more current information only after receiving it from the third-party source. Expect varying lag times as the agencies perform quality checks before loading the most recent data to file.
New hard inquiries appear on the credit report of the furnishing bureau. Lenders initiate these entries by pulling a copy of your file at one or more bureaus. Hard inquiries will drop your FICO or Vantage score by 1 to 5 points.
- A hard inquiry typically displays on only one bureau report (the furnishing agency). The agencies do not share inquiry information with each other.
- Hard inquiries appear immediately after the lender pulls your report. A second company pulling your file 5 minutes later will see the inquiry (if they use the same bureau).
How long does it take for a new account (loan or credit card) to show up on your credit report? New borrowing activity makes up 10% of your score. The activity will suppress your ratings in the beginning. It will take 30 to 90 days for complete information to display.
- 30 days: the new account open date and terms should display
- Installment loan: original principal, monthly payment, number of payments
- Revolving credit card: account spending limit
- 60 days: whether you paid your first bill on time
- 90 days: if you are 30 days delinquent on the first payment
Changes in payment history reflect on your consumer report and alter your credit score. Payment history makes up 35% of the equation result – the number 1 factor.
- Late payments begin showing 15 days after you are 30-days past due
- Bringing late payments to current status reflects 15 days later
- Late payments fall off 7 years after the date of first delinquency
Paying Off Debt
How long after paying off debt does your credit score change? Your rating will go up immediately after the new lower balances for all your accounts appear on your credit report – usually no more than 25 days after the due date from your last statement.
The amounts owed make up 30% of your credit score. Therefore, paying down debt can help improve your ratings quickly. On the other hand, the benefit proves temporary if your balances return to previous levels.
Rapid rescoring is a service offered by mortgage lenders to homebuyers with ratings on the margin. A few extra points could make the difference between approval and rejection or better interest rates.
The homebuyers pay a fee to the mortgage company after making important changes.
- Paying off debt
- Bringing delinquencies to current
These changes normally would not appear on their consumer report and improve their score for several weeks. Rapid Rescore expedites the file updates so that the buyer can meet the closing date or beat any rate lock extensions.
When Furnishing Companies Report to Bureaus
Furnishing companies report positive and/or negative information to the credit bureaus following a fixed schedule – usually tied to a billing cycle. Each time that they send a refresh, your file and score will change to reflect the most current information.
Therefore, reporting frequency and timing determine when your score updates.
When do credit card companies report to the credit bureaus? The issuing banks transmit once per billing cycle – usually every 30 days – on the statement date. They spread the statement dates evenly over the month to keep workflows constant (payment posting, statement generation, etc.).
Be aware of timing issues for balances and payments as this can alter your score.
Credit card companies report the new balance total that appears on the billing statement. Your balance fluctuates during each 30-day cycle but only one static figure displays on your file during this entire period.
- Increases: purchases, interest charges, fees
- Decreases: payments, merchant refunds
Paying the balance in full does not mean that a zero amount will show on your report – unless you stop making purchases entirely.
How soon do credit card companies report late payments? The issuing banks transmit payment history at the same time as the balance – at the end of the billing period. This is roughly 10 days after the due date. This gives the issuing bank enough time to process the checks and determine payment status.
Issuing banks do not report one-day late payments but impose other consequences. Set up automatic weekly online checks to avoid this calamity.
- Late Fees
- Loss of interest-free grace period
Issuing banks do report 30-day late payments or worse – at the end of the second billing cycle – if they have not received at least the minimum payment.
An array of other companies furnishes data to the credit bureaus. Industry players may adopt a different billing cycle, which determines when they report. It commonly takes about 10 days past the due date to post entries and prepare the refresh file.
- Mortgage lenders relay balance and payment information around the 10th day of each month. Most mortgage payments are due on the 1st.
- Rental property managers relay payment data around the 10th as rent is often due on the 1st of each month.
- County courthouses relay civil judgments and bankruptcy filings as their electronic filing systems allow.
- Collection agencies relay data 30 days after first contacting you about an obligation.
- Utility companies only communicate severely negative history following a billing cycle that matches meter-reading schedules.