When Credit Scores Update After Companies Report Changes

How often do credit bureaus update reports and scores? The simple answer is every day because companies are constantly furnishing refreshed data.

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 of approval on a new loan.

This question frequently pops up after something significant changes, like paying off debts and collection accounts, or when disputing a negative entry.

Break down the issue into three parts to get the correct answer.

  1. Update schedules for lender versus consumer scores
  2. How long it takes changes to reflect on your report
  3. When do companies report new information to the bureaus

When Do Credit Reports and Scores Update?

There are two possible correct answers to the question, “When do credit reports and scores update?” The version lenders use to make underwriting decisions is fresher than the one consumers view for educational purposes.  

Both the FICO and Vantage equations follow the same process. However, the predominant customer determines the correct response.

Table Of Contents

Lender Scores

The credit reports and scores that lenders use to make underwriting decisions update more frequently. Banks demand the freshest possible data because they are putting their money at risk.

The bureaus calculate a brand new score dynamically each time a lender pulls a report using the most current version information displaying on the file.

Consumer Scores

The educational credit scores and reports that consumers obtain through websites such as Credit Karma®, Credit Sesame, or my  FICO® update less frequently because the stakes are lower.

Consumers reviewing free scores do not need the freshest possible data. Weekly, monthly, or quarterly refreshes running in a batch environment are adequate for most educational needs.

Remember, these websites are intermediaries, not direct sources, so expect built-in lags in the process rather than dynamic calculations based on the freshest data.

Weekends

The credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) update the reports and scores that lenders use to make underwriting decisions over weekends. While the consumer agencies are not open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, their computer systems run seven days a week.

  • Hard inquiries posted on weekends impact scores immediately
  • Batch files run over weekends to refresh data on reports
  • The systems calculate new scores dynamically seven days a week

The education scores that consumers use on Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and FICO could refresh over weekends as opposed to weekdays because large batch files process more quickly when system demands are lower.

How Long Credit Bureaus Take to Update

You may also want to know how long credit bureaus take to update reports and scores after a meaningful event that could boost your rating. Once again, the answer will differ for lenders and consumers.

To keep matters simple, we will provide the lender’s answer. Add the appropriate batch processing lag time to arrive at the approximate consumer-facing response.

After Paying Off Debt

The length of time it takes for your credit score to update after paying off debt depends on the type of obligation you retired, the timing of your final check, and any additional spending – if applicable.

  • Your balance reaches zero after paying off installment loans and stays at zero. Your score should reflect this permanent change within ten days of your last billing period end date.
  • Your balance can reach zero after paying off a revolving credit card but will not stay at zero if you continue charging purchases to the account. Your score should reflect this temporary change within ten days of your last billing period end date.

After Paying Off Collections

The length of time it takes for credit scores to update after paying off collection accounts can range from 15 to 45 days, depending on when your final check arrives relative to the agency reporting cycle.

There are thousands of collection agencies that operate throughout the country. Each might have a different day of the month when they report the most recent payment information to the bureaus.

  • 15 days: your check arrives close to the end of a cycle
  • 45 days: your money posts close to the beginning of a cycle

After Filing a Dispute

The length of time it takes for credit scores to update after you file a dispute can range from days to months, depending on the resolution of your challenge to potential reporting errors.

  • Filing a dispute does not change the underlying data and does not reflect on your score, as many consumers challenge negative entries just because they exist, not because they are errors.
  • Credit scores immediately reflect changes to reports after a successful dispute of an actual error. However, companies have 30 days to investigate disputes under the FCRA.

When Do Companies Report to Bureaus

Since the credit bureaus update the reports and scores that lenders use update 24 to 48 hours after companies report to them, it could prove helpful to break down when this typically occurs.

Reporting cycles run every thirty days (or monthly), with some industries holding to month-end for all customers, while others process segments throughout the month for efficiency reasons.

Credit Card Companies

Credit card companies report to credit bureaus every thirty days at the end of your billing cycle – the statement date. There is not a single day of the month for American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Discover, or Wells Fargo.

The major credit card companies have millions of accounts. Therefore, they often stagger billing cycles to smooth out workflow, which means they could report portions of their portfolio at different intervals during any month.

Balances

Credit card companies report balances once every thirty days at the end of your billing cycle, even though the amount owed fluctuates constantly.

  • Increases: purchases, interest charges, fees
  • Decreases: payments, merchant refunds

The banks communicate the credit card balance appearing on the billing statement, and that amount appears on your consumer report and remains fixed until the next refresh 30 days later. 

Payments

Credit card companies also report payments once every thirty days at the end of your billing cycle, approximately ten days after the due date. They communicate the payment status on file at that time.

Do not worry if you miss a single payment – aside from the late fee and interest charges, of course!

Banks only report late payments that are 30-days past due or worse.

Other Companies

Other companies report to the credit bureaus following a more predictable schedule close to the beginning of every month. By nature, these organizations expect payment on the 1st, process checks over several days, and then cut a refresh file close to the 10th.