“How Often Does My Credit Score Change?” Nav customers often ask us this question.
Most people guess their credit scores change once a month, but that’s not the full story.
The quick answer is that your scores can change any time new information is added to your credit reports. Here’s how it works:
How credit bureaus generate your score
First, it’s important to understand how the major credit bureaus create a credit score.
A credit score is calculated using information in one of your credit reports—business or personal—at the time the score is requested.
Your credit reports, as you probably know, are made up of data reported by your creditors such as auto or mortgage lenders, credit card companies, or in the case of business credit reports, vendors. Most creditors supply updates to credit reporting agencies on a monthly basis, though they certainly aren’t required to do so. (In fact, no lender is required to report information to credit reporting agencies; they do so on a voluntary basis.)
That may lead you to believe that your credit reports are updated once a month, but in fact, each creditor may have its own schedule for when it shares updates with the credit bureaus.
Credit card companies, for example, often report balances around the end of the billing cycle. When your bank sends you a credit card statement, they’re likely sending that same data to the bureaus. It’s certainly not a guarantee, and each creditor may differ in the way they report your data, but it’s a fairly safe assumption.
Lenders purchase credit scores from credit reporting agencies and they have many choices, such as FICO or VantageScore for personal credit decisions, or Paydex or Intelliscore for business credit decisions. Additionally, scores may be customized for a particular lender or industry.
How does this affect me?
Most people want to know how often their credit scores change for two reasons; they either want to know:
- How fast their scores can change if they are trying to improve them, or
- How often they need to monitor them.
In terms of the first question, the speed with which your credit scores change really depends on how quickly information is updated or corrected with the credit bureau. Let’s say you pay down a high credit card balance, for example. Any credit scores created will reflect the new balance after the card issuer reports it. How quickly that happens will be a matter of when the issuer reports the new balance to the credit reporting agency.
Regular monitoring can keep your credit in check
What if you are simply interested in monitoring your credit?
Monitoring a credit score is a lot like monitoring weight loss. Fitness experts will tell you to weigh yourself once a week at the same time for the truest indicator of progress.
A similar principle applies to your credit. If you pull your credit report once a month at the same time, you’ll be able to see real progress over time and you won’t get tripped up by momentary hiccups in your score.
You’ll also be aware of any large credit events like inquiries, new accounts, and late payments—all of which can have a major impact on your score and wind up costing you thousands of dollars.
Learn more about how credit monitoring can give you peace of mind and save you money.
This article was originally written on November 21, 2016 and updated on January 26, 2021.