If you’re trying to build your credit, you probably already know that it takes time and patience. Still, it can be frustrating to do everything right, check your credit score, and see that it hasn’t changed at all.
In general, how frequently your score is updated depends on your creditors. However, in certain circumstances, there are things you can do to get your score updated more quickly.
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When does your credit score update?
Your credit score can update on a weekly or even daily basis. Your score is generated from the information on your credit report, which means that any time your credit report is updated, your score will be as well.
When does your credit report update?
The three nationwide credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) generate your credit reports from information provided by lenders, debt collection agencies, and other companies that handle debts. These companies are known as “data furnishers.”
Every time a data furnisher provides new information about your credit activity to the bureaus, they’ll update your report (usually almost immediately).
Types of information your credit report may be updated with
The information that data furnishers provide to the credit bureaus includes your:
- Payment history: Your payment history is a record of your activity on all of your credit account reports going back 7 years. It indicates whether you usually stay on top of your bills or sometimes make late payments.
- Outstanding debt: Your current debts (e.g., your credit card balances and loans) also show up on your credit report.
- New credit applications: If you apply for new credit, your potential lender will usually check your credit. This will also show up on your credit report and affect your credit score.
How often do data furnishers report to the bureaus?
In general, creditors and other data furnishers report to the bureaus either once a month or every 45 days. 1
Keep in mind that each creditor may report your data at different times each month, and that some lenders update more frequently than others. Credit reporting is also completely voluntary, so it’s possible they’ll miss a month here and there.
How often can your credit score change?
Because creditors report at different times, it’s possible for your credit score to change quite frequently—weekly or potentially even daily. It really depends on how many credit accounts you have and on how much you use them. If you rarely use your credit, obviously your lenders won’t have much to report, whereas people with a lot of credit activity will find that their credit scores change frequently.
How long does it take for information to show up on your credit report?
As mentioned, data furnishers usually report to the credit bureaus on either a 30-day or 45-day cycle. The bureaus usually add information to your credit report immediately after receiving it. 1
This means that when you do something that will show up on your credit report, such as paying off a loan or applying for a new card, it will take one to two months for the information to appear and affect your credit score.
How long does it take for your credit score to update after paying off a debt?
Again, it can take one to two months for your credit score to update after you pay off a debt. If it takes longer, you can contact your lender and ask them when they’ll notify the credit bureaus.
What does it mean when your credit score changes?
Your credit score changes as you do things that build up or damage your credit history.
Actions that improve your credit score
You can improve your credit score by maintaining good credit-building habits, such as:
- Paying your bills on time
- Using less of your available credit (i.e., lowering your debt-to-credit ratio)
- Only apply for new credit accounts when you really need them
- Regularly reviewing your credit reports and disputing any errors you find
- Use credit-building tools, such as credit builder loans
Actions that damage your credit score
Conversely, your credit score will drop if you:
- Pay a bill more than 30 days late
- Fail to pay a bill so long that it’s sent to a debt collection agency
- Fail to pay off an auto loan (or another secured loan), leading to a repossession
- Use too much of your available credit (using under 10% is ideal) 2
- Open too many credit cards in a short period
- File for bankruptcy
In general, if you keep a few credit cards open and use them responsibly, your credit score will gradually improve, although it may still fluctuate by a few points in either direction on a regular basis. Fluctuations like this are normal and not a cause for concern.
How to request a credit score update through rapid rescoring
If you’re trying to apply for a loan but your credit score hasn’t been updated yet to reflect positive credit moves that you’ve recently made, you can request an early update. This is known as “rapid rescoring.”
People usually opt for this when they’re trying to get a very large loan. In most cases, that means a mortgage.
Rapid rescoring can be helpful if your current score is close to your lender’s requirements, but doesn’t quite meet them.
How to request rapid rescoring
Technically, you can’t request rapid rescoring from the credit bureaus yourself. You have to ask your prospective creditor (e.g., the bank providing your mortgage) to request it on your behalf.
To get a rapid rescore, do the following:
- Contact your creditor (or call and speak with a representative).
- Explain that you believe you’ve taken actions recently, such as paying off a debt or filing a successful credit dispute, that you believe will improve your credit score in a way that may affect your eligibility for their loan, or the terms they’re willing to offer.
- Explain that your reports and score have not been updated yet. Say that you’d like your creditor to request a rapid rescore from whichever credit bureaus they plan on checking your credit with.
Be as specific as possible about the positive moves you took to improve your credit. The credit bureaus will charge your lender a small fee for requesting a rescore, so it’s important to convince your creditor that it will meaningfully benefit you or they might be unwilling.