If you pay off a credit card balance or get a higher credit limit, you may want to see the change reflected in your credit report. Or, if you made a serious credit mistake, you may be eager for the time when it falls off your credit report (usually after seven years).
Most creditors report your credit card or loan balances to credit bureaus monthly. However, card issuers and lenders don’t necessarily choose the same day of the month to report, nor do all creditors report to the three major bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Once your credit report updates, the new data can be reflected in an improved credit score. The reverse is also true. You could have a good credit score until a late payment is recorded on your credit report.
What credit information is reported?
In addition to payment information such as balances and late payments, credit bureaus also get information on other activity.
If you open a new account, you’ll see a “hard inquiry” on your report because you’ve applied for credit. If your application is approved, you’ll see the new account reflected in your credit reports once it’s reported.
(However, a credit inquiry will be reflected only on the report of the bureau that provided the information. If you or a creditor check your Experian report, for example, that won’t be reported on your Equifax and TransUnion reports.)
If you check your own credit, that will be reflected on your credit report, but it won’t affect your credit score.
The credit bureaus add new information once it’s reported to them, according to TransUnion.
How often am I notified of changes?
If you subscribe to a credit monitoring service, you may be notified of any change, such as opening a new account.
Find out when the provider of your credit information updates data — that could be quarterly, monthly or weekly — so you know when to check for changes.
If you are monitoring your own credit, remember that while you may have 24/7 access to information, that information is not necessarily up to the minute. Find out when the provider of your credit information updates data — that could be quarterly, monthly or weekly — so you know when to check for changes.
NerdWallet’s free credit report information, provided by TransUnion, updates weekly. It can be a good way to be sure that a payment you’ve made has been properly recorded — or that outdated information has been removed.
How updated reports affect your credit score
Once information in your credit report is updated, it will be used the next time your credit score — a three-digit number calculated from data in your credit report — is requested by a creditor.
Credit scores are calculated on demand, and credit scores can change as the data used to calculate them changes. Fluctuation is normal.