Home > Credit Reports > How Often Does Your Credit Report Change?

Comments 80 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure

Disclaimer

Article originally published August 29th, 2012. Updated October 29th, 2018. 

The emails usually come in the form of a slightly panicked plea, often from individuals who have just used Credit.com’s Free Credit Report Card for the first time. They’ve seen something that they either didn’t expect or think is wrong, or they think their credit scores should be higher.

“How long will it take my credit report to be updated after I pay off a credit card/settle a collection account/get the IRS to remove a tax lien etc.?” The writers of those emails will sometimes go on to explain that they are trying to get a mortgage, auto loan, or some other type of loan, and want to make sure their latest credit report information is considered.

So, How Often Does Your Credit Report Change?

Like so many things in life, your credit report can change in the blink of an eye.

“Right now it’s 11:40 my time,” said Rod Griffin, director of public relations for Experian, when I interviewed him for this story. “Let’s say a lender requested your credit report right now. If you apply for credit (again) in an hour your credit report could be different,” he says, referring to the inquiry that would have been generated when the first lender accessed my credit information.

“Credit reports can change as often as every day if there is new information provided to the credit bureaus,” says Barry Paperno, community director for Credit.com.

If you want to be technical about it, you don’t really have a credit report on file with the credit reporting agencies, to begin with. Explains Griffin: “We have information from each of the lenders, and we go out to our databases and compile information from those databases when a credit report is requested.  Your credit report represents a snapshot of your credit history at any given point in time.”

That means that the information is available in the credit reporting agencies’ (CRAs) databases at the time a credit report is requested is the information that will be reported. “You don’t have a credit report until you apply for credit and it’s requested,” Griffin says.

But it’s not like checking your online bank account and seeing the debit card purchase you made a few minutes ago in your running balance. “It’s not real time,” says Griffin.

While lenders often supply information to the CRAs on a daily basis, that doesn’t mean your account information is updated that frequently. “Lenders may have millions of customers, and they don’t update all of their information at the same time,” Griffin points out.  He goes onto add that many lenders report account information around the close of the customer’s billing cycle.

But it’s not just information that is added to credit reports that cause them to change. Information also is removed or suppressed in the CRAs’ databases. Certain types of credit information must be removed when required under federal or state law, for example. “We’re also constantly tracking dates in case information needs to be removed because it’s too old. For example, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will automatically be removed seven years from the filing date,” Griffin says. You don’t have to ask the CRAs to remove information that should no longer be reported. It should happen automatically.

And just as credit reports can change at any time, so can credit scores. There’s a common perception that a “credit score is calculated, stored on a shelf somewhere, and changed periodically,” says Paperno. Instead, it is calculated when it is requested, based on the information from a CRA that is available at that time.

Does this change how you should view your credit report? Not really. You’ll still want to make sure you stay on top of your credit information, so you can challenge mistakes if necessary.  To do that:

Check Your Credit Reports

At least once a year, get your free credit reports and check that they are accurate and complete. (As we mentioned earlier, you can also get your credit score and a snapshot of your credit report using Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card.)

Give Yourself Time

Check your reports 3–6 months before applying for a major loan like a mortgage or auto loan, recommends Griffin. Doing so will give you time for your credit report to be corrected and updated if you do find mistakes.

Be Patient

It may take 30–45 days or so for updated information to appear on credit reports requested by you or a lender, due to the reporting process. If you’ve recently paid off a credit card with a high balance, for example, it may take a little time to see the lower balance reported.

What Kind of Information is Reported?

Depending on the lender, they may be reporting back to the three major credit bureaus at least once every thirty days. However, you may find that other lenders may be reporting to the bureaus less frequently.

So, when they report, what are they reporting?

Late Payments: this is one of the biggest components of your credit report. One missed or late payment can actually stay on your credit report for up to seven years from the date of the missed payment. However, you don’t usually get reported for this until the account is at least thirty days past due.

New Credit Accounts: it can take some time for a new credit account to show up on your credit report. This new information will typically show up between one and two months of opening the new account, and you will see a hard inquiry prior to the new account showing up.

How Can I Speed up the Credit Report Changes?

If you are about to apply for a mortgage and want to speed up the process of your credit report change, rapid rescoring is one way you can do so. A rapid rescore involves getting proof that doing so will better your chances at an improved or reduced interest rate. However, the lender will have to make this request, and they also have to pay for the service.

If you had recently paid off a big account and know that your credit score would have improved significantly, and you can’t wait the thirty to sixty days for it to show up, then it never hurts to ask a lender if they would consider a rapid rescoring, so you can get the better rate.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.



Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team