January 5, 2024

When Do Credit Scores Update? Credit Monitoring 101

Maintaining a healthy credit score is an essential part of safeguarding your financial future.

Your credit score impacts your ability to secure loans, obtain credit cards, qualify for favorable interest rates, and even your eligibility for some job opportunities and housing rentals. Cell phone providers want to see good credit, and in some states, your credit score will even determine the premiums you pay on specific insurance policies.

To take control of your financial future, you should understand the factors that affect your credit score, know when credit scores are updated, and use credit-monitoring tools or apps (like EarnIn) to check your score proactively.

How often does your credit score update? It’s complicated…

Next time you receive a monthly statement from your bank or credit card company, spend a few minutes scanning the list of transactions. You’ll notice there’s rarely a day without at least one purchase, withdrawal, or payment. Your financial situation is constantly in flux.

With all this activity, you may wonder how often your credit score updates.

The short answer? Credit scores update at least once a month based on updates to your credit report. Now, precisely when do credit reports update? That’s a tougher question to answer.

The three national credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — collect credit information on individual consumers to inform their reports and credit score calculations. This info includes payment history, outstanding balances, types of debt, and other factors.

Bureaus receive this information from lenders, who have no required timing on when to report it — if they choose to do so at all. Each lender and credit bureau operates on its own reporting schedule, meaning your score could update more often or at seemingly odd times.

Billing cycles often determine when credit cards report balances, but these are different from person to person. You may be able to call your credit card company and ask when they report to keep track of this information, as a lower balance typically boosts your score.

Factors that affect credit score updates

We can point to three factors that affect how and when your financial activity will alter your score: timing, the type of information being reported, and reporting relationships.


New transactions and payments are happening constantly. Lenders don’t provide updates on the same day, and reports take time to process, making it hard to know when a specific transaction will contribute to your credit report.

Type of information

The kind of information included in the updates can affect how much your credit score changes. After years of prompt payments, another on-time remittance probably won’t increase your score all that much. But if you substantially decrease outstanding balances across your credit cards, you’ll reduce your overall debt and likely see improvement.

Reporting relationships

Not all lenders report to all three credit reporting agencies. This means you may see variations in the credit scores you get from each bureau, and they may update at different times.

Inquiries for your credit score

Credit checks (aka inquiries) are a standard part of doing business in today’s world. They come in two varieties: hard checks and soft checks. Hard checks generally lower your score slightly, but soft checks have no impact.

A lender performs a hard check to review your credit score when you apply for a loan, credit card, or mortgage. A soft check is used in most other scenarios, like when a cellphone provider registers you for a monthly plan or when you request your own score. Landlords may request a hard or soft credit check when you apply to rent a home or apartment.

How long does information stay on your credit report?

As your credit situation evolves, the reporting bureaus will add new information to your report and remove old entries. But how long does information stay on your credit report?

It varies depending on the reporting agency, but there are some standard industry practices:

- Positive entries. The positive habits that keep your credit score in good shape — things like loans you paid off and credit card accounts you closed in good standing — remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. Use credit wisely, and your score will improve. It’s an essential building block for future financial health.

- Negative entries. Most of the missteps that damage your credit score — things like late payments, loans closed for unmet payment requirements, chapter 13 bankruptcy, and foreclosures or repossessions — stay on your report for up to seven years.

- Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One exception to the seven-year rule is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often called “a dissolution” or “liquidation” bankruptcy, where the person’s possessions are sold to pay the debts off. Chapter 7 bankruptcies stay on a credit report for up to 10 years.

- Inquiries. Hard and soft inquiries both remain on your report for two years, but soft inquiries don’t affect your score.

How to raise your credit score quickly

Worried about your credit score? Good news! You have the power to improve your score with these best practices:

Pay bills on time

Timely payments are a huge factor in your credit score. Even a single late payment can have a negative impact. Set up reminders or automatic payments to make sure you never miss due dates.

Reduce credit card utilization

Credit utilization is the ratio of credit you’re using (your statement balance) compared to your credit limit. High credit utilization can harm your score, but paying down debt to your creditors or raising your credit limits can have a swift, positive effect on your score.

Avoid opening too many new accounts

Each time you apply for credit, the lender makes a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score. Think twice before opening new accounts, especially if you’re trying to improve your score.

Diversify your credit mix

A combination of different types of credit accounts, like credit cards, installment loans, and retail accounts, will help you keep a good credit score. However, only open new accounts when necessary and manage them responsibly.

Check your credit report

Make a habit of reviewing your credit score regularly and checking statements thoroughly for inaccuracies, errors, or fraudulent activity or accounts.

How often should you check your score?

Frequently checking your credit score provides some immediate benefits:

  • Understanding your creditworthiness

  • Helping you make informed decisions

  • Detecting unauthorized activities

  • Giving you peace of mind

How often you check your credit score will depend on your financial situation and goals. The important part is that you know how to do it, and you have a helpful tool to keep track of your credit situation.

How to check your credit reports

Whether you're just starting your credit journey, aiming to maintain your progress, or rebuilding after challenges, you can check your credit score any time with a single tap in the EarnIn app using the Credit Monitoring tool.

EarnIn Credit Monitoring provides you with:

  • Free credit score monitoring

  • Monthly score updates

  • Insights into the factors impacting your score

  • Instant alerts whenever your credit file changes

Even with the number in hand, your credit score can be mysterious. Credit Monitoring shows you each piece of your score — payment history, credit use, credit mix, and more — demystifying that number. It lets you see what others, like your lenders or landlords, might see and make informed decisions based on accurate, up-to-date info.

Know your credit score, know your potential

The EarnIn app offers powerful tools to give you a new set of options with your money.

With EarnIn’s free Credit Monitoring, there’s no more wondering about when credit scores update. With VantageScore® 3.0 based on data from Experian®, EarnIn’s Credit Monitoring gives you easy access to your credit score, comprehensive insights into credit factors, and protection against identity theft. And best of all: it’s completely free.

Download the EarnIn app today and experience money at the speed of you.

Please note, the material collected in this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as or construed as advice regarding any specific circumstances. Nor is it an endorsement of any organization or services.

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