It’s a natural question when you’re working hard to improve your credit, particularly if a major purchase like a car or house is on your horizon: How long does it take for your credit report to update? How long before it reflects all that hard work you’ve done, faithfully paying your bills on time? The answer may surprise you because there is no single, exact deadline or formula.
When Do Your Creditors Report to the Credit Bureaus?
Some of your smaller loans may not report your loan activity at all, and even major lenders might not report to all three major credit bureaus. Creditors are not obligated to report your loan activity — they do it because it’s in their best interests to gauge consumers’ creditworthiness. They use credit scores, derived from the contents of credit reports, to measure that creditworthiness.
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The majority of your accounts probably do report to the credit bureaus, however; so the question becomes not if they do so, but when. You can probably count on it happening at most once a month, or at least every 45 days, but the exact date varies by lender. The credit bureaus don’t require that all lenders submit their information by a certain time each month. Each creditor adheres to its own schedule. This means your credit score is usually in constant flux. It can change within days — even within hours — as different accounts supply information about your credit activity.
How Long Before Credit Bureaus Update Your Scores?
The good news is that when the credit bureaus receive information regarding your accounts, they typically add it to your credit report right away. They'll recalculate your credit score based on this new information pretty soon thereafter. You may not see a lightning-quick change in your score, however, if the recent information doesn’t have a significant effect. For example, making one more payment on time won’t cause your score to jump significantly if you’ve been diligently making your credit card payments on time for a year. You're just maintaining a positive status quo. But you may see your score drop if you miss a payment whenever that particular creditor reports that you're more than 30 days late.
Rapid Rescoring in a Pinch
Rapid rescoring can put the situation a little more in your control, but it’s not something you can do on your own. A lender must request a rapid rescore on your behalf, usually when you apply for a mortgage and your credit score is within single digits of earning you a better interest rate. The lender can ask one or more credit bureaus to add information to your credit report and calculate your score at a particular point in time. This will result in an updated score within a few days.
Rapid rescoring can’t fix mistakes on your part — if you made a payment late, for instance, it can’t go back and wave a magic wand to make that go away. But if you’ve discovered errors in your credit report, like a derogatory account that isn’t actually yours or a maxed-out credit card that you paid off a few days ago, a rapid rescore will incorporate this information upon request and adjust your score, usually within 72 hours or so.