Does your credit score change daily?

Woman looking at her credit report on her laptop Image: Woman looking at her credit report on her laptop

In a Nutshell

If you’ve ever wondered how frequently your credit scores update, you might be surprised to learn that it’s possible for your credit scores to change daily. It largely depends on when your lenders report to the credit bureaus. The good news is that you can now check your daily TransUnion credit score on Credit Karma.

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Your credit scores can change frequently. That’s why Credit Karma is now providing daily updates to your TransUnion credit score.

Credit Karma provides VantageScore 3.0® credit scores from both Equifax and TransUnion. You might recall weekly score updates from both of these credit bureaus, which meant you had to wait seven days before seeing how your credit scores may have changed.

But now that you can get an update on your TransUnion score every day, you’ll be able to keep a closer eye on your progress as you build credit. Daily updates could also help you make more-timely decisions when it comes to applying for new auto loans, credit cards and mortgages.



How often does my credit score change?

People typically have more than one credit score — and they’re usually in a constant state of change for two primary reasons.

One is that your credit is constantly aging. The other reason is that your credit activity is reported on your account frequently (learn more about the factors that impact your credit scores).

Your credit scores change as time goes on

Your credit scores change naturally over time.

Even if you maintain the status quo and don’t apply for any new accounts, your credit scores could change as your existing accounts age. The negative impact of a late payment from the past may lessen over time, for example. And just having longer account histories can have a positive impact on your scores.

Your credit scores can change when lenders report to the credit bureaus

Your credit scores can also change when new information is reported to the credit bureaus by your lenders or creditors — reflecting things like on-time (or late) payments and paying off or increasing debt.

Depending on how many accounts you have, and when each lender reports your information to the credit bureaus, your credit scores could change every month, every week, every day or even multiple times in the same day.

How often do lenders report to the credit bureaus?

Typically, lenders report to the credit bureaus about once a month.

But it depends on the lender. And if you have multiple lenders, they might report at different times of the month, so your scores could change frequently.

Does my lender report to all three of the major credit bureaus?

It’s common for lenders to report to all three of the main credit bureaus, but they aren’t required to do so.

Some lenders only report to one or two credit bureaus, while others don’t report at all. We recommend you ask your lender which credit bureaus they report to and how often.

What do credit score changes mean?

Credit score changes generally reflect some degree of improvement or weakening of your credit profile.

Your credit scores might improve over time as you make on-time payments and pay down your debt. Keeping your accounts open and in good standing goes a long way toward building good credit health. The older your accounts get, the better. On the other hand, if your debt is growing, you’re missing payments or your credit utilization goes up, you might see your credit scores slip. Your scores also might drop a bit temporarily if you apply for new accounts or take out new loans.

Why do credit scores change?

Let’s dive into a little more detail about some of those reasons that credit scores go up or down.

Hard inquiries

When you apply for a financial product like a new credit card, loan, mortgage or car — or agree to be a co-signer on any of the above — the lender will likely check your credit.

This is known as a hard inquiry, and it could cause your scores to drop a little bit. Learn more about hard credit inquiries.

Late payments

Late payments can have a particularly long-lasting effect on your credit — so you want to avoid them if at all possible.

If you significantly miss a due date, you’ll often have to pay a late fee and you may see the late payment reported to the credit bureaus. If this happens, it can stick around on your credit reports for up to seven years and have a negative impact on your credit scores.

But if you know you’re going to be late, you may be able to head off some of the damage. It’s best to reach out to your lender as soon as possible to let them know you’re struggling. Your lender might be willing to work with you to avoid a late payment and keep your account in good standing.

Bankruptcies

Bankruptcy can be tough to deal with emotionally — it can feel like a big speed bump in your financial progress. But if you carefully weigh the pros and cons and ultimately decide that declaring bankruptcy is your best option, it’s important to know that you can rebuild your credit over time.

While the bankruptcy might stick around on your credit reports for up to 10 years, you might be able to start bouncing back by applying for a secured credit card or taking out a secured loan. Repaying your new debts on time and keeping your balances low can help put you back on the road to a stronger credit profile.

Learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy and when to use it.

Changes to your credit mix

Lenders like to see that you can handle different types of credit.

If you were recently approved for a new revolving account or personal loan, you might notice a positive impact on your credit.

Balancing your credit card bills with a mortgage or car payment can help you demonstrate a healthy credit mix. But remember: We don’t recommend opening a new account only to improve your credit mix.

Age of accounts

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The older your credit accounts are, the better.

The age of your credit history shows lenders you have a track record of managing credit. It’s especially important to keep your first credit card open, even after you pay off the balance and stop using the card on a regular basis, because it helps you demonstrate experience handling credit.

Learn more about how your credit history impacts your credit health.

Balances

You may have heard the adage that if you have a credit card, you should carry a small balance. But you’d do well to stay clear of that “advice.” Ideally, you want to pay off your credit card balance each month.

But doing that isn’t always possible — we get it. The next best thing is to consistently pay more than the minimum balance to chip away at your credit card debt. As you begin to lower your total amount due, you may notice your scores begin to climb. That’s because you’re lowering your credit usage.

Learn more about how credit utilization affects your credit scores.


What’s next: How a daily credit score helps you make financial progress

It’s important to check your credit reports on a regular basis, so you can get a better idea of why and when your credit scores change.

Practically speaking, we realize you might not need to check your credit reports every single day. But in some cases — like if you’re applying for a new account or you’re working hard on building credit and want to closely track your progress — it can be tough waiting a whole week to see a credit score update.

Access through Credit Karma to daily credit scores from TransUnion gives you the flexibility to check your TransUnion credit score on demand daily, when you want to.


About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.