Updating personal information on your credit reports

Young blonde woman updating personal information on her credit reportImage: Young blonde woman updating personal information on her credit report

In a Nutshell

If you want your credit reports to state a new name, address or employer, get in touch with your creditors and ask them to change their records. Your addresses, names and jobs aren't factored into your credit scores, but it's better to be prudent and keep your information up-to-date.
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Whenever I move, the first thing I make sure to change is the address my magazine subscription goes to. It’s the one essential I can’t imagine leaving behind at the wrong address.

But what about important services that you only use occasionally, like the post office and the dentist? On top of the stress that accompanies changing addresses, names or jobs, it’s smart to notify these companies as well to avoid any hiccups.

Now, you might be asking yourself if you also need to reach out to the credit bureaus.

The answer is …

You’re off the hook! You don’t need to contact the credit bureaus to update the personal information on your credit reports. Instead, get in touch with your creditors and ask them to update your records with your new address, name or employer.

When your creditors send their monthly updates to the credit bureaus, they’ll include your new information and your credit reports will be updated. Of course, you can always contact the credit bureaus directly to correct any errors.

Since you’ll need to wait for both your creditors and the bureaus to make their respective changes, practicing some patience might come in handy. It’s hard to say exactly how long you’ll have to wait, but since creditors generally only report once a month, it could take about 30 to 45 days for the changes to reflect.

Does old personal information affect your credit health?

It’s generally wise to try and keep these things updated, but not doing so also won’t necessarily impact your credit health. If you’ve recently changed your name, you may be concerned about maintaining the credit history tied to your previous name, but keep in mind that your credit is also tied to your Social Security number (which should stay the same). In the same vein, your credit doesn’t need your latest address or employer information to keep chugging along.

In fact, after your new data is added to your reports, your old data will stick around and act as additional identifying information. If you apply for a new credit card or job, this helps potential creditors or employers match your application to your credit reports. But keep in mind that a credit report isn’t designed to include a complete history of the places you’ve lived and worked at. Companies don’t see it that way, and it’s okay if it isn’t exhaustive.

Is the information wrong?

As always, monitoring your credit information is essential to your long-term credit health. After you’ve contacted your creditors, make sure to regularly check your credit reports on Credit Karma and also keep an eye out for fraudulent activity.

If you don’t recognize a name or address on your report, it’s possible someone opened an account with your information, and you may need to file a dispute to address that.

Bottom line

Your addresses, names and jobs aren’t factored into your scores (but these components are), so don’t fret if this information isn’t immediately updated on your credit reports.

Still, like the rest of your reports, it’s better to be prudent and keep your information up-to-date. Ask your creditors to make the changes as soon as you can.