How often does your credit score update? It’s a common question shared by almost everyone who’s working on their finances. Planning for your financial future requires an ability to predict how various elements will change over time. But credit scores often seem unpredictable and out of our control. However, this unpredictability is often simply due to misconceptions regarding the larger credit system as a whole. You’ll soon see how you can get a better view of your credit score and how often you should check it.
Understand, you don’t have just one “Credit Score”
An important point that many people do not realize is that you do not have one definitive credit score.
Each person has multiple scores at any one time across the diffirent credit bureaus and even different scores from within THE SAME bureau.
Sometimes these scores are very different to each other and can vary by as much as 50-100 points at the exact same moment. So if you have done things to change your score (both positive or negative) and are wanting to know when they will be reflected in your score you need to be sure the changes are from updates and not just the difference between looking at different scores.
Why does my score differ so much?
It is reasonable to wonder why there can be such diferences in scores. The three credit agencies each do things slightly differently when compiling your credit report, from which your primary credit score is derived. This score is directly affected by your payments on time, the size of your credit lines, and the amount you owe in loans, among many other things, the weighting that the bureaus and their different reports put on each of those factors results in different scores being calculated.
How to Check Your Credit Score
Most questions about credit scores come about when planning for the future. For example, you might have fallen in love with the idea of installing a new pool after discovering how simple pool financing can be. And this is the point where most people start to wonder about their credit score. The better your credit score the smoother a loan application process will go. But how exactly do you check your credit score?
The answer is fairly simple.
You can request a copy of your credit report for free from the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
The only downside is that you can only make the request a limited number of times per year. Remember that each of these companies will have different scores (and sometimes multiple scores) so be careful not to get too caught up on the exact figure or difference in score between bureaus you should instead focus more on the range the scores are in.
You want to use your score to determine roughly where your credit stands and then monitor its trajectory over time.
The Difference Between Hard and Soft Credit Pulls
As you look into your credit score you might see the term soft credit pull come up. And you might also see it mentioned in contrast to a hard pull. The terminology can seem a little intimidating at first. But hard vs soft credit pulls are just somewhat complex labels for a simple idea.
A “pull” refers to the process of pulling out information about your credit score. If you’re personally looking into your own credit score it’s a soft pull. But if a company looks into your information it’s considered a hard pull. A hard pull is typically performed when you apply for a loan. And it’s often a good idea to do a soft pull before putting in an application so that you can know what your current credit score is.
Note: When applying for a Pool Loan with Viking Capital we only do soft pulls so it will not negatively affect your score and can be done multiple times.
What Does the Score Mean?
When you do a soft pull you’ll receive a lot of information about your credit history. But the actual credit score you will be given will range from 1 to 850. The specific number is less important than the range it’s within. If your score is under 700 it’s generally considered poor and you should start taking actions to improve it as you will not qualify for many loans and those you can get will have unfavorable rates. A score in the range 700-750 is ok to good. 800 is the gold standard in scores and some banks actually offer reduces rates for people over 800.
Your credit score number will go up or down as a response to a number of different factors. But you can think of it as a measure of how well you’re working with credit at any given moment. If you’re doing a good job repaying credit card debt and loans then your credit score should go up.
How To Help Maintain and Improve Your Credit Scores
You can also improve your credit score by actively working with a number of different strategies at the same time. For example, you can talk to a credit counselor to negotiate for lower payments that are easier to pay back. At the same time, you can concentrate on fully repaying the remaining funds on both smaller and older accounts. Those older accounts are often weighed more strongly than newer ones. For example, your first credit card has a stronger impact on your credit score than one you’ve just signed up for. You can improve your credit score by paying off your oldest credit accounts and keeping them open afterward.
The answer to how often does your credit score update is linked to the number of associated items in your life. The more areas where you pay back credit, the more positive reports are sent to credit reporting agencies. How long for credit score to update also depends on some tertiary factors.
Bringing Everything Together
Everything mentioned so far plays a role in your credit score. And most of them are reported fairly frequently. Creditors typically send monthly reports to the financial bureaus. But if you’re using multiple lenders then each will have a separate report that’s sent on different days.
This means that your credit score is essentially updated on a day-to-day basis. Though the score might take up to a month to reflect any specific action.
If you want to learn more about credit scores check out our related posts on them: