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Credit scores are a critical piece of your financial makeup. If you’re trying to improve your score and want to track your progress, here’s how long you’ll need to wait for your FICO score to update. This is especially important if you plan on making a major purchase like a house or a car soon.
Your credit score will change frequently, reflecting new data and updates to your credit report from the three major credit bureaus. Credit report information appears at different times throughout the month so there may be times where it takes only a few days or possibly weeks before your score updates.
Here’s what you need to know about how and why credit scores change and where to check your credit score for free.
When Does my FICO Score Update?
There is no single answer to this question. 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 Often Do Creditors Report to Bureaus?
Each creditor reports to the bureaus according to its own schedule, typically every 30 to 45 days, and the reports are rarely made to all three bureaus at the same time. For example, one creditor might send a report to Experian this week but not get it to TransUnion until next week.
Every update from a creditor brings the potential for adjustments to your credit report, which are reflected in changes in your credit scores. Depending on how many credit accounts you have, it’s possible for your credit score to change weekly or even daily.
Exactly how much your score will change with each update depends on how much your credit card balances fluctuate, how often you apply for and open new credit accounts, and whether you’re keeping up with your bill payments.
Two tools that may be able to update your credit score quicker are Rapid Rescoring and Experian Boost.
What is Rapid Rescoring?
A rapid rescore is a service offered by some lenders, including banks and credit unions, to request a fresh and current version of your credit report in a matter of days. This is considerably quicker than the monthly timeline in which your credit is commonly updated.
Lenders use rapid rescoring predominantly for mortgage loans because they are more time sensitive and have larger implications than other loans. Even a small increase in a mortgage interest rate can cost the borrower thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan, so this can be an especially useful tool.
A rapid rescore is a method by which you can raise your credit score quickly by submitting proof of positive account changes to the three major credit bureaus. The process can lift your score by up to 100 points or more within days, if erroneous or negative information is cleared from your credit profile.
While rapid rescoring is often promised to raise your credit score, it is really nothing more than a way to update your credit report with the most recent information. Rapid rescoring should not be confused with credit repairing and in some cases your credit score can drop if something negative shows up on your report since the time your credit was last updated.
When Should you use a Rapid Rescore?
A rapid rescore is best used when it will work to your advantage — right before you apply for a large loan or any other significant type of credit. A rescore will ensure that your entire credit profile is completely updated and ready for any application process.
If you have a false negative item on your credit report, rapid rescoring may help you qualify for a better mortgage rate more quickly than disputing the error.
If you worked on any last-minute credit building practices or requested the removal of any negative items, a rapid rescore will make sure all of your latest credit patterns are reflected on your credit report.
A rapid rescore will not raise your credit score alone, but rather update your current credit profile.
How much does a Rapid Rescore Cost?
Rapid rescoring fees can run anywhere from $25-$40 per account, per bureau. However, Mortgage lenders and brokers cannot charge the borrower for any part of this cost. As such, not all lenders or brokers offer the program.
Just be aware that while the lender cannot charge you for the fee directly, closing fees may be higher because the cost will almost certainly be reclaimed in one way or another.
What is Experian Boost?
Another service you may be interested in is Experian Boost. This is a service that helps consumers improve their FICO Score by giving them credit for on-time payments with utility, telephone, and certain streaming service companies. Experian Boost is good for people with little to no credit history as well as established borrowers looking to increase their credit scores.
Payments for these services historically are not factored into your credit score. Experian Boost is the first product to change that, boosting your credit scores immediately if qualified on-time payments are found in your bank accounts.
How Much Does Experian Boost Cost?
Experian Boost is completely free. Once you sign up, you’ll automatically be enrolled in a free Experian CreditWorks Basic membership, which offers additional services such as free credit monitoring and a free FICO Score. There is no additional charge to connect your bank accounts, and if you choose to disconnect your account, you can keep your Experian CreditWorks Basic membership.
If you pay a utility, telecom, or Netflix bill using your bank accounts, consider using Experian Boost to get credit for your past on-time payments and instantly raise your credit scores. Early analysis of Experian’s Boost impact on U.S. consumer credit scores showed promising results. Here’s a snapshot of some of those findings: Where to Get FICO Score for Free Discover Credit Scorecard Anyone can get a free FICO score with Discover Bank’s Credit Scorecard. You don’t even need to have an account with Discover to use this service. To see your score, you’ll need to: Provide your email address and set up a password Give your name, address, date of birth,
- and Social Security Number
- Indicate whether you are a student or not
- Answer some security questions based on publicly available information
Your Current Credit Cards
Another way to get your FICO score for free is from the credit cards you currently use.
Most major credit card issuers now offer free FICO scores as a perk for being a customer. Here are a few examples of credit card issuers that offer free scores with some or all of their cards:
- Credit Karma is a site that will give you two different scores for free. One based on your TransUnion credit report and one based on your Equifax credit report. They will calculate your score using VantageScore 3.0
- Credit Sesame is another option for getting your free non-FICO score. They also use VantageScore 3.0, but you only get one score, and it’s based on your TransUnion credit report.