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Credit scores tell lenders how responsible you are when managing debt. Your score can move up or down depending on different factors. But how often does a credit score update?

The simple answer is that credit scores can change when new information is added to your credit reports. That means credit scores may change several times per month or even daily. If you’re checking your credit, the score you see on any given day depends on the details in your credit file.

Learning more about how credit score changes work is helpful if raising your score is one of your financial goals.

What do credit score changes mean?

A credit score is a three-digit number that measures how you manage debt. FICO scores, which lenders most frequently use, range from 300 to 850.1 An 850 FICO® score is considered “perfect” credit.2

So, where do these scores come from? Credit scores are calculated using the information in your credit reports. The credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – are responsible for creating credit reports based on details provided by lenders.3

When a credit score changes, something in your credit file that’s used to calculate your score has changed. Whether a credit score change helps or hurts you depends on what’s different.

Start building credit with the secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card – no credit check required.*

Why do credit scores change?

Credit scores can change for several reasons. It comes down to how scores are calculated. Positive changes can add points to your score, while negative changes can take points away.

Here are some of the most common reasons for a credit score change.

1. Hard inquiries

A hard inquiry means that you’ve applied for credit and a lender has requested a copy of your credit file. Hard inquiries account for 10% of your FICO credit score, and each one can cost you a few credit score points.4

Chime pro tip: Soft inquiries, such as checking your credit yourself, won’t affect your credit score.

2. Late payments

Payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO credit score, making it the most important overall scoring factor. Paying credit cards or other debts late could cause a significant drop in your score. As a general rule, the higher your score is before a late payment shows up on your credit report, the steeper the decline tends to be.5

3. Bankruptcies

Bankruptcy can help you wipe the slate clean on debt and get a fresh start. But…having a bankruptcy case discharged, meaning the court has erased your debts, can take a serious toll on your credit score.

In terms of how long it takes for your credit to recover after bankruptcy, it depends on which chapter you filed. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on a credit report for up to 10 years, while Chapter 13 can stick around for up to seven years.6

If you ever find yourself considering bankruptcy, it helps to weigh the pros and cons.

4. High balances

After payment history, credit utilization is the second most important FICO credit scoring factor. Credit utilization refers to how much of your credit limit you use at any given time, making up 30% of your score.7

Maxing out credit cards can negatively affect your credit utilization ratio and cost you credit score points. A good rule of thumb to avoid that is only charging what you can afford to pay off in full each month.

5. Age of accounts

Credit age makes up 15% of your FICO credit score. The longer you’ve been using credit, the better. Why? Because lenders want to see that you have a lengthy track record of using credit responsibly.8

As your credit accounts age, that can positively impact your scores. New accounts, on the other hand, can drag your average credit age down.

How often does my credit score change?

Credit scores can be updated when lenders report new information to the credit bureaus. Lenders don’t all follow the same schedule for reporting, so the timing can vary.

Typically, lenders may report to the credit bureaus once every 30 to 45 days. But some might report at the beginning of the month, while others report at the end of the month or somewhere in the middle. That means your credit score can fluctuate multiple times throughout the month.9

If you’re checking your credit regularly, your score on any given day may not be the same as what you see the next day or week. That’s not necessarily bad; it just means that credit scores aren’t fixed or static.

Best tips to improve your credit score

A good credit score can make getting approved for loans and lines of credit easier. You’ve got a better shot at qualifying for lower interest rates when you have a higher score. So, it only makes sense to think about how to improve your score if it’s not where you’d like it to be.

Some of it comes down to simply developing good financial habits. But you can try a few credit score hacks to gain a few points. Here are our best tips for improving your credit, starting now:

  • Raise your credit limits. Credit card companies make it relatively easy to request a credit limit increase online. Raising your limit can help improve your credit utilization and potentially boost your score if you’re not running up additional debt on the card.
  • Pay down balances. Reducing what you owe to credit cards is another way to improve your credit utilization. Again, the key is to make sure the balances are going down instead of adding to them.
  • Become an authorized user. Being an authorized user means you can use someone else’s credit card, but you’re not responsible for the debt. When someone adds you to their credit account, it can appear on your credit reports. Assuming the primary cardholder has a solid payment history, that can help you build a good credit score.10
  • Correct credit report errors. Errors or inaccuracies on your credit reports could be dragging your scores down without you even realizing it. If you haven’t checked your credit reports lately, it may be time to look for errors or mistakes. If you find an error, you can dispute it with the credit bureau reporting the information. The credit bureau is obligated to investigate and either correct or remove errors when they’re found.11
  • Consider a rapid re-score. A “rapid re-score” means the credit bureaus recalculate your scores at your request. You might consider this option if you’ve recently paid off a debt or made an on-time payment; otherwise, you may not see a significant difference in your score.

Credit score changes are normal, so don't panic

Changing credit scores can be helpful if your score is moving in the right direction. But if you check your credit and see that you’ve lost points, don’t panic.

See what caused the change, then ask yourself what you might be able to do to turn it around. The more proactive you are about staying on top of your finances, the better your credit health is likely to be in the long run.

Curious about how your scores measure up? Learn what counts as a good credit score in your 20s.

* To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

FICO® Scores are developed by Fair Isaac Corporation. The FICO Score provided by ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., also referred to as Experian Consumer Services (“ECS”), in Experian CreditWorks℠, Credit Tracker℠ and/or your free Experian membership (as applicable) is based on FICO Score 8, unless otherwise noted. Many but not all lenders use FICO Score 8. In addition to the FICO Score 8, ECS may offer and provide other base or industry-specific FICO Scores (such as FICO Auto Scores and FICO Bankcard Scores). The other FICO Scores made available are calculated from versions of the base and industry-specific FICO Score models. There are many different credit scoring models that can give a different assessment of your credit rating and relative risk (risk of default) for the same credit report. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO Score than FICO Score 8 or such other base or industry-specific FICO Score, or another type of credit score altogether. Just remember that your credit rating is often the same even if the number is not. For some consumers, however, the credit rating of FICO Score 8 (or other FICO Score) could vary from the score used by your lender. The statement that “90% of top lenders use FICO Scores” is based on a third-party study of all versions of FICO Scores sold to lenders, including but not limited to scores based on FICO Score 8. Base FICO Scores (including the FICO Score 8) range from 300 to 850. Industry-specific FICO Scores range from 250-900. Higher scores represent a greater likelihood that you’ll pay back your debts so you are viewed as being a lower credit risk to lenders. A lower FICO Score indicates to lenders that you may be a higher credit risk. There are three different major credit reporting agencies — the Experian credit bureau, TransUnion® and Equifax® — that maintain a record of your credit history known as your credit report. Your FICO Score is based on the information in your credit report at the time it is requested. Your credit report information can vary from agency to agency because some lenders report your credit history to only one or two of the agencies. So your FICO Score can vary if the information they have on file for you is different. Since the information in your report can change over time, your FICO Score may also change.Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn More

Information from myFICO’s What Is a Credit Score and Why Is Important? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/what-is-a-fico-score

Information from myFICO’s About Credit Reports as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-reports

Information from myFICO’s Credit Checks: What are credit inquiries and how do they affect your FICO® Score? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-reports/credit-checks-and-inquiries

Information from myFICO’s What Is Payment History? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/payment-history

Information from myFICO’s What Are the Different Types of Bankruptcy and How Is Each Considered by My FICO® Score? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/faq/negative-reasons/bankruptcy-types

Information from myFICO’s What Is Amounts Owed? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/amount-of-debt

Information from myFICO’s What Is the Length of Your Credit History? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/length-of-credit-history

Information from the Consumer Data Industry Association’s How Credit Reporting Works as of January 3, 2024: https://www.cdiaonline.org/for-consumers/how-credit-reporting-works/

10 Information from myFICO’s How to Build Credit as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/how-to-build-credit

11 Information from myFICO’s How to fix errors on your credit reports and how they occur as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-reports/fixing-errors

Chime® is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card and the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card are issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit and credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your Card for its issuing bank.

While Chime doesn’t issue personal checkbooks to write checks, Chime Checkbook gives you the freedom to send checks to anyone, anytime, from anywhere. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Chime Checkbook details.

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Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A. (“Banks”). Banks are not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

* To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

1 FICO® Scores are developed by Fair Isaac Corporation. The FICO Score provided by ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., also referred to as Experian Consumer Services ("ECS"), in Experian CreditWorks℠, Credit Tracker℠ and/or your free Experian membership (as applicable) is based on FICO Score 8, unless otherwise noted. Many but not all lenders use FICO Score 8. In addition to the FICO Score 8, ECS may offer and provide other base or industry-specific FICO Scores (such as FICO Auto Scores and FICO Bankcard Scores). The other FICO Scores made available are calculated from versions of the base and industry-specific FICO Score models. There are many different credit scoring models that can give a different assessment of your credit rating and relative risk (risk of default) for the same credit report. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO Score than FICO Score 8 or such other base or industry-specific FICO Score, or another type of credit score altogether. Just remember that your credit rating is often the same even if the number is not. For some consumers, however, the credit rating of FICO Score 8 (or other FICO Score) could vary from the score used by your lender. The statement that "90% of top lenders use FICO Scores" is based on a third-party study of all versions of FICO Scores sold to lenders, including but not limited to scores based on FICO Score 8. Base FICO Scores (including the FICO Score 8) range from 300 to 850. Industry-specific FICO Scores range from 250-900. Higher scores represent a greater likelihood that you'll pay back your debts so you are viewed as being a lower credit risk to lenders. A lower FICO Score indicates to lenders that you may be a higher credit risk. There are three different major credit reporting agencies — the Experian credit bureau, TransUnion® and Equifax® — that maintain a record of your credit history known as your credit report. Your FICO Score is based on the information in your credit report at the time it is requested. Your credit report information can vary from agency to agency because some lenders report your credit history to only one or two of the agencies. So your FICO Score can vary if the information they have on file for you is different. Since the information in your report can change over time, your FICO Score may also change.Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn More

2 Information from myFICO's What Is a Credit Score and Why Is Important? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/what-is-a-fico-score

3 Information from myFICO's About Credit Reports as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-reports

4 Information from myFICO's Credit Checks: What are credit inquiries and how do they affect your FICO® Score? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-reports/credit-checks-and-inquiries

5 Information from myFICO's What Is Payment History? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/payment-history

6 Information from myFICO's What Are the Different Types of Bankruptcy and How Is Each Considered by My FICO® Score? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/faq/negative-reasons/bankruptcy-types

7 Information from myFICO's What Is Amounts Owed? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/amount-of-debt

8 Information from myFICO's What Is the Length of Your Credit History? as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/length-of-credit-history

9 Information from the Consumer Data Industry Association's How Credit Reporting Works as of January 3, 2024: https://www.cdiaonline.org/for-consumers/how-credit-reporting-works/

10 Information from myFICO's How to Build Credit as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/how-to-build-credit

11 Information from myFICO's How to fix errors on your credit reports and how they occur as of January 3, 2024: https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-reports/fixing-errors

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