How Often Does Your Credit Score Change?

Man checking his credit score on a computer
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Waiting for your credit score to improve seems like it can take forever. If you're checking daily, like most of us do now that there are so many convenient apps to keep up with your score, you probably notice that your credit score moves moves up and down all the time. One day you might gain a few points, the next day you might lose a few. This can happen even if you're checking the same credit bureau's credit score on the same app. These fluctuations are completely normal.

How Often Does Your Credit Score Change?

Your credit score could change as often as daily. Changes to your credit score depend entirely on how often your credit report is updated. Remember, your credit score is a numerical summary of the information in your credit report.

Your creditors and lenders are continuously making updates to your credit report throughout the month. Each time you check your credit score, it's recalculated based on the information in your credit report at that point in time. Information that's added, deleted, or aging can affect your credit score.

This is why your credit score may be one number on one day and a different number on the next day. Your credit score might also remain stagnant for several days then suddenly gain or lose several points.

While your credit score can change daily, it doesn't necessarily respond instantly to actions you take with your credit. For example, if you pay off a credit card today, your credit score won't reflect that payment tomorrow (unless you paid on the last day of your billing cycle). That's because there's typically a delay between the time you take the action and the time the credit card issuer (or other business) reports that change to the credit bureaus. Give your credit score time to respond to your efforts to improve it.

What Do Credit Score Changes Mean?

Your credit score may fluctuate daily, but don't rely on these small movements - whether up or down - as an indication as to whether your credit is improving. Instead, judge the movement of your credit score over a period of time, several weeks or months, to get an idea of where your credit is headed.

On the other hand, if you see a big drop in your credit score, investigate it further to see what's caused such a major change in your credit score. There may have been new negative information added to your credit score, like a late payment, a new account, or a large credit card balance amount. Occasionally, old information falling off your credit report can cause your credit score to drop. In some cases, your credit score can drop even if an old collection account falls off your credit report.

You can monitor daily changes to your Equifax and TransUnion credit scores via Credit Karma and monthly changes to your Experian credit score via Credit Sesame. Both services are free and don't require a credit card. They're both great services to track changes to your credit scores and include tools to let you know how the information in your credit report has changed. This makes it easier to gauge what credit report information is contributing to movements in your credit score.