When you are trying to improve your credit score it is easy to find yourself checking back on Experian every hour or two and pretty soon you start to feel like it’s never going to improve. Don’t worry though, it will do in time.
Rule 1; It’s not about your credit score
Your credit score is just a number. Each credit agency works it out differently and your credit score will be different depending on where you check it. What you actually want to know is perhaps when your Experian credit score changes, or your Equifax one…
Really though, what matters is your financial record. If your Experian score increases it is certainly reassuring to see, but it will only change as your credit history changes. Additionally, lenders don’t look at your score in isolation, they will look at your credit file in its entirely and make decisions based on their own criteria.
A better question would be; How often does my credit file update?
Your credit history on improves when the information in it changes. Certainly as time goes by certain ‘unfavourable’ items will become less significant, but those that process will only impact your score very slowly.
Adding new information to your file
Fortunately, if you use credit in your daily life you will be adding new information to your credit file constantly and unless you miss any payments this information is all
good. Every time new information is added your score ‘may’ be increased or decreased.
Generally anyone who gives you credit will have to report information about your account to the main credit agencies. In most cases this is done roughly once a month. So that means each month your credit file is gaining several new pieces of information from anyone who gives you credit.
That can include:
Personal loans, credit cards, store cards, fuel cards, overdrafts, electricity bill, gas bill, mobile phone contract, car finance etc…
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for new information to come in each month.
When the information actually goes on depends on when the creditor updates your info. So if you pay off a loan the day before that creditor reports to Experian then your credit score may go up within a day or two, but if you make that final payment the day after then it might be a month before you get the benefit of it.
Of course the other thing to keep in mind is that relatively small bits of information won’t have a big impact. So if you have just paid a few monthly bills this month and not a lot else you shouldn’t expect big improvements in your score. But if you have just paid off a big loan then you might notice a small jump within the next month or so.