Your credit card company sends information about your account to the major credit bureaus, which is where your credit scores are generated from. What you might not know is when this information is reported or what impact it could have on your scores. Here’s how it works.
Credit cards report to credit bureaus.
The three major credit bureaus in the United States are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. The credit bureaus collect information on your credit history, including any accounts you have that are open or closed with a certain amount of available credit (e.g., a car loan). This can include all kinds of loans and debts—homes, cars and personal loans as well as student loans. They also keep track of how much money you owe and whether or not you’ve paid off your debt over time.
Credit cards report to these three companies every month when it comes time for them to bill their customers for interest payments on unpaid balances—or if there’s been any activity at all such as making purchases with the card or transferring money out of an account linked to one’s credit line (essentially using cash advances).
Credit card issuers typically report to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) on a monthly basis.
Credit card issuers typically report to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) on a monthly basis. In some cases, credit card companies may report your balance and payment history more frequently than once per month. If you have an outstanding balance on your credit card account and make multiple payments to that debt within a given month, your issuer may report those updates in-between their regular reporting intervals. This could mean that you see your balances fluctuate from month to month as the issuer files updates less often than once each 30 days.
Credit card issuers may report your balance and payment history more frequently.
Some credit card issuers may report your balance and payment history more frequently. If you have a high balance or a high interest rate, they might report your credit card information to the bureaus more frequently than other issuers.
The timing of when your credit card issuer reports your information depends on the company’s reporting schedule.
The timing of when your credit card issuer reports your information depends on the company’s reporting schedule. All issuers should have a monthly reporting cycle, but in some cases, they may report more frequently than that.
For example, American Express and Citi tend to report monthly while Chase and Capital One generally report every two weeks. Other banks may have different schedules depending on their internal processes and policies—for example, Bank of America typically reports within three business days after the statement closes each month but sometimes will get behind and report late or not at all (for more information about this issue see Bank of America Credit Card Not Reporting).
The date doesn’t matter as long as the account is reported in good standing.
The date you make the payment doesn’t matter as long as the account is reported in good standing. For example, if you pay your card bill on Nov. 1st and report it to the credit bureaus on Nov. 1st, then that payment will be reflected on your credit reports by Dec. 1st (assuming they are processed monthly). The same would apply if you paid your bill on Dec. 10th and reported it on Dec 10th; the next time they report will be Jan 10th or 11th depending if they process weekly or bi-weekly (but not until after Jan 10th for those who do weekly).
You need to make sure that the account is still open before making payments though! If there are late fees or other issues with a closed account then no one can contact that creditor anymore so their records may not reflect current information about payments made through another source like TeleCheck or DirectExpress (if applicable).
Your payment history is not instantly updated on your credit report.
Your payment history is not instantly updated on your credit report. The FICO score that lenders use to evaluate your creditworthiness is based on data from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), but it doesn’t include information from all three at once.
Instead, it pulls one month’s worth of data from each bureau—this means that it takes about two months for a new account to update on your FICO score. And even then, only activity that has taken place since the last time you checked will be reflected in those updates. For example: if you opened a card in March 2019 and paid off its balance before April 1st, 2020—then applied for another card after April 1st—the original card would show no balance at all until July 1st or later when the second application reported information back to the bureaus again!
Credit card activity is reported once a month, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until the end of the month to pay your bills. Missing payments or paying late can negatively impact your credit score and damage your credit history. If you need help managing your finances to avoid late payments, start by creating a monthly budget.