When Do Credit Cards Report to the Credit Bureaus?
Your credit card issuer reports information to the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Knowing when this happens can be advantageous to you as a cardholder.
Contributing Writer at Tally
February 17, 2022
If you have a credit card, it's important to understand what credit bureaus are and when your lender will report your information to them. Having an understanding of this can help you manage your due dates and payments, and also potentially improve your credit score.
So, when do credit cards report to the bureaus? We can help answer that. We’ll start with a high-level overview of what the credit bureaus are. Then, we’ll dive into when your credit card issuer will report to the bureaus and how often they'll do so. Lastly, we'll cover how you can use this information to your advantage to improve your financial situation.
What are credit bureaus?
A credit bureau is essentially a credit reporting agency. There are three major credit bureaus:
Each bureau collects information on individual consumers and then produces a credit report. The details contained in the credit report are then used by the credit scoring agencies (i.e., FICO and VantageScore) to determine your credit score.
Lenders can view your FICO Score or VantageScore and use it to make decisions about your lending applications for things like::
A new credit card account
Debt consolidation loans
In addition to using your credit score to determine whether you're eligible to borrow money and open a new account, lenders can also use your credit score to establish the interest rates you'll receive on your loan. Overall, the information the credit bureaus receive is quite influential.
When do credit cards report to the bureaus?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The timing of the report depends on your credit card company. Technically, your lender isn’t legally obligated to report any of your information to the bureaus. So, you'll want to check with your credit card company to find out if they report to the bureaus and when they do so.
However, most credit card companies report to the bureaus at the end of your billing cycle. The type of information reported includes your credit card balances and any missed payments.
For example, if your statement closing date is on the 25th of every month, your credit card company might report to one of the bureaus on that day if they choose to report your information at all.
How often do credit cards report to bureaus?
As explained above, credit card companies typically report to the bureaus once per month. But again, this can vary from lender to lender. You may want to consider reaching out to your credit card company to figure out when and how often they report to the credit bureaus.
It's also worth noting that credit card companies may not report to all three bureaus at once. Or they may only report to one or two of them, not all three.
Overall, an important thing to remember is that you should keep your accounts in good standing. Keeping your accounts in good standing not only establishes a strong credit history, but it reduces the need for you to worry about when your credit card company will report your information to the bureaus.
How can you use this knowledge to your benefit?
Knowing when your credit card company reports to the bureaus could potentially be helpful when building your credit score.
First off, regardless of when your credit card company reports, you shouldstrive to pay off your balance in full by your due date. Doing so establishes a strong payment history and reduces the risk of a late payment showing up on your credit file. A late payment — or missed payment — can result in penalty fees, and harm your credit score as well.
If you can’t make your payments in full, you should at least pay the minimum required amount in order to avoid late fees. However, your existing balance will be reported to the bureaus. The less available credit you have, the more you may potentially harm your credit score.
That's due to something known as the credit utilization ratio. The credit utilization ratio measures the amount of credit you're using versus the total amount of credit you have available. For instance, let's say you have three cards with credit limits of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000. You carry $4,000 in balances on these cards. Your credit utilization ratio is $4,000 divided by $10,000, or 40%.
You should aim to keep your credit utilization rate below 30%. So, let's say the due date for your payment is on the 15th of every month. Your billing cycle ends on the 25th of every month, which is also when your credit card company reports to the bureaus.
You recognize that your current credit usage is more than 30%. So, you decide to pay off a portion of your balance before your billing cycle ends on the 25th, as this is when your balance is documented and reported.
Based on the example above, you pay down your balances to less than $3,000. By doing so, you lower your credit utilization rate before your issuing company reports it to the bureaus and it becomes a part of your credit file.
The exact influence that your credit utilization ratio has on your credit score isn't quite known, but your payment history and use of available credit do have influence.
Your FICO credit score is calculated based on the following factors and weightings:
Payment history: 35%
Amounts owed: 30%
Length of credit history: 15%
Credit mix: 10%
New credit: 10%
VantageScore doesn't define the exact percentages they use to determine scores. But here is the breakdown of its factors and how influential they are:
Total credit usage, balance and available credit: Extremely influential
Credit mix and experience: Highly influential
Payment history: Moderately influential
Age of credit history: Less influential
New accounts: Less influential
You can use specific payment methods or strategies to help you time your payments in an effort to maximize your credit score. One such example is the 15/3 credit card payoff hack.
However, no matter what strategy you choose, it’s important to remember the basic principles of credit card management. If you strive to make on-time payments in full by the due date, you'll not only avoid credit card debt, but you'll also improve your chances of increasing your credit score.
Knowing how credit reporting works can help improve your personal finances
If you own a credit card, you may have asked yourself the question, "When do credit cards report to the credit bureaus?" The answer depends on your lender, though it’s often the same day as your billing cycle end date.
You can use this information to your advantage. This knowledge can help you manage your due dates and payment strategy to ensure that you're maximizing the chances of improving your credit score.
Improving your credit score and personal finances takes time. Change doesn't happen overnight. If you're looking to stay up to date with the latest financial tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to Tally's† newsletter.
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