Almost everyone has a credit card. In fact, according to Debt.org, more than 191 million Americans have one. The average credit card user has nearly three credit cards to their name.
Credit cards can be useful, but it’s important to use them properly to ensure you maintain good credit. If you’re in the process of building credit, knowing when your cards’ issuers report to the credit bureaus is doubly important.
Knowing when credit card issuers report to credit agencies helps you keep your overall credit card balances and credit utilization ratio in check. This helps boost your credit score, especially if you have a newer credit file. So read on to find out when you can expect those balances — and other important information — to show up on your credit report.
When Do Credit Card Companies Report to Credit Bureaus?
Credit card issuers report the details of your credit card account to the credit bureaus each month. Each report includes the following information:
- Your account balance
- Your credit limit
- Whether you’ve missed any payments or made any late payments
In general, credit card companies report the status of your account to the credit bureaus at the end of each billing cycle. According to Equifax, card issuers that report to any of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion — must report monthly, preferably on the date of the billing cycle ending.
Though reporting with each statement date means card issuers send updates to the bureaus each day, that isn’t necessarily required. Instead, they can send information on all accounts to the bureaus on the same day every month. This can add a bit of lag time between your statement closing and when the info shows up on your credit report.
This is most common with smaller card issuers who want to save on the cost and effort of sending updates to the bureaus multiple times a month. Depending on when your statement closes and the day of the month the car issuer sends info to the credit bureaus, you could wind up waiting almost a full month after the billing cycle ends for the information to show on your report.
Also, keep in mind that your credit cards’ billing cycles may end on different dates. That means each card could show up on your credit report at a different point in the month.
Why It’s Important to Know When Credit Card Companies Report to Credit Bureaus
Knowing when your credit card companies report to the credit bureaus is important for a few reasons.
Adds to Your Payment History
Hopefully, you pay every credit card bill by the due date listed on the statement. So long as you make the minimum required payment before that date, your credit report reflects a timely payment — which can help increase your score over time.
If you have new credit or are trying to rebuild your credit, every timely payment has an outsize positive impact on your score. So knowing when a payment will hit your credit report is useful if you’re trying to improve your score for a specific purpose on a specific schedule — like getting prequalified for a mortgage.
New Accounts Will Show Up
When you get a new credit card, there’s usually an immediate impact on your credit score in the form of a hard inquiry. When a card issuer pulls your credit report from a credit reporting agency, your score is likely to drop — temporarily — by a few points.
Though the inquiry can show up right away, your new account won’t show up on your credit history until the card issuer reports its information to the credit bureaus.
That means it can take a month or more for new accounts to appear on your credit report. If you want to apply for more than one credit card in a short period of time, it’s typically easier to do if you don’t have multiple new accounts on your credit report.
On the other hand, if you’re getting a new credit card to build your payment history, it might take a month or two for it to show up and get to work.
Updates to Your Credit Limit and Balance Affect Your Utilization
A major factor in determining your credit score is your credit utilization ratio. This ratio compares your credit card balances to your total available credit. The lower your credit utilization, the more free credit you have and the better it is for your score.
For example, if you have two cards, one with a balance of $200 and a limit of $500 and another with a balance of $100 and a limit of $1,000, your total credit card debt is $300. Your total credit card limit is $1,500.
That makes your credit utilization ratio $300 / $1,500 = 20%.
Lenders see high credit utilization as a high-risk behavior. To ensure your credit utilization ratio remains a positive force for your credit score, try to keep it under 30%.
Knowing when your card issuers update the credit bureaus can be very important if you’re trying to manage your credit utilization.
Paying down your card balance before the issuer reports means they’ll report a lower balance. This keeps your utilization down and your credit score high. Which can have a big impact on your credit score as you work toward your financial goals.
Your credit cards impact your credit score in many ways, helping you build a strong history of timely payments and affecting the overall debt shown on your report.
Understanding how these things change your credit score and knowing when your card issuers report that information to the credit bureaus gives you greater control over your credit score.
To avoid hurting your credit score before applying for major loans like a mortgage, manage your credit utilization and be careful about when and how often you apply for new credit accounts.