Anytime you’re trying to build up your credit scores, checking for the needle to shift into the green part of the dial can get pretty addictive. But is it worth it? How often are your credit scores updated and can it hurt them to keep checking?
What is your credit score?
Your credit scores are numerical values, which summarise your credit reports. They're calculated by the top three credit reference agencies (CRAs) in the UK: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Your credit history is used by lenders to look at your previous borrowing behaviour so they can decide whether they’re willing to offer you credit, and at what rates.
That means if you want to get a phone contract, take out a mortgage, finance a car, or borrow money, you’ll have a better chance of being accepted and/or offered a decent interest rate if your credit score is higher.
You can read more about what a credit score is and what affects it here. You can also find out more about the difference between your credit score and your credit report here. But if you’re working on improving your credit score, how often can you check it and does checking your own credit score hurt it? Let’s get into it.
Why should you check your credit score?
Check for errors
If you check your credit score frequently, you're more likely to notice any errors on your report. If your score drops suddenly and you’re not sure why, it could be because there’s an incorrect piece of information on your credit report and you need to remove it.
This happens more than you think and can hurt your credit score unnecessarily. If there is a mistake on your credit score you can contact the CRAs to ask them to fix it. Remember, a mistake on one CRA may not be on another, so you need to check each one. You can read more about how to correct errors in your credit report here.
Apply for credit
If you’re thinking about applying for credit, like a loan or a credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit score first. You want to make sure your credit score is in good shape. If your application is declined it can actually lower your credit score even further. Checking your credit scores gives you an idea of how trustworthy you appear to lenders.
Did you know you have three credit scores?
There are three credit reference agencies in the UK — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Each holds a credit report for you and so each has a credit score for you too. These three agencies calculate their scores differently.
Whether you want to check your credit score every day or once a year, you can use these really useful services for free and without harming your scores:
*ClearScore gives us a small commission if you sign up for them using this link.
Are credit scores updated daily or weekly?
The lenders you have agreements with report your credit activity to the CRAs every month. If you take out a new credit agreement, like a credit card or a personal loan, the company providing you with the line of credit will start to report it to the three CRAs too. That information goes to the CRAs on a monthly basis.
The ongoing information that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion get about your credit agreements include:
- how much you’ve borrowed,
- how well you pay it back,
- and what your remaining balance is.
All this information feeds into your credit report and affects your credit scores.
But to complicate things a little, all of the lenders will update their information about you at different times during the month. This means that there isn’t one recurring date when all of your information updates.
Instead, it trickles in throughout the month and could change at any time. So if you’ve been scratching your head wondering “so, do credit scores update daily?”, you’ll be pleased to hear the answer is no, and you can take it off your list of daily tasks.
Helpfully though, the CRAs often update your credit score to show changes within one week of them occurring. So if you’re urgently waiting for something to change, it’s worth checking your credit score once a week at most.
But the main cycle of activity will be monthly. Checking daily usually isn’t worth it! It takes 4-6 weeks for information to appear on your report.
Can you check your credit score daily without hurting it?
Yes, you can! There are two types of searches that can be done on your credit report: hard and soft credit checks.
Hard searches are done by lenders when you apply for a loan or mortgage. These will be reported on your credit history and can temporarily reduce your credit score.
But when you check your own credit score it’s known as a soft credit check. While soft credit checks are recorded on your credit report they don’t affect your credit score at all. There are times when other companies will do soft credit checks on you, but if you’re applying for credit it is likely to be a hard credit check.
How can I boost my credit score?
If you’re tapping your foot waiting for your credit score to go up, Loqbox could help you give it a boost. Our members have seen their score rise by 125 points in the first six months of using Loqbox Grow. Simply pay your £2.50 a week Loqbox membership to get started and give your credit score a boost.
Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed