Check Your Credit Report: How Often is Too Often?

Check Your Credit ReportHow often should you check your credit report? Is there such a thing as checking your financial profile TOO much? You may be asking yourself these questions if you’re feeling overly concerned with your credit score.

The brief answer is that you have every right to check your credit report anytime you want to. However, there are times when you simply DO need to do so. Taking a look at various practices, such as credit checking, credit monitoring, and credit treatment, might give you an approximate idea of how much you should investigate those digits.

The Frequency of Credit Reporting

When you check your credit report, you should consider the frequency of credit reporting. Your credit score is not going to change unless some major event happens that will prompt a change. Some of the things that can affect your score either negatively or positively are:

  • Inquiries
  • New credit lines
  • Missed payments
  • Timely payments
  • Account closure

Inquiries are one of the few credit issues that will affect your credit score right away. Sometimes, they will pop up on your credit report in less than 72 hours, and your credit score will feel the effects of that immediately.

Your credit account activity is a different story, however. The reporting process is somewhat funky, meaning that the credit bureaus don’t pressure your creditors to immediately report your activity. Typically, the creditors that are good and honorable about reporting do it every month or every 30 days.

Credit card companies, vehicle lenders, and department stores are likely to report your activity on time and consistently. Other companies may do it every two or three months, if they do it at all.

Times When You Should Check Your Credit Score

Only three instances should provoke you to check your credit score: suspicion of fraud, knowledge of a self-initiated action, and when you desire something. It’s smart to check your credit score right before you go to apply for a car, credit card, mortgage, or personal loan.

By knowing your credit score, you also know your odds against the creditor’s views. You can also take some steps to improve your credit score before you complete your application and make your chances of approval high.

One thing you can do is look at your report and dispute any charges that do not look genuine. You can also pay down some existing debt, and ask for all inaccurate information to be fixed or changed. Sometimes, doing all of those things can give you a substantial increase in your credit score.

How Many Times Should You Check Your Credit Score?

The number of times that you get your credit report is your decision and depends on your circumstances. You should at least get it done because you have access and rights to at least one copy of your report every year.

As a rule, if you’re not satisfied with checking it just once per year, you should do it each quarter. That’s a small compromise that you may like because it’s not too little and not too much.

Alternatives to Checking Your Credit Score Repeatedly

You could take some alternative steps instead of repeatedly checking your credit score. One thing you can do is sign up for a service that notifies of when your credit report changes. Credit Karma is just one example of a site that will do timely updates and let you know as soon as it catches wind that something has changed. Alternatively,  you could sign up for an actual credit monitoring service.

Credit monitoring services can give you an extra level of protection when you need it the most. Both of these types of services send you emails and text messages to let you know that your score has changed. They will also let you know of shady new accounts and things of that nature. You won’t need to check your credit score repeatedly because you will automatically get your updates.

How Often Should You Check Your Credit Report?

How often should you check your credit report? The recommended amount of times to check your credit report is two to four times a year. The credit monitoring service can compensate for those in-between times when you might feel the urge to get a little borderline obsessive with checking your stats. ♦