The three largest national consumer credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – don’t calculate your credit score from scratch. To do this, every credit bureau needs data. And one source of this data is your creditors.
If you are a Capital One credit card holder, you might be wondering when this creditor sends your data to credit bureaus. (Also note that Capital One reports regularly to all three offices.)
To understand when Capital One reports credit usage to bureaus, we will:
- Discuss what the sender is reporting
- Review the how, when and why of issuers reporting
- Find out what’s important about your payment history and credit usage – and what you can do to improve them
How often does Capital One report to credit bureaus
According to Capital One, it typically provides your credit information to all three bureaus every 30 to 45 days.
The company doesn’t say exactly when it does, but it’s okay for creditors to report your data at the end of each billing cycle.
Capital One also doesn’t say exactly what it is saying, but based on a review of the information that appears on a credit report, you can reasonably guess that Capital One is saying:
- Your payment history for two years
- Your balance
- Your highest balance
- The amount of your last payment
- The past due amount
- The type of account
- The status of the account (open, closed, debited, etc.)
- The opening date of the account
- Who is responsible for the account
Other information may be reported, depending on your personal situation. Additionally, Capital One states that your credit report will show when the issuer provided your data to each office.
A key piece of data is your balance. With this information, the higher your credit limit, a credit bureau can determine your usage rate. More information on this very important report in a moment.
How often do issuers report to credit bureaus?
In general, all issuers have every interest in keeping their credit profiles up to date (because they benefit from accurate and up-to-date consumer data). So they tend to report on a regular basis. Capital One’s reporting rate is not out of the ordinary.
That doesn’t mean, however, that they always do. There is no legal mandate to report cardholder activity, and there are issuers out there that don’t care. In addition, some credit card issuers report to one or two bureaus, but not all three.
Creditors don’t have to reveal when they report data, which credit bureaus they report to, or even if they report in the first place. That said, most issuers don’t try to keep this a secret. You can often get this information from a quick phone call to your sender or a short message through their online chat service.
So at the end of the day, there is no single reporting standard. Different issuers report at different rates and at different times.
However, there are many situations in which you might want to know this information, such as when you are:
- About to apply for a job that requires a credit check
- Trying to get a mortgage
- Thinking about applying for a new credit card
In such cases, it’s good to know when these reporting dates occur (if your issuer is reporting in the first place). Take a few moments to contact your issuer to find out these details, then try to pay off some of your debt before the closing date if you can afford it. Reducing balances always improves the appearance of your credit report. It should also help increase your score.
Why Using Credit Is Important
The reason that reducing your balances can increase your FICO® score (or VantageScore – a competitive credit scoring model) is that your credit utilization rate has a big effect on your credit score. Usage is your revolving debt balances against your credit limits, or the amount of your available credit currently in use. It is calculated for each card and globally.
Suppose, for example, that you have the following balances and limits on a four card wallet: