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My Bank Gives Me a Credit Score Update Every Month. Here’s Why That’s Not Always a Good Thing

A man sitting on his couch in front of a laptop while holding his phone and a credit card.

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Many consumers are surprised to learn that their credit scores can't actually be found on their credit reports. It used to be that in some cases, you had to pay to find out your credit score. But these days, credit scores are a lot easier to access. Banks and credit card companies will often monitor your credit score for you and send you updates accordingly.

One of my banks sends me a credit score update every month. While you may think that would be a good thing, I actually find it quite annoying. Here's why.

When your notifications are too cryptic to be useful

Over the past few years, I've gotten my fair share of emails from my bank telling me that my credit score has gone up or down. And it's those “down” emails that I've felt compelled to look into right away. So what's happened is that I've dropped everything to go in and check my actual score, only to see that my bank was alerting me to a five- or 10-point drop.

In other words, those cryptic notifications generally do nothing but stress me out. The reality is that I don't care if my credit score is down a few points.

Granted, I'm in the fortunate position of having a great credit score to begin with. But even if that weren't the case, a five- or 10-point drop isn't going to have a huge impact on the typical consumer's ability to borrow. So these types of credit score updates really aren't so helpful.

Don't sweat modest changes

In many cases, checking your credit score every single month isn't necessary. A better cadence may be once every two to three months. The only exception is if you're gearing up to apply for a large loan, like a mortgage.

If you're trying to boost your credit score, chances are, that's something that will take time. So if you start out with a credit score of 680 one month and you check it the next month and see that it's 685, you might get discouraged, the same way you might lose hope if you're dieting, check the scale every other day, and don't see very much movement.

Now, one scenario where your credit score might rise substantially from one month to the next is if you pay off a chunk of credit card debt. That could cause your credit utilization ratio to shrink.

Similarly, you might check your credit score and see a modest drop from one month to the next. This can result from something as innocent as applying for a new credit card, and it's generally not something to sweat.

However, if you're 30 days late with a bill, your score might take a more significant hit. So while a five-point drop shouldn't really concern you, a 95-point drop should prompt you to figure out why your score plunged.

Check your credit score and report occasionally

These days, I tend to ignore those notifications from my bank because I find them unhelpful. Instead, I have a calendar reminder to check my credit score every three months. Just as importantly, I make a point to check my credit report once every three months. That, too, is worth doing to get a snapshot of your financial picture.

Credit reports are available for free on a weekly basis this year. So you could conceivably check yours all the time. But just as it's generally okay to check your credit score once every few months, a similar schedule should suffice for your credit report, too.

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