How to Update Balance Information on Your Credit Report

Quick Answer

Not seeing accurate balance information on your credit report could mean your creditor hasn’t updated the information yet or reported it incorrectly. You can contact your creditor or dispute inaccurate information with the bureau.

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Through December 31, 2022, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.

Dear Experian,

On your website, you state that you update credit card payments when my bank does. My credit report from your institution is three months behind. This is affecting my credit scores and causing me to be denied credit.

- IWR

Dear IWR,

Your creditors update the information on your credit report electronically. Therefore, when they send a monthly update to us, the information is updated on your credit report automatically. To ensure you have the most recent information, we recommend that you request a report directly from Experian.

How Can I Get My Credit Report?

If your application has been declined because of information in your Experian report, you can request a free copy at Experian's Report Access. Through December 31, 2022, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will make available to all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19. You can also get a free Experian credit report at any time on our website, or download the Experian app for easy access wherever you are.

What Should I Do If the Information on My Credit Report Is Incorrect?

Most lenders update their account information with the credit bureaus once a month. Even if you pay your credit card balance off before you get your statement, the balance reported by the lender is typically what is listed on the billing statement at the end of the billing cycle. Depending on when you make the next purchase on your card, you may still see a balance reflected.

If you are seeing an account on your report that has not been updated in several months, you should dispute the account directly with Experian using the online Dispute Center. If you have documentation showing that the balance has changed, you can submit a copy online along with your dispute. Experian will contact your lender and ask them to verify the information they have reported.

You may also wish to contact your lender to verify that they have been reporting your account information to the credit reporting companies and request that they send updated balance information. For more information, see How to Dispute Credit Report Information.

How Do Credit Card Balances Affect Me?

High credit card balances can negatively impact credit scores because lenders view them as a sign of risk.

Your utilization rate, which is calculated by taking the total of all your credit card balances and dividing that number by the total of all your credit card limits, is the second most important factor in your FICO® Scores . Most credit experts recommend keeping your utilization rate, or balance-to-limit ratio, below 30%. Individuals with the best scores tend to have utilization rates below 10%.

What Can I Do to Improve My Credit Score?

Paying down or paying off your credit card balances is a great first step to begin improving your credit scores. Here are some other steps you can take to begin improving your scores right away:

  • Pay off any past due debts. If you have any past-due debts, such as collection accounts, paying them off can improve scores right away. Newer credit score models may exclude paid collection accounts from the score calculation altogether.
  • Make sure all payments are on time. Your payment history is the most important factor in your scores, and late payments remain on your report for seven years. Even one missed payment can damage scores.
  • Order your free credit score from Experian. If you want to see all the top risk factors that are impacting you currently, you can request your free credit score directly from Experian. When you get your score, it will have a list of the factors that are currently affecting you the most. Improving on those items will help you improve all of your scores.
  • Sign up for Experian Boost . Experian Boost is a free feature that allows you to get credit for making your utility, cellphone and streaming service payments on time. Once the payments are added, you'll see an updated credit score instantly so you can see if your score has increased and by how much.

Thanks for asking.

Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist

The purpose of this question submission tool is to provide general education on credit reporting. The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team may include it in a future post and may also share responses in its social media outreach. If you have a question, others likely have the same question, too. By sharing your questions and our answers, we can help others as well.

Personal credit report disputes cannot be submitted through Ask Experian. To dispute information in your personal credit report, simply follow the instructions provided with it. Your personal credit report includes appropriate contact information including a website address, toll-free telephone number and mailing address.

To submit a dispute online visit Experian's Dispute Center. If you have a current copy of your personal credit report, simply enter the report number where indicated, and follow the instructions provided. If you do not have a current personal report, Experian will provide a free copy when you submit the information requested. Additionally, you may obtain a free copy of your report once a week through December 31, 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.