The following is being shared for informational purposes and is not credit repair advice.
So you know that your credit report is important. And you know that it contains a lot of useful information about your usage of credit over the past seven to ten years. But have you ever wondered exactly when certain events will be reported? Well, wonder no more!
Late/missed payments to creditors and lenders
Creditors generally report on individual consumer accounts to credit bureaus once a month. The time of month usually doesn’t change, so how quickly something like a missed payment hits your credit report is dependent on 1) when your creditor makes their monthly report, and 2) when your billing cycle ends.
So if you miss a payment and your billing cycle closes the day before your creditor updates their report on your account, the credit report in question will reflect the missed payment very quickly. Conversely, if the update occurs right before your billing cycle ends, it could take a month before the missed payment appears.
This is part of the reason why two credit reports from two different credit bureaus may contain slightly different information if pulled on the same day.
Also note that creditors don’t really report “late” or “missed” payments – they report whether or not your account is current or delinquent. That’s an important distinction. If you missed your payment last month and then made a regular payment this month, your account would remain 30 days delinquent and would be reported as such until you managed to bring it current. When you miss multiple payments your accounts becomes increasingly delinquent – 30, 60, 90 days delinquent, etc. The status of the account is what’s reported, not the fact that you missed a payment.
Credit inquiries occur when someone inquires into your credit. That’s pretty sensible. They are reported to other credit bureaus almost immediately.
A soft inquiry (or soft pull) occurs when someone checks your credit report for the purpose of conducting a background check, most often as part of a job or rental application. They can also occur when you check your own credit. Essentially anytime someone pulls your credit report for a reason other than potentially extending you more credit, that’s a soft inquiry. Soft inquiries appear on your credit report, but are not factored into your credit score.
Hard inquiries (or hard pulls), on the other hand, occur when you apply for additional credit and they do impact your credit score. Be careful when shopping for credit or loan products, as multiple hard inquiries in a short amount of time can bring down your credit score.
Late/missed payments to non-creditors
Your landlord doesn’t have to report on the status of your rental agreement to the credit bureaus, but they can if they choose to. If you fall behind on the rent or break your lease, your landlord may report that information to the credit bureaus at their discretion. The only criteria is that you must be at least 31 days past due before they can report the delinquency.
Rent payments, in general, don’t have much impact on your credit score – at least, historically they haven’t. That’s begun to change a bit. Experian now includes rental payment history in their reports and score calculations. The only catch is that you have to either rent from a property management company that makes reports to Experian, or make your monthly payments through one of the rental payment service providers that currently works with Experian.
Where other non-creditors are concerned (think cellular service providers, cable companies, utility companies, etc.), account information is rarely reported to credit bureaus. Like landlords, these service providers may provide information on overdue accounts if they choose, but you’re most likely to only ever see these accounts on your credit report if they became severely delinquent and were sold to a collection agency.