Are Credit Score Fluctuations Normal?
The simple answer is yes. With the numerous factors that contribute to a credit score, there may be minor fluctuations from month to month.
However, it is still important to monitor your scores and to check your credit report for inaccuracies that can affect your score.
Factors that cause changes in credit score
There are numerous factors that comprise a credit score. A change in any of these factors could cause your score to fluctuate.
The main components that can affect your credit score include:
- Payment history: The timeliness of how you pay your bills and whether you miss payments accounts for portion of your score. An improved payment history or a late payment can cause your score to fluctuate.
- Outstanding debt and available credit: About 30% of your credit score is related to your total debt. If you make a large purchase on a credit card and it temporarily reduces your available credit, your score may change.
- Credit history: Your credit score can be based on the length of your positive credit history. Each day you keep a credit card in standing open, you could see fluctuations in your score.
- New Credit: The amount of credit applications you have recently completed comprises about 10% of your credit score. If you recently opened new lines of credit, your score may change.
- Types of credit used: The types of credit you use account for about 10% of your score. If you recently changed the mix of your credit lines, you may see a change in your credit score.
Positive or negative changes in any of these components can cause credit score fluctuations.
Credit scores routinely adjust - Here's when to worry
Credit scores tend to fluctuate a few points month to month. This is typical and isn't something you should worry about. However, if you see major drops in your credit score, you should investigate. Check your credit report for:
- Inaccurate reported information
- Fraudulent accounts/accounts you did not open
- Late or missed payments
- Drop in available credit
Inaccuracies or fraud on your credit report can explain the drop in your score. Contact the credit reporting agency and your creditor (if applicable) to resolve these issues.