When it comes to your financial health, understanding how often credit scores change and the reasons they increase and decrease could help you make smart money and borrowing decisions.

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that represents the creditworthiness of an individual and is primarily based on a credit report. It gives lenders an idea of how likely you are to repay your debt and other criteria that are used to decision loan applications. Commonly used scoring models like FICO and VantageScore use a numerical range of 300 to 850. While every lender is different, generally speaking, a credit score of 640 or higher may help you qualify for a personal loan.

How Frequently Will My Credit Score Change?

Changes to your credit score depends on how often your credit report is updated by your lenders, and the score could change as often as daily since creditors and lenders may report at different times of the month. Your credit score is calculated based on what appears on your credit reports such as payment history, amount of debt you have and the length of time you’ve had credit. Information that is added to or deleted from your report can affect your score — which is why you could see one number one day and a different number the following day.

Keep in mind, while your score could change daily, it may take some time before it reflects positive actions you’re taking to improve your credit — like paying down credit card debt. That’s because there could be a delay between the time you pay down your debt and the time your bank or lender reports the activity.

What Causes My Credit Score to Change?

Information that’s added or deleted from your credit report may cause your credit score to change. Things, like paying down debt and making on-time payments, could positively impact your score while things like falling past due and running up credit card balances could negatively affect your score.

How Do I Check My Credit Score?

Checking your credit score has never been easier. You can request a free credit report every 12 months from each of three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax by calling 1-877-322-8228 or visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. There are also some great tools, like CreditKarma, that allow you to check your credit score for free—without impacting your credit.