Why is My Actual Balance Different from my Credit Report Account Balance?

If you’ve been working to improve your credit score and you regularly monitor what’s on your credit report, you may be surprised to find that the balance you owe on one or more of your loans or credit cards doesn’t match the balance on the credit report. This brings up a frequently asked question, which is “Why is my actual balance different from my credit report account balance?”

How Credit Card Balances are Reported

The reason your actual balance may not align with what’s on your credit report has to do with the timing of when information on your credit report is updated. The balance on your credit report doesn’t change as soon as you charge something or make a payment. This means that even if your balance fluctuates, changes aren’t immediately reported to the credit bureau. Instead, credit card companies typically report to the credit bureaus once a month.

If you have a new credit card, it might not appear on your credit report until a month or two after you open the account. It also means if you’re trying to pay an account to zero before applying for new credit, you may have to wait a month or two for the credit report to reflect a payment you’ve made.

Statement Balance Versus Current Balance

Your statement balance is the balance you owe on the day your statement generates, which is the last day of the billing cycle. Your statement reflects activity that happened during that billing cycle including purchases, payments and accrued interest. After your balance is updated, your credit score may also go up or down.

The current balance is the total amount owed on any one day. It may not be the same as the balance shown on your statement if you’ve made a payment or made a purchase since your statement was generated.

When Should You be Concerned About Discrepancies?

If the balance being reported doesn’t match your records, it’s probably a matter of the timing of when your creditor updated the balance with the credit bureau. There are times you should question discrepancies, such as when a couple of months have passed, and a payment hasn’t been reflected. You should also be concerned if you have a card with a zero balance that suddenly shows an outstanding balance and you haven’t used the card. This may be a sign of identity theft or the theft of your card, and you should notify your creditor immediately if this happens.

Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report

If there are errors on your credit report that can’t be explained by the timing of reporting, you should dispute them with the bureau that’s reporting the inaccurate information. You can contact one or more of the credit bureaus by writing a letter or filling out an online dispute form.

An easier way to be sure inaccurate information is removed from your credit report is to partner with Dovly. We’re an AI credit engine and we can help you track your credit 24/7 so you can find and fix errors. Try it risk-free with our free membership tier.

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