Credit Building Tips

When Does Discover Report to Credit Bureaus? [And Where?]

Shaun Connell
May 1, 2023

Reading through your card member agreement as a credit card holder can sometimes feel like you’re trying to translate a different language. If you’re trying to figure out when Discover reports to the credit bureaus and which credit bureaus they report to, it’s easy to start feeling frustrated pretty quickly.

Understanding when credit card issuers report to credit bureaus can help you understand how a late payment can impact your credit and when you should make payments during your billing cycle to ensure your credit score is as high as possible.

Solution iconDiscover, like many credit card issuers, reports to credit bureaus on a monthly basis, usually within several days after the end of your billing period. It is reported that they report to all three major credit card bureaus– TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about when Discover reports to the credit bureaus and how you can use this information to your advantage.

Understanding How Credit Reporting Works

Let’s do a quick refresher on how credit reporting works before jumping into the details of when Discover reports to credit bureaus. There are three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S.– Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

  • These credit bureaus compile data that they receive from lenders and creditors about your credit utilization, payment history, and other factors.

experian credit bureau discover reporting to credit agency

It is this information that goes into a formula in order to calculate your credit score, which is a numerical score that indicates your financial health. Most creditors report monthly to the credit bureaus, including Discover.

With a revolving line of credit such as a credit card, though, you might rack up a bit of a bill before paying it off on the due date. The tricky thing is that many credit issuers, including Discover, report to the credit bureaus shortly after the billing period has closed but before you’ve made your payment. This can mean that your credit file shows a higher credit utilization ratio than you would expect because the credit card issuer is reporting that you are carrying a balance.

When you want to actively manage your credit score before applying for a loan or credit, it can be useful to make several payments throughout the month so your balance stays low. This way, when the credit card issuer does report to the credit bureaus, your credit utilization ratio will be as low as possible.

When Does Discover Report to Credit Bureaus?

Discover reports to credit bureaus on a monthly basis. They do this within several days after the end of a cardholder's billing period. This means that the information that Discover sends to the credit bureaus will be reflected on your credit report a brief period of time after your monthly statement has been issued.

If you are a Discover card member, you can find additional information about how and when Discover reports to credit bureaus under the Credit Reporting section of your monthly account statement.

You will want to note, however, that the date that your payment is due doesn’t always line up with the date that Discover reports to the credit bureaus. This means that it’s possible for you to maintain a zero balance on your card by the end of each billing period– ensuring that you don’t pay any interest and that you aren’t carrying debt from month to month– but your credit report shows that you have a balance on your card.

When Discover reports to the credit bureaus about your credit card activity, the changes can sometimes appear on your credit report immediately. In other cases, though, this new information might not show up on your report for more than a month.

For this reason, it can be useful to learn precisely what date Discover reports to the credit bureau each month so you can make sure you schedule your payments accordingly. You might find that if you make your monthly payments just a few days in advance, the balance reported to the credit bureaus will be more reflective of your actual credit activity and more beneficial to your credit score and file.

  • Making sure that your balance appears low on your credit file can help you improve your credit in the long term and help you maintain a lower credit utilization ratio.

Which Credit Bureaus Does Discover Use?

It is believed that Discover reports to all three of the major credit bureaus– Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion– about once a month. As stated above, reports are usually made around or just a few days after the monthly billing statement is issued to a card member.

Which Credit Card Bureaus Does Discover Pull Credit Reports From?

When you are applying for a Discover card, the company might pull your credit report from any of the three primary credit bureaus. That being said, consumer-reported data seems to indicate that Equifax is the bureau they lean most heavily on for sourcing credit reports, with Experian being their second preference followed by TransUnion.

Though it isn’t entirely clear which bureaus Discover uses when pulling credit reports, it seems that their preference can vary depending on the state you are in.

In the following states, it appears that Discover primarily pulls credit reports from Equifax:

  • Alabama
  • New Mexico
  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Maryland
  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania
  • Nevada
  • Kentucky
  • Illinois
  • California
  • New York
  • Texas

It seems that Discover relies on Experian for pulling credit reports in the following states:

  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • Kansas
  • Indiana
  • New Hampshire
  • Louisiana

Finally, TransUnion appears to be the credit union of choice for the following states:

  • North Dakota
  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • Washington

Of course, you don’t want to assume that Discover will definitively only pull your credit report from one specific credit bureau when you apply for a credit card. It's best to keep an eye on all of your credit reports and make sure they are free of any errors or inaccuracies, particularly if you are planning on applying for a loan or a new line of credit in the near future.

Are there hard pulls on your credit report that aren't accurate? Take a look at our recent post to learn how to remove hard inquiries from your credit report.

What Information Does Discover Report?

Now that you know when and where Discover will report to the credit bureaus, it’s time to take a look at the specific information that they send to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion on a monthly basis.

discover secured credit card credit bureau

The following information will be reported by Discover to the credit bureaus:

  • Account balance
  • Credit limit
  • Payment history
  • The date the account opened
  • Your legal relationship to the account (i.e., whether you are an individual or joint account holder or whether you’re an authorized user on someone else’s account)
  • Personal identifying information
  • Account status
  • Date of first delinquency (if you stop making payments)

Did you find information on your credit report that you don't recognize? Though there are many potential explanations, one possibility is that you've been the victim of identity theft. Check out our guide to repairing your credit after identity theft and fraud.

How Does Discover Report Credit Limits?

Your credit limit will be reported to the credit bureaus by Discover when you first open a card with them. This information is important because it is used (along with your account balance) to calculate your credit utilization ratio.

  • Your credit utilization ratio is a key factor in the health of your credit score.

If your limit changes during the time you have an account with Discover, they will report this change to the credit bureau. For example, they might reevaluate your credit file and determine that they want to reduce the amount of credit extended to you. On the other hand, you might request a credit limit increase that is approved by the issuer.

If you do increase your credit limit with Discover, it can take a little time for it to be updated on your credit report. For this reason, you might notice a temporary increase in your credit utilization ratio if you are using more of the credit available to you. Still, your credit limit hasn’t yet changed on your credit report.

Are you worried that a recent bank overdraft is going to lower your credit score? Take a look at our recent post about how overdrafts can impact your credit to learn more.

Why It’s Important to Know When Credit Card Issuers Report to Credit Bureaus

Understanding when credit card issuers report to credit bureaus can help you time your credit card payments in a way that is advantageous to you. If you always make your payments on the final due date, it’s possible that your credit report always shows you carrying a balance even when you pay your cards off in full each month.

This means that your credit utilization ratio could always be higher than it needs to be. Your credit utilization ratio is considered “extremely influential” to your VantageScore, and it makes up 30% of your FICO score.

FICO and VantageScore are the two most widely used credit scoring models.

Essentially, this means that your credit score could be consistently lower than it needs to be simply because of the timing of your payments and the credit card issuer’s reporting schedule.

Of course, ensuring that your credit score is as high as possible might only be necessary if you are planning on applying for a loan or credit card or if you are otherwise going to have your credit report pulled (for example, by a landlord or potential employer.) Rather than scrambling to try and improve your credit score when you realize your credit report will be pulled, though, it can be easier to time your monthly payments, so they always reflect your true balance at the end of the billing cycle.

How to Time Your Credit Card Payment to Increase Your Credit Score

There are a number of methods you can use to make sure your true credit card balance is reflected on your credit report every month. By being a bit strategic as to when you make your payments, you can ensure that your credit score is always as high as it can be– at least when it comes to the way your credit utilization ratio factors in.

One thing you can do is make multiple payments throughout the month. You could also choose to set up a series of automatic payments that will withdraw from your account at intervals throughout the month.

  • This can help you keep your balance as low as possible at all times, meaning that your balance won’t appear as high on your credit report when Discover reports to them.

If you can get a definitive answer from the credit card issuer as to when they report to the credit bureaus (you might find that a customer service representative can give you a more specific answer in relation to your particular account), you could also set up an autopayment schedule where your card gets paid off in full several days or a week before the issuer reports to the bureaus.

Discover Credit Cards and Credit Bureaus: FAQ

Credit scores, credit cards, and credit reporting agencies are all somewhat mysterious, which leaves most people with a big pile of unanswered questions. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about Discover cards and credit bureaus so you can be armed with valuable knowledge in your quest to improve your credit score.

Does Discover Report to All Three Credit Bureaus?

It is reported that Discover does report to all three credit bureaus. This isn’t just the case for individual and joint account holders but also for authorized users.

How Often Does Discover Report to Credit Bureaus?

Discover reports to the credit bureaus roughly once a month. They typically report around or just after they issue your monthly billing statement.

As a cardholder, it can feel a bit overwhelming trying to learn everything you can about the benefits and consequences of having a credit card. Check out our guides to closing a credit card with a balance, credit card nicknames, and reporting income on credit card applications to learn more.

Can I Dispute Information That Discover Reports to Credit Bureaus?

If you believe that there is information on your credit report that was made in error or is otherwise inaccurate, you can dispute it. You can contact both the credit bureau that is reporting the false information and the credit card issuer. Depending on the error you’ve noticed and whether or not you have an account with Discover, you will also want to make sure that the inaccuracy didn’t appear as a result of identity theft.

Does Discover Report a Late Payment?

Missed payments will usually be reported to all three credit bureaus. However, this typically happens after the 30-day mark, meaning that it has been 30 days since the due date. If you manage to make the payment before they report to the credit bureau, the late payment won’t show up on your credit report. However, you will probably incur some late fees on your account.

Did you have a credit card account get passed over to a debt collector? This type of mark on your credit report can be very harmful to your score, and deleting a collection in exchange for payment is one potential way of repairing your credit report.

What Happens If I Pay My Discover Card One Day Late?

Paying a credit card bill one day after the due date often means that you will be charged additional fees for the late payment. However, it shouldn’t show up on your credit report because a creditor like Discover won’t report to the credit bureaus until the payment is 30 days late.

If you do end up receiving a 30-day late payment mark on your credit report, it will likely have an impact on your score. Late payments will stay on your credit report for seven years, but they do become less damaging to your score as they age.

Even if you know that you're going to be a bit late on your credit card payment, it's important that you try to make the payment before thirty days have passed since the due date. Though you will likely incur a late fee, it at least won't show up as a derogatory mark on your credit report.

Does Discover Forgive One Late Payment?

According to some sources, one late payment will be forgiven by Discover. However, this information can only be found on third-party sites and isn’t available on Discover’s site. If you don’t see that the late payment has been forgiven automatically (meaning no late fees appear on your account), you will need to call and ask if they will be willing to waive the fees since this is your first time being late with a payment.

It’s best not to assume that a late payment will be forgiven, but it isn’t uncommon for creditors to waive the late fees when it is your first late payment. After your first late payment, though, they will be less likely to waive these fees unless you can convince them the late payments have been due to a hardship that you are working to overcome.

Can I Get a Discover Credit Card With Bad Credit?

If your credit is in really rough shape, there is a Discover card that can help you improve your credit so long as you use it responsibly.

The Discover It Secured Credit Card is a secured card, meaning that you will have to place a security deposit of at least $200. The amount that you deposit becomes your credit line if you end up being approved for the card.

Rebuilding your credit can feel like an incredibly arduous and time-consuming process. If you're thinking about hiring a credit repair service to help you improve your credit, make sure you read our guide to the cost of credit repair services.

How Does Discover Determine My Credit Limit?

There are a number of different factors that go into Discover’s calculation of your credit limit.

These include:

  • Your current income, debts, and how the total amount you owe compares to the amount you earn (known as a debt-to-income ratio or DTI)
  • Your history with the creditor
  • Your credit history and credit score
  • The creditor’s goals within the existing economic environment

The credit limit offered to you by a credit card issuer is the maximum dollar amount that the lender will allow you to spend. In order to have the best possible credit score, though, you ideally want to be using 30% or less of all of the credit that is extended to you. The ratio of your credit limit in relation to how much of your credit you've used is known as your credit utilization ratio.

Do All Credit Card Issuers Follow the Same Reporting Process?

It is common for card issuers to report to credit bureaus shortly after a billing cycle has ended. This means that the date that the company reports to these agencies might be days or weeks before your payment is due.

That being said, each issuer can follow its own schedule for reporting to the credit bureaus, though most of them will report every 30 to 45 days. Beyond that, some issuers might only report to one bureau, while others might report to two or all three. Ultimately, it is the decision of the company how they deal with reporting to the credit bureaus.

When it comes to improving your credit, not all tactics are created equal. There are some things you can do that will help boost your score right away, while others can take time to really take effect. To learn more about how to improve your credit score, check out our article with eleven credit repair hacks.

Knowledge Is Power When It Comes to Your Credit

Discover reports to credit bureaus on a monthly basis, usually shortly after a billing cycle ends. They seem to report to all three credit bureaus, but which credit bureau they will pull a credit report from seems to vary by state.

It's easy to get frustrated with the entire credit system-- why should you need to know exactly when Discover reports to the credit bureaus?

In truth, though, having this type of knowledge can make a big difference in your credit score when you're applying for a loan. If a creditor like Discover reports your account information when you're balance is at its highest, it's going to make your credit utilization ratio higher than it needs to be.

Similarly, understanding when they report to the credit bureaus can help you determine whether a late payment is going to show up on your credit report. Making sure you pay any late payments before thirty days have passed since the due date is important if you want to keep your credit in tip-top shape.

Are you on a journey to improve your credit? If so, make sure you check out our Credit Building Tips blog for more tips, tricks, and resources.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell is a personal finance and credit expert with a passion for helping individuals eliminate debt and improve their credit. He's enjoyed writing investing and financial content for over 15 years, with expertise in real estate, debt, banking, credit, and wealth building. His work has been seen by millions on the web.

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