What Is My VantageScore?
You’ve probably heard of the FICO credit-scoring model. It’s the veteran in the world of credit, with lenders first using FICO Scores in 1989. But you might not have heard of a VantageScore, a younger credit-scoring model but still an important part of your credit profile. It was created by the three major credit bureaus as an alternative to FICO and uses the same scoring range as FICO, but it allows you to build credit faster.
What is a VantageScore?
The VantageScore was created by the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — to offer consumers and lenders an alternative to the FICO Score. FICO is still the dominant player in the industry, used by most lenders to make decisions about borrowers.
Credit-scoring companies periodically roll out different scoring editions with different capabilities. For example, FICO Score 10 and FICO Score 10 T comprise the FICO Score model’s latest update. However, there are other FICO credit score versions that may be used for credit card approvals, auto lending and mortgage lending.
VantageScore 4.0 is the newest version of that scoring model. In this latest iteration, it also provides credit scores for groups of people who typically may not have one, like consumers who haven’t used credit in the past six months, who have no credit accounts at all, or are too young to have credit.
When pulling your credit scores, you may notice that the VantageScore 3.0 is still the model being used.
VantageScore vs. FICO: How they compare
Before digging into a few of the differences, let’s highlight some similarities.
Today, VantageScore and FICO both use the same scoring range — 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible score. Earlier versions of VantageScore used a range of 501 to 990, but it was later changed to avoid confusion among consumers.
Another similarity is that both companies use weighted models to calculate your score from factors such as your payment history, length of credit history, credit mix, overall debt and credit utilization ratio.
What makes the VantageScore different?
- Your VantageScore may be easier to access. The VantageScore has become an easier and less expensive score for consumers to access because so many websites, including LendingTree, offer it for free. Historically, consumers have had to pay to get their FICO Scores directly from myFICO, but the company is working to change that. Today, you may be able to get your FICO Score for free from your bank, credit card company or directly from a credit bureau.
- You may be able to build credit more quickly. The VantageScore model can give you a score if you have an account open for as little as one month with recent activity. On the other hand, you need you to have an account open for at least six months to pull a FICO Score.
- Collections accounts may have less of an effect if paid off. Recent versions of the VantageScore ignore collection accounts with a zero balance. This is one area in which FICO is playing catch-up to VantageScore. Although many lenders still rely on older versions of FICO Scores, FICO Score 9 disregards paid collection accounts.
- Hard inquiries can have a lesser influence. Both scores recognize that people searching for a mortgage or auto loan may shop around for their best rates, which typically results in multiple hard inquiries on your credit report. Usually, hard inquiries can negatively affect your score. FICO allows for a shopping period of 14 to 45 days during which all inquiries will count as one. However, FICO does not provide a rate-shopping exception for credit cards, and VantageScore does. The VantageScore uses a “14-day rolling window” where multiple credit inquiries for loans and credit cards count as one.
Who uses the VantageScore?
The VantageScore may be used by credit card issuers, installment loan companies, auto lenders, consumer websites, tenant screeners and more. However, the FICO Score is still the most widely used in credit decisions, especially in mortgage lending.
Because of this, checking your VantageScore may not tell you exactly what your creditor or lender is looking at. But it’s still a score that’s worth monitoring.
Where can I see my VantageScore?
Your VantageScore is easy to obtain. You can get it for free from LendingTree. The LendingTree dashboard also provides insights into the factors influencing your score so you can get to work on improving it.