FICO vs. VantageScore: A Look at the Different Types of Credit Scores

fico vs. vantage credit scores

The US is dominated by two credit scoring companies — FICO and VantageScore. The latter was created in 2006 by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, the three major credit reporting bureaus. FICO, created by the analytics firm Fair Isaac Corporation, has been the standard for measuring credit risk in the country since 1989. But in the VantageScore vs. FICO score battle, the former is making gains.

FICO vs. VantageScore

When it comes to how credit reporting agencies receive scores, VantageScore creates one model used for a credit report from any of the agencies. FICO, however, creates models that are agency-specific. That means the latest FICO score may only have one name, but the models vary slightly depending on the credit reporting agency. For example, the Fico Score 9 is the model most often used currently, but the version sent to one major credit bureau is not identical to the other two.

FICO-based scores run from 300 to 850. This is the same base scoring used by VantageScore, but the two earliest versions featured a base of 501 to 990. FICO considers a minimum of 670 a good credit score, while VantageScore uses 700.

Both companies take the following considerations into account when making decisions on creditworthiness:

  • Payment history
  • Credit history length
  • Current debt levels
  • New credit accounts
  • Forms of credit used

FICO and VantageScore weigh these factors differently, which is one reason why they do not come up with identical numbers.

Both companies issue credit score models for particular industries including mortgages, auto loans and credit cards. For example, the FICO auto score range is between 250 and 900. 

Difference Between FICO Score and Credit Score

While lenders place a great deal of weight on a FICO score, it is not the only criteria. The lender will also take into consideration how long an applicant has been at their present job, their income and the amount and nature of the loan.

FICO requires that a potential borrower have at least one account open for a minimum of six months. You will also need to have one account that was sent to the credit bureaus within the past six months. VantageScore will provide credit scores for those with just one month of credit history and an account reported to the credit bureau within the past two years.  

How Credit Bureaus Use Different Scores

Credit bureaus have their own scoring systems, which are not generally used by lenders when making loan decisions. These proprietary credit scores are sometimes referred to as educational credit scores. For example, if you receive your PLUS Score educational credit score from Experian, which ranges between 330 and 830, remember that it is your FICO score that Experian will send to a lender.

Keep in mind that lenders do not always keep up with the latest FICO model. FICO updates its calculation methods periodically, but lenders are under no obligation to upgrade the model they’re using. When FICO introduced its Score 9 in 2016, changes were made to how medical debt was treated, as well as more leniency given when it comes to rental history. To date, the three major credit reporting bureaus have not adopted Score 9.

All Credit Scores Change

It’s important to note that regardless of the credit score model and/or version being used, your credit score changes shown in SmartCredit typically apply to all credit scores the same, including all FICO and VantageScore versions. This is because all credit scores are derived from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax data, where your payments and spending are reported.*

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Whether you want to buy a house or take out an auto or personal loan, you need the best credit score possible. SmartCredit can help you achieve your credit goals and the goals for the rest of your life. Get your three bureau credit scores, credit monitoring, and credit score tools that will allow you to track your credit scores easily and determine how to control your future score. Reviewing your credit reports regularly also protects you against identity theft and allows you to report any suspicious activity immediately. Take control of your future credit score and you will be on your way to mastering your credit. 

*Disclaimer – FICO® is a trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation and is unrelated to SmartCredit®. TransUnion®, Experian®, Equifax®, and VantageScore® are registered trademarks of their respective owners. Your results may vary and are not guaranteed.

fico vs. vantage credit scores

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