The Fundamentals of the VantageScore
The VantageScore is different from the FICO score in the most recognizable ways. For one, the VantageScore is on a 501 to 990 scale, while the FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. In addition, the VantageScore assigns a letter to each credit score making it easier to tell whether your credit score is good or bad.
- 900-990 = A
- 800-899 = B
- 700-799 = C
- 600-699 = D
- Below 599 = F
Of course, the higher your VantageScore, the better. Borrowers with an “A” score have the best scores, while borrowers with an “F” have the worst scores and are more likely to be turned down.
FICO score is based on five key factors: payment history is 35%; amount of debt, 30%; age of credit history, 15%; types of credit, 10%; and recent credit history is 10%.
The VantageScore considers some of the same types of information, but with different weights.
- 32%: your payment history or how well you’ve paid your accounts on time
- 23%: credit utilization or the amount of credit limit you’re using
- 15%: current balances on your accounts
- 13% is your depth of credit or length of your credit history and the types of accounts you have
- 10%: accounts you’ve recently opened and recent credit inquiries
- 7%: your available credit
The VantageScore places more weight on the most recent 24 months of credit history. Borrowers who have thin credit files may score better under the VantageScore despite their limited credit histories.
Even though the VantageScore was created to smooth out some of the variations between credit bureaus, your score still may differ from bureau to bureau based on the information in each of your credit reports.
Your VantageScore is only based on credit information from your credit report. So it doesn’t factor in information like your age, race, religion, nationality, gender, marital status, location, or salary.
Will Your Lender Use the VantageScore?
Some lenders use the VantageScore for approving applications, but there’s no way to know until you’ve applied. Most sources say the FICO score is most widely used by lenders, so there’s a smaller chance that your lender will use the VantageScore. Still, it doesn’t hurt to check your VantageScore as a general way to gauge where your credit stands. The letter grades certainly make it easier to figure out whether you have a good, bad, or mediocre credit score.
You can get a free copy of your VantageScore through CreditKarma.com. This version of your VantageScore is based on your TransUnion credit report data. You can also purchase your VantageScore through Experian.com.
If you have a bad VantageScore, you can improve it by focusing on your credit report. Just like your FICO score, the VantageScore heavily considers your payment history. So, paying your bills on time is one of the best ways to ensure a good score. The amount of your credit card balances also plays a big factor in your VantageScore. So keep your balances low and use only a small amount of your credit limit.
There’s so much overlap between credit scoring models that you can’t go wrong simply focusing in making sure there’s quality data on your credit report.