VantageScore and FICO: what’s the difference?

If you’ve ever applied for a loan or credit card, you’re probably familiar with the idea of a FICO score. Have you heard of a VantageScore, though? Both come from companies that rule the credit score industry; both are a means of measuring consumer credit.  

While FICO and VantageScore both ultimately provide a credit score, they differ slightly in the models and criteria they use to build that score. 

What is a VantageScore?  

FICO has long been the leading model of credit reporting, but VantageScore has been gaining ground since the three major credit agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—teamed up to form it in 2006.  

FICO and VantageScore: Let’s compare. 

 FICO VantageScore Scoring Requires one account, open for at least six months; must have account activity within the past six months Requires one account; no minimum credit history length  Weighting More heavily weights payment history More heavily weights credit balances and usage  Hard Inquiries Multiple inquiries treated as a single inquiry within 45-day period Multiple inquiries treated as a single inquiry within 14-day period Score Range 300-850 300-850 

While FICO and VantageScore both use a 300 to 850 range, scores often vary between the two. Why? They each use different types of information to assess credit risk, and they each weigh that information differently. 

VantageScore groups credit information into six categories:  

  • Payment history: extremely influential 
  • Age and type of credit: highly influential 
  • Percentage of credit limit used: highly influential 
  • Total balances and debt: moderately influential 
  • Recent credit behavior and inquiries: less influential 
  • Available credit: less influential 

FICO groups the information into five categories: 

  • Payment history: 35% 
  • Amounts owed: 30% 
  • Length of credit history: 15% 
  • New credit: 10% 
  • Credit mix: 10% 

How does this impact you?  

When you apply for a loan, it’s important to understand your credit score and the factors that impact it. The higher and healthier your credit score, the more likely you are to be approved for a loan. Since payment history is such a large portion of your credit score with both FICO and VantageScore, making on-time payments on any existing loans and credit cards is among the best ways to strengthen and boost your score over time.   

Keep an eye on your score by taking advantage of free credit reports. Whether annually through a service or weekly through your bank, credit card, or an app, staying tuned into your score sets you up for healthy financial habits and keeps your goals close throughout your financial journey.  

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