When most people talk about credit scores, they're referring to the FICO score, the brand most-used by lenders. But, that's not the only credit score on the market. The VantageScore was introduced by the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—in March 2006 to provide a score that was more consistent among all three credit bureaus.
Prior to the VantageScore, each of the credit bureaus used their own credit scoring model which led to differences in credit scores even for the same credit report.
VantageScores provides clearer explanations to help consumers understand why their credit score aren't harder by providing reason codes, which are published online at ReasonCode.org. Consumers can type in a reason code received with their credit score or from a lender and receive an explanation and a suggestion for improving.
In Fall 2017, the VantageScore 4.0 was introduced with improved ability to score consumers with limited credit history. The updated credit score also placed less importance on certain negative credit reporting entries like medical-collections accounts, tax liens and public records.
VantageScore 4.0 calculates credit scores based on these factors:
- Payment history: 41%
- Age/mix of credit: 20%
- Utilization: 20%
- New Credit: 11%
- Balance: 6%
- Available credit: 2%
In 2013, VantageScore released the 3.0 version of its credit score, which improved the predictiveness of the score and generated scores for millions of consumers who were previously unscoreable. The VantageScore 3.0 also adopted a 300 to 850 range similar to that of the FICO score.
VantageScore 3.0 calculates credit scores based on the following factors:
- Payment history: 40%
- Age and type of credit: 21%
- Percent of credit used: 20%
- Total balances/debt: 11%
- Recent credit behavior and inquiries: 5%
- Available credit: 3%
Additionally, VantageScore 3.0 forgives consumers for delinquencies during natural disasters, rewards "high quality" consumers for paid off mortgages, excludes paid collections, and minimizes superficial boosting from authorized user piggybacking.
VantageScore 2.0 and Previous Models
Scores calculated using VantageScore 2.0 and previous models ranged from 501 to 990 with higher scores being better. VantageScore assigns a letter grade to each consumer’s credit score. The letter grade takes the guesswork out of figuring out what’s a good credit score.
- 901 – 990 = A, Super Prime, 11% of consumers are Super Prime.
- 801 – 900 = B, Prime Plus, 29%
- 701 – 800 = C, Prime, 21%
- 601 – 700 = D, Non-Prime, 20%
- 501 – 600 = F, High Risk, 19%
The VantageScore 2.0 and models before it weighed credit score factors as follows:
- 28% Payment history—whether your payments are satisfactory, delinquent, or derogatory
- 23% Utilization—the amount of credit you’ve used
- 9% Balances—the amount of recently reported current and delinquent balances
- 9% Depth of credit—the length of your credit history and types of accounts you have
- 30%: Recent credit—the number of recently opened credit accounts and credit inquiries
- 1% Available credit—the amount of available credit on your credit card accounts
VantageScore vs. FICO Score
The VantageScore formula is similar to the FICO score five-factor formula (payment history, level of debt, age of credit history, type of accounts, inquiries), but the categories are divided differently. For example, VantageScore combines age and mix of credit into a single category. In addition to credit utilization (30% of your FICO score), the VantageScore also considers credit card and loan balances and available credit, but separately.
Your VantageScore will continue to vary from one credit bureau to the next since the information in your credit reports is different.
Credit Inquiries and VantageScore
You can check your VantageScore without having your credit score drop since this type of soft credit report inquiry doesn’t affect your credit. Your VantageScore is impacted by inquiries that result from your application for a loan, credit card, or other service.
How to View Your Vantage Score
You can get a free versions of the VantageScore through a number of providers including Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Capital One's Credit Wise.