Categories

Score Advice

The Difference Between VantageScore® Scores and FICO® Scores

In the U.S., two companies dominate the credit scoring industry. FICO® is the industry leader, but VantageScore® has been gaining market share since the three major credit reporting agencies created it in 2006. Both companies develop credit scores that lenders and creditors can use to evaluate applicants and manage customers' accounts. However, VantageScore and the FICO® scoring models use slightly different criteria to determine your scores.

VantageScore and FICO Create Multiple Credit Scores

VantageScore and FICO® create credit scoring models—software that can analyze a credit report to generate a credit score. And the consumer risk scores that VantageScore and FICO® create have the same goal: to predict the likelihood that a person will fall at least 90 days behind on a bill within the next 24 months.

The VantageScore models and the base FICO® models are generic credit scores, meaning they're created for use by a wide range of creditors, such as private student loan companies, online lenders and card issuers. FICO® also creates industry-specific auto and bankcard scores, which are built on the same criteria as the base FICO® scores but tailored for auto lenders and card issuers.

As with other types of software, VantageScore and FICO® occasionally update their scoring models to ensure they remain predictive as consumer behavior changes, and to incorporate new technology, information and industry practices.

The first VantageScore model, version 1.0, was launched in 2006; the company released the latest version, 4.0, in 2017. The FICO® base scoring model dates back to 1989, but the latest versions are the FICO® Score* 8 (launched in 2004) and FICO® Score 9 (launched in 2014). Creditors can choose which model to use and may test out different models to figure out which one is best at helping them determine risk with their particular customer base.

You might check your VantageScore and FICO® credit scores and wonder why they're different. In part, it's because the models give varying levels of importance to different parts of your credit report.

VantageScore vs. FICO Credit Scores

While VantageScore and FICO® scores try to predict the same thing, their credit scoring models aren't identical. Here are some of the main differences between the two companies and their scores:

Tri-Bureau vs. Bureau-Specific Models

VantageScore creates a single tri-bureau model that can be used with a credit report from Experian, Equifax or TransUnion.

FICO® creates bureau-specific scoring models. So, while the latest FICO® Score 9 might have one name, there are actually three slightly different FICO® Score 9 models—one for each of the major credit reporting agencies.

Minimum Scoring Requirements

For FICO® to create a credit score based on one of your credit reports, you'll need to have a credit account (or "tradeline") that's at least 6 months old and activity on a tradeline during the previous six months (they don't need to be the same tradelines).

You may be scoreable by VantageScore as long as your credit report has at least one account in it, even if the account is less than 6 months old.

Additionally, neither credit score agency will score a credit report if the report indicates the consumer is deceased.

The Score Ranges

With all these credit scoring models, a higher score indicates you're less likely to miss a payment, which is why creditors are willing to offer people with high scores the best rates and terms.

The base FICO® Scores range from 300 to 850, while FICO's industry-specific scores range from 250 to 900.

The first two versions of the VantageScore ranged from 501 to 990, but the latest VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 use the same 300-to-850 range as base FICO® scores.

What qualifies as a good score can vary from one creditor to another. However, on the 300-to-850 scale, a score of at least 670 (for FICO®) and 700 (for VantageScore) will generally qualify as having good credit.

The Importance of Different Credit Scoring Factors

The impact of a specific action on your credit scores will depend on your overall credit profile and the scoring model. However, FICO® and VantageScore only consider the information that's in one of your credit reports when determining a score, and they generally place similar relative levels of importance on the same types of information.

The main factors that impact your score can be separated into several categories:

  • Payment history. Whether you've made on-time payments, late payments, have accounts in collections, defaulted on debts or declared bankruptcy.
  • Credit usage. Your credit utilization rate, or the amount of available credit you're currently using with your revolving credit accounts, such as credit cards. To a lesser extent, the amount you owe on installment loans is also important.
  • Length of credit history. How much experience you have managing credit accounts.
  • Types of accounts. Whether you have experience using and paying off different types of credit accounts.
  • Recent activity. Whether you've recently applied for new accounts that led to hard inquiries.

Within each category, FICO® and VantageScore may take different approaches to how they use or weight specific pieces of information. Three examples are how the scores treat revolving account balances (or credit utilization), collection accounts and hard inquiries.

Credit Utilization

Your utilization rate can be an important scoring factor, but most scores only consider your most recently reported revolving account balances and limits in this factor, which is essentially your total credit card balances divided by your credit limits on those accounts. This shows how much available credit you're using.

VantageScore 4.0 looks back and considers your trended utilization, such as whether you usually only make minimum credit card payments or pay your bill in full. FICO® Score and other VantageScore models don't.

Collection Accounts

Although unpaid collections accounts can hurt both your FICO® and VantageScore credit scores, collection accounts are treated differently depending on the type of account, whether it's been repaid and the specific scoring model.

For example, FICO® Score 9 ignores paid collection accounts and puts less importance on unpaid medical collections than other types of unpaid collections. FICO® Score 8 doesn't differentiate between medical and non-medical collections and doesn't ignore paid collection accounts. Both versions ignore collection accounts when the original account's unpaid balance was under $100.

VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 both ignore paid collection accounts and give less weight to medical collections, but there's no exemption for low-balance collections.

Credit Inquiries

A hard inquiry gets added to your credit report when you apply for a new credit account, and it can hurt your credit scores (though usually for less than a year). However, scoring model creators understand that applying for multiple loans so you can compare your options and offers is savvy rather than risky behavior.

VantageScore addresses this by deduplicating (or "deduping") any inquiries that occur within a 14-day window. If you apply for a credit card today, a personal loan tomorrow and five auto loans next week, you may have seven new hard inquiries on your credit report, but VantageScore scores you as if you only had one hard inquiry during that period.

Recent FICO® Scores have a 45-day dedupe window, while older models (including those that are still used for mortgage lending) have a 14-day dedupe window. However, FICO® Scores only dedupe multiple inquiries from student loan, auto loan and mortgage applications.

But FICO® also has a hard-inquiry buffer, which means any mortgage, auto or student loan hard inquiries from the previous 30 days won't impact your FICO® scores.

The Same Behavior Can Help All Your Scores

There are many differences between VantageScore and FICO® credit scores, and each companies' various credit scoring models. However, all the scoring models try to predict the same thing using the same underlying data. As a result, if you focus on building a good credit history, you can improve all your scores.


Want to instantly increase your credit score? Experian Boost helps by giving you credit for the utility and mobile phone bills you're already paying. Until now, those payments did not positively impact your score.

This service is completely free and can boost your credit scores fast by using your own positive payment history. It can also help those with poor or limited credit situations. Other services such as credit repair may cost you up to thousands and only help remove inaccuracies from your credit report.

How Good Is Your Credit Score?

300 credit score301 credit score302 credit score303 credit score304 credit score305 credit score306 credit score307 credit score308 credit score309 credit score310 credit score311 credit score312 credit score313 credit score314 credit score315 credit score316 credit score317 credit score318 credit score319 credit score320 credit score321 credit score322 credit score323 credit score324 credit score325 credit score326 credit score327 credit score328 credit score329 credit score330 credit score331 credit score332 credit score333 credit score334 credit score335 credit score336 credit score337 credit score338 credit score339 credit score340 credit score341 credit score342 credit score343 credit score344 credit score345 credit score346 credit score347 credit score348 credit score349 credit score350 credit score351 credit score352 credit score353 credit score354 credit score355 credit score356 credit score357 credit score358 credit score359 credit score360 credit score361 credit score362 credit score363 credit score364 credit score365 credit score366 credit score367 credit score368 credit score369 credit score370 credit score371 credit score372 credit score373 credit score374 credit score375 credit score376 credit score377 credit score378 credit score379 credit score380 credit score381 credit score382 credit score383 credit score384 credit score385 credit score386 credit score387 credit score388 credit score389 credit score390 credit score391 credit score392 credit score393 credit score394 credit score395 credit score396 credit score397 credit score398 credit score399 credit score400 credit score401 credit score402 credit score403 credit score404 credit score405 credit score406 credit score407 credit score408 credit score409 credit score410 credit score411 credit score412 credit score413 credit score414 credit score415 credit score416 credit score417 credit score418 credit score419 credit score420 credit score421 credit score422 credit score423 credit score424 credit score425 credit score426 credit score427 credit score428 credit score429 credit score430 credit score431 credit score432 credit score433 credit score434 credit score435 credit score436 credit score437 credit score438 credit score439 credit score440 credit score441 credit score442 credit score443 credit score444 credit score445 credit score446 credit score447 credit score448 credit score449 credit score450 credit score451 credit score452 credit score453 credit score454 credit score455 credit score456 credit score457 credit score458 credit score459 credit score460 credit score461 credit score462 credit score463 credit score464 credit score465 credit score466 credit score467 credit score468 credit score469 credit score470 credit score471 credit score472 credit score473 credit score474 credit score475 credit score476 credit score477 credit score478 credit score479 credit score480 credit score481 credit score482 credit score483 credit score484 credit score485 credit score486 credit score487 credit score488 credit score489 credit score490 credit score491 credit score492 credit score493 credit score494 credit score495 credit score496 credit score497 credit score498 credit score499 credit score500 credit score501 credit score502 credit score503 credit score504 credit score505 credit score506 credit score507 credit score508 credit score509 credit score510 credit score511 credit score512 credit score513 credit score514 credit score515 credit score516 credit score517 credit score518 credit score519 credit score520 credit score521 credit score522 credit score523 credit score524 credit score525 credit score526 credit score527 credit score528 credit score529 credit score530 credit score531 credit score532 credit score533 credit score534 credit score535 credit score536 credit score537 credit score538 credit score539 credit score540 credit score541 credit score542 credit score543 credit score544 credit score545 credit score546 credit score547 credit score548 credit score549 credit score550 credit score551 credit score552 credit score553 credit score554 credit score555 credit score556 credit score557 credit score558 credit score559 credit score560 credit score561 credit score562 credit score563 credit score564 credit score565 credit score566 credit score567 credit score568 credit score569 credit score570 credit score571 credit score572 credit score573 credit score574 credit score575 credit score576 credit score577 credit score578 credit score579 credit score
Resources
Sign up for helpful tips, special offers and more!
You're signed up!
Our system is undergoing maintenance and will be available again soon.