Score Advice

The Difference Between VantageScore and FICO Scores

Dear Experian,

What is the difference between a VantageScore and a "FICO" score? On a June credit report from Experian my VantageScore was 790 (300-850), while my FICO score with Experian was 889 (300-850). I realize both scores are excellent, but I would like to understand it further.


Dear DRA,

The VantageScore and the FICO score are two different scoring models. The VantageScore was developed by all three credit reporting companies: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union.

FICO scores are developed by Fair, Isaac Corporation, hence the term FICO. There is not just one FICO score. Your question points out that fact very clearly. You can't have a score of 889 if the scale only goes from 350 to 850.

Fair, Isaac Corporation specializes in developing credit scoring systems for lenders and other businesses. The original or "classic" FICO scores had scales that went from about 350 to about 850. The company's newest scores, called the FICO Next Generation, or NextGen scores, have scales with a high score of 950, so that may have been the model that resulted in your score of 889.

In fact, there are many different credit scores used by lenders and other businesses, with a wide range of scales, some estimate more than 1,000. People often ask why there isn't just one credit score. Cars make a simple, clear analogy.

Imagine two four-door sedans. They are about the same size, have the same number of doors, gasoline engines that produce about the same amount of power, four wheels and a steering wheel. So, why does a person choose one over the other? It is because of small differences in the designs that make one car better suited overall to their particular needs.

The same is true of credit scores. All credit scores use the same information from your credit report, but they treat the information slightly differently to meet the needs of the particular lender. You can have two different numbers that both indicate you are a very good credit risk because different models have different score ranges.

That is why we caution people to not get too caught up in the number. The number alone only has meaning to your lender and only to that particular transaction. The credit scores you receive online provide great educational value and give you a very good idea of how lenders will view your creditworthiness.

But, you can't buy a score online, take it to a lender and expect the lender to use the score to approve your application. They simply can't use the score you bring them to make a lending decision because they very likely use a different one — even if the score you purchased is from the same credit score developer.

Instead of the number, concentrate on where your score falls in the range of risk for that model and on the risk factor statements that accompany the scores. If your lender provided the scores, it also might be able to give you the risk factor statements that accompanied the scores. If you purchased the scores, you received a list of what from your credit history most influenced those scores.

Those risk factor statements describe what you must address in your credit history to become a better credit risk. You will likely find that a number of the statements are very similar if not identical from one score to the other.

Focusing on those issues from your credit history will help you improve your creditworthiness over time.

In your case, the statements won't be of great significance and may indicate there is no one factor having a major impact. That is because your credit is very good and there is little room for improvement. You already qualify for the best rates and terms.

Simply having credit carries with it some risk, and that risk, however small, will be reflected in the scores you receive. That is why it is almost impossible to get a perfect credit score.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team

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 score 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
Sign up for helpful tips, special offers and more!
You're signed up!
Our system is undergoing maintenance and will be available again soon.