VantageScore® vs. FICO® Scores – A Comparison Guide


In the U.S., there are two companies that dominate the credit scoring industry – FICO and VantageScore. Both companies essentially develop credit scores that creditors and lenders use to evaluate the credit risk of applicants. The difference is that both scoring models use slightly different criteria when determining your score. Wondering how this can help you? If you know what scoring model a lender or credit card company uses, you can work on improving that particular score so you have a better chance of receiving approval.

Here’s a quick comparison guide that will take you through all the key details and differences of the FICO and VantageScore. Read on to know more.

Score Ranges

With all credit scoring models, a higher score indicates that you are less likely to miss making a payment, which is why lenders and creditors offer better rates and terms to people who have high scores. Base FICO Scores typically range between 300 to 850, while industry-specific stores range between 250 and 900. The latest versions of the VantageScore range from 300 to 850 (similar to FICO). However, what qualifies as a good credit score will vary from one financial institution to the other.

Credit Scoring Factors

The primary factors that affect your score are your payment history, credit usage, length of credit history, type of credit accounts you have, and recent credit inquiries. While both the FICO Score and VantageScore consider the same factors they may use different approaches to determine your credit score.

Collection Accounts

If you have unpaid collection accounts listed on your credit reports, it will hurt your VantageScore and FICO Score, however, collection accounts are treated differently by each credit scoring model. For example, FICO Score 9, a type of FICO Score, completely ignores paid collection accounts and doesn’t consider unpaid medical collections as too important. However, FICO Score 8 does not differentiate between non-medical and medical collections. Similarly, VantageScores ignore paid collection accounts but no exemption is provided for low-balance collections.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

While you don’t have to check multiple credit reports and credit scores, it’s a good idea to check at least one of your credit scores from time to time so you know if you need to make any changes to your financial behavior. Typically, paying all your bills on time, maintaining a low credit balance, and avoiding too many hard inquiries will raise your credit score over time.

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