The Difference Between FICO and Vantage Scores

Have you noticed when you log into Credit Karma your scores look one way, but then when you go on Experian, it shows something else? And how about when you go to a dealership and try to get approved for a car, they tell you another score that’s completely different from everything else! So what gives? The answer is in the different credit score models and score versions used by lenders, so read until the end to learn exactly why this is happening to you

When it comes to credit scores, there are two main scoring models that lenders use: FICO scores and Vantage scores. Both models use similar information from your credit report to calculate your score, but they use different algorithms and weigh the information differently. That's why your FICO score and Vantage score can sometimes be different.

FICO scores are the most commonly used type of credit score, and they range from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the lower your risk of defaulting. Vantage scores are less common, but they follow a similar scoring range from 300 to 850. However, Vantage scores are newer and may be less familiar to lenders.

Both FICO scores and Vantage scores are important when it comes to getting approved for credit. But, each lender may place more weight on one type of score over the other. That's why it's important to check both your FICO score and Vantage score before applying for credit.

Now, you may be asking what score you should be looking at if you’re applying for a car, looking to purchase a home, or need a credit card. The answer is: all of them! FICO has created specific scores for each type of credit product, so there’s a FICO score for auto loans, one for mortgages, and one for credit cards.

And each lender may use a different version of that score when considering your application. The same goes for Vantage scores. There are different Vantage scores for each type of credit product.

But here’s the thing: you don’t need to know which FICO or Vantage score the lender is using. Just focus on improving your overall credit score. As long as your score is in the good or excellent range, you’ll be in good shape for most credit products.

So, how exactly do you know how to improve your overall credit score? The only way to know this is by knowing what goes into your credit score. To be honest, the credit scoring models can be pretty confusing. But, we’ll break it down for you.

Credit scores are calculated using information from your credit report. This includes things like your payment history, credit utilization, credit history length, and more. The FICO score model considers five key factors when calculating your score:

  • Payment history (35%)
  • Credit utilization (30%)
  • Credit history length (15%)
  • New credit accounts (10%)
  • Credit mix (15%)
  • On the other hand, Vantage scores consider six key factors:

  • Payment history (40%)
  • Age and type of credit (21%)
  • Percent of credit limit used (20%)
  • Total balances and debt (11%)
  • Recent credit behavior and inquiries (5%)
  • Available credit (3%)
  • Keep in mind, these are just the general guidelines for how FICO and Vantage scores are calculated. The actual scoring models are much more complex and each lender may use a slightly different version of the score.

    But now you know the basics of how credit scores are calculated, the difference between FICO scores and Vantage scores, and the different scoring models for each type of credit product.


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