FICO Vs. VantageScore

Recently I was asked the difference in the FICO Credit scoring model and the Vantage scoring model.  When it comes to credit scores, you could frequently get baffled since there are so many “credit scores” out there.  Many times consumer obtain their credit score, only to find out when they go to a lender for financing, the credit score the lender uses is significantly different.  Currently over 90% of the major US lenders still use the FICO scoring model, making it the most used widely used credit score, however in 2006 the Vantage score was created by the 3 major credit bureaus to offer a better predictive default risk.

The fact is, though there are only some minor variations in the formulas; since both the FICO and the VantageScore were created to help lenders avoid risky, and therefore costly, borrowers However, because there are some key differences in the 2 scoring models, it’s very unlikely that they will produce the exact same number from the same credit information.  It is therefore advisable that you always pay attention on what scoring model used by the lender so you can better interpret your score correctly before you make any loan request.

Let’s compare the similarities and differences in the Vantage Score and the Fico Score.

Vantage Score

Vantage Score is the newest credit scoring model which in direct competition to the classic FICO model. The methodologies of vantage score are developed by VantageScore Solutions LLC, an independent corporation owned by the three leading credit bureaus, i.e. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

It is said the current FICO scoring model made it difficult for people with “thin credit lines” to get credit. VantageScore claims their credit score offers a distinct advantage to those who have a smaller credit profile – that is, people who don’t have a lot of credit accounts in their profile, or who don’t use the lines of credit they have open to them as often as they should.  Therefore, the need of an alternative model to better access borrower’s creditworthiness with greater accuracy was created.

FICO Score

It is a credit-scoring model invented by a California headquartered company, Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). Some refer to FICO scoring model as the classic and universal credit scoring model because it has been used widely long before Vantage scoring model came into existence.

The model utilizes particular standard scale for different factors and broadly accepted by the majority of major lenders as a base platform to better predict credit risk. 

Vantage Score vs. Classic FICO

The following table lists a number of evident differences between the two credit scoring models.

  Vantage Score FICO Score
Developed By VantageScore Solutions Fair Isaac Corporation
Letter Grading A-F

760 – 850


700 – 759

Very Good

660 – 699


620 – 659

Below Average

580 – 619


Below 579

Very Poor


Credit Score 501-990 350-850
Scoring Model 32% Payment History 35% Payment History
  23% Utilization 15% Length of Credit History
  15% Balances 30% Amounts Owed
  13% Depth of Credit 10% Types of Credit
  10% Recent Credit 10% New Credit
  7% Utilization  

Both the FICO and VantageScore credit scoring formulas give about the same amount of percentages for payment history and new credit inquiries. But, there’s a big difference in the treatment of utilization, age of credit history, and types of credit.

FICO gives utilization 30% of its credit score, while the VantageScore places a heavy 45% on how much credit you’re using.

FICO gives a total 25% to age of credit history and types of credit. The VantageScore gives these two factors 13%.

Which is Better

From a consumer standpoint, the better credit score is the one your lender is using to approve or decline your application. Since more lenders use the FICO score, you may be better off checking that score. Don’t take that for granted though. Always ask your lender which credit score they’ll be checking.


About jenniferhamby

Jennifer Hamby, Executive Vice President of My Credit My Future, has worked in the financial sector since 1996. She is dedicated to educating consumers on financial education and responsibility. Having worked in Data Facts’ Nashville office since 2007 as an account executive, Hamby realized the need for financial education that was informative, yet easy to understand and attainable. Partnering with both Junior Achievement, and Tennessee Jump$tart, in providing financial education, opened her eyes to the tremendous benefits in providing financial literacy and resources for consumers to aid in making better financial decisions.
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