FICO vs. Vantage Credit Scores: The Differences and Similarities (2023)

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There are important differences between the FICO and Vantage credit scoring models. Most credit industry professionals consider FICO to be the "real" score, as it is used by 90% or more of lenders. Because lenders rarely use the VantageScore when making loan approval decisions, it is often referred to as the "FAKO Score." (Pronounced "fake".)

Free credit scoring apps like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame will often give you your VantageScore. So how useful is it? And how are the two different?

Do lenders use FICO or VantageScore?

FICO genießt aFirst Mover Advantageand remains by far the industry leader. It is used by around 90 percent of lenders. But VantageScore has gained market share, perhaps in part because it's backed by the biggest credit card companies.

The benchmark VantageScore and FICO models are generic and as such are used by a variety of lenders, including card issuers, online lenders, and private student loan companies.

However, FICO offers automatic, industry-specific bank card scores that have the basic FICO model at their core, but are customized for those industries. There is also a slight variation in the FICO scoring models used by each of the three major credit reporting agencies.

While you can easily get a free credit score from several sources at VantageScore, you usually have to pay to access your FICO score.

Before we continue, a quick note.NormallyYour FICO Score and VantageScore will be about the same. So getting a free VantageScore is better than nothing and gives you a good rough idea of ​​what your credit score is like.

However,EllaI couldthey differ significantly.For this reason, I recommend that you check your FICO scores when you are about to apply for a loan or credit card, as one of your FICO scores will likely be used to determine your eligibility for the loan you are applying for.

VantageScore and FICO calculation criteria

Both FICO and VantageScore use credit score modeling software that analyzes credit reports to generate credit scores. The general objective is the same for both companies; Predict the probability that the person will be at least 90 days late on an account over the next two years.

Your credit score is determined by several factors. Any factor that causes your credit score to go up or down can be found on your credit report.

Depending on the information found by the credit scoring model, you get a certain number of points. For example, not delaying payments would add a certain number of points to your score.

These valuation factors can be roughly categorized as follows.

1. Use of credit

Your credit consumption is the amount of available credit you are currently using on your credit cards and other revolving credit accounts. It also takes into account what you owe on installment loans, although it does so to a much lesser extent.

(Video) VantageScore vs FICO - Credit Score Ranges (EXPLAINED)

The credit utilization rate is the sum of all your credit card balances divided by the available credit limits on those accounts. So if your credit limits are $20,000 and your balances are $15,000, your credit utilization is 75%.

However, there are differences in the way scoring models and model versions rate credit usage.

VantageScore 4.0 looks at your past usage to determine if you're paying your credit card bills in full or making minimum payments. VantageScore 3.0 and below and all FICO scoring models do not account for this usage trend.

2. Payment/credit history

It takes into account whether you have made your payments on time or late, whether bills are being collected, whether you are delinquent or have filed for bankruptcy.

Keep in mind that while unpaid billing accounts hurt VantageScore and FICO credit scores, scoring models and model versions treat them differently.

For example, FICO Score 8 does not distinguish between medical and non-medical bills and ignores paid billing accounts. On the other hand, the FICO Score 9 emphasizes unpaid medical bills less than other unpaid bills. It also ignores paid billing accounts.

Both FICO Score 8 and FICO Score 9 ignore billing accounts if the outstanding balance on the original account is less than $100.

VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 do not honor paid billing accounts. They also give less weight to medical collections. However, both versions of VantageScore do not exclude low balance charges.

3. Age of accounts

How long have you maintained your credit accounts?

4. Diversity of accounts

Do you have experience handling different types of credit accounts?

5. Difficult credit applications

Have you recently applied for new credit accounts that required extensive research? When you apply for a new account, creditors pull your credit report and this can affect your score, even temporarily. Learn more about difficult credit inquiries ata section below.

weight of factors

The VantageScore and FICO models assign different weights or values ​​to the information they find in the credit report. Therefore, the same report can yield different points depending on the scoring model used. The factors are weighted as follows:

base FICO calculation

  • Payment history: 35%
  • Credit usage: 30%
  • Length of credit history: 15 percent
  • Current credit mix of credit products and credit accounts: 10 percent
  • New credit account orders: 10 percent

VantageScore calculation

  • Payment history: 40%
  • Length of credit history and types of credit: 21 percent
  • Credit usage: 20%
  • Credit: 11%
  • New credit or loan application: 5 percent
  • Amounts of credit available: 3 percent

Therefore, if you have high credit utilization, your loan application may have a better chance of being approved by a lender that uses VantageScore than a lender that uses the FICO scoring model.

FICO and VantageScore occasionally update their models to reflect changes in consumer behavior and evolving industry, information and technology practices.

For example, VantageScore 4.0 uses machine learning algorithms to develop credit scores for consumers who have had no account activity for six months or more. This makes it easier for lenders and credit bureaus to screen consumers with inactive records.

(Video) VantageScore vs FICO Score [Which Is More Important?]

Different scoring ranges

Basic FICO scores range from 300 to 850. VantageScore originally used a different scoring scale of 501 to 990.

However, later versions of the VantageScore have adopted the same range of 300-850 that FICO uses. But while both models now have the same scale, their scores often vary because VantageScore and FICO use different criteria to assess credit risk.

Lenders don't always interpret the two types of scores in the same way. The definition of good credit varies not only by credit model, but also from lender to lender.

For example, a FICO score of 670 may qualify you for a bank credit card. However, you may need a VantageScore of 680 to get a card from another bank.

Here is a general guide on how lenders can categorize your VantageScore and FICO score.

FICO x Vantage Score


VantageScore section

FICO Score Range




good excellent



very good






very bad/bad



Keep in mind that while basic FICO scores range from 300 to 850, industry-specific FICO scores can start at 250 and go as high as 900.

Length of Credit History Required

Not everyone qualifies for a consumer credit score. To get one, you must meet the minimum criteria of each credit scoring company.

For a FICO score, your report must include a line of business (also known as an account), such as a line of credit, loan, or credit card. The business line must be at least six months old. One or more business lines must have been active in the last six months.

Eligibility for VantageScore is less strict. You can earn points for consumers who use credit less often or are new to credit.

The credit report must contain at least one line of business, regardless of the age of the account. VantageScore can only use one month's credit history and a single credit account report within the last 24 months.

If you're just getting started with credit or haven't used a credit account in a while, you may have a VantageScore but not a FICO credit score.

Tax Executions and Civil Judgments

There have been a number of changes in the use of new and existing public records in credit reports.First introduced in July 2017. He was followed by aCFPB studywhich discovered several problems with consumer credit reports.

The changes affected the type of information that was sent to a credit reporting agency. As a result, many civil lawsuits and tax liens have been removed from credit reports.

Tax liens don't have as much weight on credit scores in VantageScore 4.0, although they still have an impact. Tax liens can still affect FICO scores.

credit queries

A credit application is a request from a creditor or creditor for your credit report. Credit applications are a catch-22. When applying for a new credit account, you need good credit to get a good rate. However, asking the lender about your credit history can lower your credit score.

(Video) FICO vs VantageScore: What's the Difference between Credit Scores?

Credit applications can be flexible or rigid. A soft request involves a request from your credit report or a lender requesting your credit information before providing you with a prescreening offer.

A difficult application arises when a creditor looks at your credit file when applying for a credit account. It will be added to your credit report. A difficult application lowers your score, although this is usually only for less than 12 months.

Credit rating companies recognize that comparing your credit options is financially smart and does not necessarily indicate risky behavior.

The newer versions of FICO, FICO 8 and FICO 9, have a 45-day window for similar requests, although older versions use a 14-day window (older versions of FICO, FICO 2, FICO 4, and FICO 5 still apply). used by mortgage lenders).

This window does not apply to all direct requests. It only covers applications for home loans, auto loans, and student loans. The 45-day window is useful if you are looking to get a larger loan and are looking for the best deal.

VantageScore treats multiple difficult requests that occur within a 14-day window as one difficult request. Unlike FICO, these inquiries do not have to be related to the same type of loan.

This means that multiple applications in your credit file for the same type of loan would have a worse impact on your Vantage Credit Score than on your FICO scores.


With the VantageScore and FICO models, the higher your score, the better. A higher score makes it easier for you to qualify for competitive offers from lenders.

Build a good credit history and you'll be more likely to improve your VantageScore and FICO score.

frequent questions

Is FICO higher than Vantage?

No. Both models have a credit score range of 300 to 850.

Do credit card companies use FICO or Vantage?

Most credit card companies use FICO credit scores. About 90 percent of lenders use FICO credit scores.

(Video) FICO SCORE vs. Vantage Score | Why You Were Denied | FICO Score #Experian #CreditKarma

Do Mortgage Lenders Use FICO or Vantage?

Most mortgage lenders use FICO credit scores. About 90 percent of lenders use FICO credit scores.

Do lenders use VantageScore?

Yes. In 2018, VantageScore a20% more adoption.

For more information about credit, see the following articles in the series:

  • Why did my credit score go down for no reason?
  • Sample letter to remove closed accounts from credit report
  • How to Write a Foreclosure Letter to Eliminate Late Payments
  • How to increase your credit score to 800
  • The best way to check your credit score

You may also be interested in these other articles:

  • How to build credit with bad credit
  • How to build credit without a credit card
  • Why is credit important?
  • Is 670 a good credit score?

FICO vs. Vantage Credit Scores: The Differences and Similarities (1)

Stefan M. W.

Stephen writes regularly on personal finance, corporate governance and technology. He has worked with companies like Citibank and Micro Focus.


What is the difference between a FICO score and a VantageScore? ›

The time period, however, generally differs. FICO uses a 45-day span, while VantageScore uses 14 days. And while FICO only includes mortgages, vehicle loans and student loan inquiries, VantageScore will do the same for hard inquiries dealing with other types of credit, including credit cards.

What is the big difference between FICO and Vantage? ›

VantageScore and FICO ranges

Industry-specific scores help predict a consumer's ability to repay a specific type of debt, such as an auto loan or mortgage, and they range from 250 to 900. Unlike FICO, the VantageScore® model doesn't generate industry-specific scores. It only calculates base scores.

Is FICO better than VantageScore? ›

Which credit score will a lender check when you apply for a loan? Although VantageScore credit scores have been around for about 15 years, the FICO Score is still the preferred choice of most lenders. In the U.S., lenders use FICO Scores in 90% of lending decisions.

What is the difference between FICO score 8 and VantageScore? ›

FICO treats multiple hard inquiries within 45 days as a single inquiry. On the other hand, VantageScore treats numerous hard inquiries as a single inquiry if they happen within 14 days.

Why is my Vantage 3.0 score higher than FICO? ›

Borrowers who have an excellent record of making on-time payments may find their VantageScore is higher than their other credit scores. That's because VantageScore places greater emphasis on your payment history than other bureaus do.

Why is my FICO score so low compared to Credit Karma? ›

There's a VERY simple reason for the difference. Credit Karma does not report your FICO score. There are a number of credit scoring models, and Credit Karma uses the VantageScore 3.0.

Why is my VantageScore 100 points lower than my FICO score? ›

In Brian's experience, scores based on VantageScore are 100 points lower than FICO-based scores, which are what lenders tend to use. This is because the scores are composed in a different way. However, not everyone will experience such large differences between their FICO and VantageScore numbers.

Do banks use Vantage or FICO? ›

VantageScore vs.

FICO scores are the most widely used scores used by lenders to determine the creditworthiness of consumers. This means more institutions use FICO over any other scoring model to decide if someone should get a loan, mortgage, or any other credit product.

Is the VantageScore accurate? ›

VantageScore was created in partnership among all three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Your TransUnion VantageScore is, in fact, accurate — based on the VantageScore model.

Is VantageScore usually lower than FICO? ›

While VantageScore and FICO now use the same 300-850 range, VantageScore tiers run about 50 points lower than FICO tiers.

Does anyone use VantageScore? ›

VantageScore has revolutionized the credit scoring marketplace for lenders by leveraging advanced data analytics to make access to credit more equitable. More than 3,000 unique users of VantageScore credit scores, including over 2,600 financial institutions.

Which FICO score is most accurate? ›

With multiple options available, you may be wondering which of these sources is the most accurate. Simply put, there is no “more accurate” score when it comes down to receiving your score from the major credit bureaus. In this article, you will learn: Different types of credit scores.

How do I convert my VantageScore to FICO score? ›

There is no official method of converting a VantageScore to a FICO score. Because each scoring uses different criteria and methods of pulling data, it's nearly impossible to convert. However, keeping both scores in mind can give you a much more well-rounded understanding of your credit health.

Is FICO auto score 8 the same as FICO 8? ›

As you'd expect, lenders use FICO 8 Auto to assess creditworthiness for auto loans and FICO 8 Bankcard to assess creditworthiness for new credit card accounts. These specialized versions of the FICO 8 scoring model are similar to standard FICO 8, but with emphasis on a different part of your credit history.

What is a good Experian VantageScore? ›

What Is a Good VantageScore? VantageScore's first two credit scoring models had ranges of 501 to 990. The two newest VantageScore credit scores (VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0) use a 300 to 850 range—the same as the base FICO® Scores. For the latest models, VantageScore defines 661 to 780 as its good range.

How far off is Credit Karma from FICO? ›

Your Credit Karma score should be the same or close to your FICO score, which is what any prospective lender will probably check. The range of your credit score (such as "good" or "very good") is more important than the precise number, which will vary by source and edge up or down often.

How close is Credit Karma to your actual score? ›

Here's the short answer: The credit scores and reports you see on Credit Karma come directly from TransUnion and Equifax, two of the three major consumer credit bureaus. The credit scores and reports you see on Credit Karma should accurately reflect your credit information as reported by those bureaus.

Is VantageScore 3.0 used for mortgages? ›

The FICO® Score versions used in mortgage lending and the more recently released versions, such as FICO® Score 9 and 10, have the same 300 to 850 range. VantageScore, a competing maker of credit scores, also uses that range for its latest VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 model credit scores.

Which score do home lenders use? ›

FICO® scores are the credit scores most lenders use to determine your credit risk and the interest rate you will be charged. You have three FICO® scores, one for each of the three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Each score is based on information the credit bureau keeps on file about you.

Which credit score is most important? ›

FICO® Scores are used by 90% of top lenders, but even so, there's no single credit score or scoring system that's most important. In a very real way, the score that matters most is the one used by the lender willing to offer you the best lending terms.

Which credit score matters more TransUnion or Equifax? ›

Equifax: Which is most accurate? No credit score from any one of the credit bureaus is more valuable or more accurate than another. It's possible that a lender may gravitate toward one score over another, but that doesn't necessarily mean that score is better.

Does Credit Karma use Vantage or FICO? ›

If you are viewing your score on Credit Karma, the score you see is VantageScore® 3.0. While VantageScore® credit scores aren't used as widely as FICO® scores for credit decisions, they can still give you a good idea of where your credit stands.

Why did my credit score drop 100 points when nothing changed? ›

Why did your credit score go down when nothing changed? If you didn't change the amount you owe, perhaps your credit card company has increased or decreased your total credit limit. If your spending habits remain the same, a decrease in your credit limit would increase your credit utilization ratio and harm your score.

Which FICO score do banks look at? ›

Lenders most commonly use the FICO® Score to make lending decisions, and in particular, the FICO® Score 8 is the most popular version for general use. If you've taken an interest in the health of your credit and how lenders will view it, checking your FICO® Score 8 is a smart place to start.

What is a good FICO score to buy a house? ›

It's recommended you have a credit score of 620 or higher when you apply for a conventional loan. If your score is below 620, lenders either won't be able to approve your loan or may be required to offer you a higher interest rate, which can result in higher monthly payments.

Which credit score is used to buy a car? ›

Auto lenders use a special reporting system called FICO® Auto Score when determining the creditworthiness of a potential customer. The three credit reporting bureaus that contribute information to your FICO Auto Score are TransUnion®, Experian™ and Equifax®.

Do mortgage companies use Vantage scores? ›

Thanks to a landmark decision by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), mortgage lenders that sell loans to either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the GSEs) will be required to use the VantageScore 4.0 model.

What is the average Vantage credit score? ›

Credit scores are three-digit numbers that show an important piece of your financial history. Credit scores help lenders decide whether to grant you credit. The average credit score in the United States is 698, based on VantageScore® data from February 2021. It's a myth that you only have one credit score.

Do auto lenders use Vantage? ›

When you apply for an auto loan, a lender is likely to use one version of the following credit scores: FICO® Auto Score, Base FICO® Score, or VantageScore®. FICO® scores are used by 90% of top lenders and VantageScore® credit scores are used by nine of the 10 largest banks.

Do dealerships use VantageScore? ›

Car dealerships use a VantageScore or FICO score. The three credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian — all provide both scores to auto dealerships.

What Creditors use Vantage scores? ›

Who Uses VantageScore?
  • Credit card issuers.
  • Personal and installment loan companies.
  • Auto lenders.
  • Mortgage lenders.
  • Credit unions.
  • Banks.
  • Tenant screening, telecommunications and utility companies.
  • Consumer websites.
Aug 26, 2021

Which FICO score is usually the lowest? ›

What is a FICO Score?
  • Very poor: 300 to 579.
  • Fair: 580 to 669.
  • Good: 670 to 739.
  • Very good: 740 to 799.
  • Excellent: 800 to 850.

Does Experian use VantageScore or FICO? ›

VantageScore® is a credit score that was developed by the three national credit reporting companies (CRCs) — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. There are many different scoring systems with different scales, and a "good" credit score depends on the scoring system used by your particular lender.

What is my FICO score if my credit score is 650? ›

A FICO® Score of 650 places you within a population of consumers whose credit may be seen as Fair. Your 650 FICO® Score is lower than the average U.S. credit score. Statistically speaking, 28% of consumers with credit scores in the Fair range are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.

What is a perfect FICO 8 score? ›

FICO 8 scores range between 300 and 850. A FICO score of at least 700 is considered a good score. There are also industry-specific versions of credit scores that businesses use. For example, the FICO Bankcard Score 8 is the most widely used score when you apply for a new credit card or a credit-limit increase.

What FICO score 8 Do I need to buy a car? ›

Your credit score is a major factor in whether you'll be approved for a car loan. Some lenders use specialized credit scores, such as a FICO Auto Score. In general, you'll need at least prime credit, meaning a credit score of 661 or up, to get a loan at a good interest rate.

Is FICO 8 or 9 used for mortgage? ›

And even FICO scores come in different shapes and sizes. 1 Two of the most common are the FICO Score 5 and FICO Score 8. Both are used by lenders to determine a prospective borrower's creditworthiness. But FICO 5 is commonly used in the mortgage lending industry, while FICO 8 is mainly used by credit card issuers.

Is VantageScore 3.0 the same as FICO? ›

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.

Does Equifax use VantageScore? ›

A patented hallmark of VantageScore is the ability to deploy the same model independently at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, which results in a highly predictive and consistent consumer credit score.

Is FICO the best credit score? ›

A Very Good FICO Score is in the range of 740 to 799. Because this level of score is above average, it indicates to lenders that the consumer is low risk and likely to pay off their loan on time. Exceptional (800 to 850). Consumers with a FICO Score of 800 or above are considered Exceptional.

Is FICO The most important credit score? ›

VantageScore is the other major credit scoring model. However, lenders have a clear preference for FICO since its model is used in over 90% of U.S. lending decisions. While FICO is the most widely used scoring model, it has some similarities to VantageScore.

What is the most commonly used credit score? ›

FICO ® Scores are the most widely used credit scores—90% of top lenders use FICO ® Scores.

Which credit score do banks use? ›

CIBIL is quite popular as it has been in the business for a long time. Non-Banking Financial Companies and banks use the credit score provided by CIBIL, Experian and Equifax to determine the potential risk of lending to a customer. The lenders make use of these scores fix the credit limit for all eligible customers.

Which credit score is most important for home loan? ›

One of the most common scores used by mortgage lenders to determine creditworthiness is the FICO® Score (created by the Fair Isaac Corporation). FICO® Scores help lenders calculate the interest rates and fees you'll pay to get your mortgage.


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