The Difference Between FICO Score and VantageScore

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Fico and Vantagescore

FICO Score and Vantage score can seem confusing at first, but once you get the hang of them, it’s pretty easy to get your credit scores on the right path.  Before we begin to compare Fico and Vantage, you might be wondering what Vantage scores are. I’ll address this question over the next few topics.

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What is a FICO Score?

A FICO score is a score that measures your likelihood to pay back a loan. It is used by 80% of lenders in the United States to review and approve credit applications. FICO scores range between 300 and 850. The higher the score, the more likely you are to receive competitive interest rates, however, approval lies specifically with a lender. The lower your credit score can mean that your scores reflect late payments, bankruptcies, collections, or other derogatory history.

How are FICO Scores Calculated?

FICO scores are calculated by the following aspects of your credit history.
See image graph above.

  • 35% Payment History
  • 30% Amount of Debt
  • 15% Length of Credit History
  • 10% New Credit
  • 10% Credit Mixture of Accounts


How can I get my FICO Score?

This is a commonly confused question. FICO scores can range in value between the three main credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. TransUnion, however, uses VantageScores as the credit scoring method and not FICO. You can, however, receive your free credit report ( which impacts your score) at annualcreditreport.com. I also recommend using myFICO as a way to find and track an accurate depiction of your credit score. Check out myFICO here.

What is a VantageScore?

Vantagescores is an alternative method to scoring credit history. I like to explain this as different kinds of teachers who teach the same subject. The content may be the same, but because the teachers are different and the teach differently, the scoring methods will be unique to the teachers. Here is the information on how VantageScores are calculated.

  • 41% Repayment History
  • 20% Credit Age and Mixture of Accounts
  • 20% Credit Utilization
  • 11% New Credit
  • 6% Credit Balance
  • 2% Available Credit

Who Uses VantageScore?

People often see the differences between when they review their score online and when their credit is pulled by a lender and ask why there is a difference. While there are several differences in why the scores can vary, one reason may be that your credit profile online utilized VantageScore and not FICO scores. Credit Karma, Quizzle, Lending Tree, Nerdwallet, myBankrate, and CreditWise just to name a few.

Related article:14 Crazy Things You Must Know About A Credit Bureau

What are the differences between FICO and Vantage?

One of the biggest differences between the calculation percentages is that VantageScore 4.0 uses something called trended data. Basically, trended data takes a snapshot of a consumer’s credit behavior over a period of 3 -24 months to see how a person has handled their credit to make an assessment of how a person would use credit in the future. FICO scores do not use trended data.

While both scoring models are different in the way that they calculate a credit score, much of the “meat and potatoes” are still the same.

Repayment history is the largest contributor to a person’s credit score.

What can I do to improve my score?

Improving your credit score is the path to your financial future.

Consider using an accurate depiction of your credit using myfico.

Although there is no formula for getting your score to be a specific value, there are several ways to improving your credit score over time.

Here are my suggestions to improve your credit scores.

  1. Pay your credit balances on time, every time.


  1. Keep your credit balances low, ideally under 30%. For example if your credit limit was $1,000, you would want to maintain a balance of only $300. I suggest paying off your credit cards each month in full to avoid paying interest charges which will save you money in the long-run.

difference between fico and vantagescore pinterest

  1. Avoid opening several credit cards at one time. Many people find that having several credit cards might help them avoid fees, but instead,multiple credit cards can increase balances, extra fees, and can potentially lead to missing a payment if you aren’t careful. Not to mention that opening credit cards over a short period of time may decrease your credit score.
  1. Have a good mixture of accounts. That means that having a mortgage loan, credit card, or another credit line open will help show creditors or lenders that you are responsible for different kinds of credit.
  1. Keep accounts open for longer. Some people close accounts quickly in an effort to increase their score, however, if you have made on-time payments over a short period of time, closing an account may actually not have the positive impact you hoped it would have. Having open accounts in which you pay on-time will help to improve your score over a long period of time.

Related Article: How credit is calculated and how to improve it

FICO and Vantagescore breakdown calculation
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