Vantage Score Model Explained

Vantage Score Model Explained

When most people talk about credit scores, they’re referring to the FICO score, the brand most used by lenders. But, that’s not the only credit score on the market. The VantageScore was introduced by the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—in March 2006 to provide a score that they claimed was more consistent among all three credit bureaus.

Prior to the VantageScore, each of the credit bureaus used their own credit scoring model which led to differences in credit scores even for the same credit report. Finally in 2006, credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax came up with the algorithm to produce the VantageScore model, competing against the better-known FICO scores.

Video Breakdown

VantageScore groups credit information into six main categories, but the categories don’t work off a % rating, they work off influence level on your scores.

  • Payment history: extremely influential
  • Age and type of credit: highly influential
  • Percentage of credit limit used: highly influential
  • Total balances and debt: moderately influential
  • Recent credit behavior and inquiries: less influential
  • Available credit: less influential

Keep in mind how they look at “percentage of credit limit used” is on an individual basis, they don’t lump it all together like FICO does, so this makes strategies like AZERO less effective and is a major reason you could see a 20-60 point difference between your FICO and Vantage scores.

Another factor to think about with the above data, is that Vantagescore looks at credit card and loan balances (moderately influential) and available credit (less influential) separately.

Vantage 2.0 & Previous Models

Scores calculated using VantageScore 2.0 and previous models ranged from 501 to 990, with higher scores being better. VantageScore assigns a letter grade to each consumer’s credit score. The letter grade takes the guesswork out of figuring out what’s a good credit score.

  • 901 – 990 = A, Super Prime, 11% of consumers are Super Prime.
  • 801 – 900 = B, Prime Plus, 29%
  • 701 – 800 = C, Prime, 21%
  • 601 – 700 = D, Non-Prime, 20%
  • 501 – 600 = F, High Risk, 19%

The VantageScore 2.0 and models before it weighed credit score factors as follows:

  • 28% Payment history—whether your payments are satisfactory, delinquent, or derogatory
  • 23% Utilization—the amount of credit you’ve used
  • 9% Balances—the amount of recently reported current and delinquent balances
  • 9% Depth of credit—the length of your credit history and types of accounts you have
  • 30%: Recent credit—the number of recently opened credit accounts and credit inquiries
  • 1% Available credit—the amount of available credit on your credit card accounts

Vantage 3.0

This is by far the most widely used Vantage Scoring model, its what you get with most free credit scores on your checking accounts and credit cards.

In 2013, VantageScore released the 3.0 version of its credit score, which improved the predictiveness of the score and generated scores for millions of consumers who were previously unscoreable. The VantageScore 3.0 also adopted a 300 to 850 range similar to that of the FICO score.

VantageScore 3.0 calculates credit scores based on the following factors:

  • Payment history: 40%
  • Age and type of credit: 21%
  • Percent of credit used: 20%
  • Total balances/debt: 11%
  • Recent credit behavior and inquiries: 5%
  • Available credit: 3%

Additionally, VantageScore 3.0 forgives consumers for delinquencies during natural disasters, rewards “high quality” consumers for paid off mortgages, ignores paid collections ( So does the new FICO 9 and the upcoming FICO 10 and FICO 10T.), and minimizes Authorized users.

Vantage 3.0 weighs late mortgage payments more heavily than other late payments, allows just 14 days for rate-shopping for a car or mortgage (counting all inquiries in that time as one), compared to 45 days with FICO.

Vantage 4.0

In Fall 2017, VantageScore 4.0 was introduced with an improved ability to score consumers with limited credit history- the company says it uses machine learning to help score these consumers. The 4.0 model includes trended data, which looks at your credit usage over time, rather than taking a snapshot of one moment in time. The updated model also places less importance and weight on certain negative credit reporting items like medical-collections accounts, tax liens, and public records.

VantageScore 4.0 calculates credit scores based on these factors:

  • Payment history: 41%
  • Age/mix of credit: 20%
  • Utilization: 20%
  • New Credit: 11%
  • Balance: 6%
  • Available credit: 2%

Lastly its worth noting that with FICO you need to have one or more accounts that have been open for at least 6 months and at least one account that has reported to the credit bureaus within the past six months otherwise FICO can’t generate your scores.

On the other hand with VantageScore, they can use data from just one month’s history and one account reported within the previous 24 months! So if you’re new to credit or haven’t used credit in a while, you may not have a FICO score but most likely will have VantageScore credit scores.

The following sites can be used to track your VantageScore- Most credit cards (Amex, Capital One, NFCU etc) offer a free credit tracker, these are based on your VantageScore (even though Amex offers both FICO and Vantage). Outside of that you can use Credit KarmaWallethub or Credit Wise (owned by Capital one now) to get free vantage score reports (not Experian, only Nav offers Vantage 3.0 Experian scores to my knowledge alongside business scores)