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What is a Vantage Score?

Brendan McGuigan
Brendan McGuigan

The Vantage Score, technically spelled VantageScore, is a credit rating system developed by the top three credit agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It was created to directly compete with the Fair Isaac Corporation's FICO® Score, which is currently the most widely used credit scoring system. Although the three agencies responsible for the new system tout is as superior to the existing FICO® system, many analysts are skeptical that it offers anything new.

Fair Isaac has been operating various credit risk score systems since the 1950s, and it is both the oldest and most widely used credit analysis system. The credit report industry has exploded in the past decade, with individuals paying premium fees to have up-to-date access to their credit reports and scores. This is in part due to the much easier accessibility that now exists as a result of the Internet, and to a growing concern on the part of consumers to track their credit score. Through introducing the Vantage Score, the top three credit agencies are no doubt hoping to claim a portion of the profits from an industry for which they already provide the data.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

The existing FICO® score rates an individual’s credit reliability on a scale of 300 to 850, taking into account such factors as percentage of credit being used, number of credit lines open, delinquent payments, and the types of credit involved. Although the algorithm for calculating a FICO® Score is not transparent, Fair Isaac offers general guidelines that let individuals get a feel for why their score is where it is and what they might do to raise their score in the future. The Vantage Score rates an individual’s credit from 501 to 990, and at the same time gives each individual a letter grade ranging from A to F. The system the Vantage Score uses to calculate this rating is currently not disclosed, leading to some critiques that improving one’s Vantage Score is more of a hit-and-miss affair than improving one’s FICO® Score.

Consumers can purchase their Vantage Score through any of the three major companies, all of which use the same algorithm for determining the final Vantage Score. Because the data they use may have small discrepancies, however, it should be expected that one’s Vantage Score might differ slightly between the three agencies. Ultimately, the benefits the Vantage Score system offers over the FICO® Score system seem to be largely illusory. Although the credit agencies tout their letter grade system as being easier to understand and present the uniformity of information as a major bonus, in reality, the letter grade is a simple conversion from the numeric score, and the FICO® Score has always offered the same uniformity. While the Vantage Score might see some success because of the heavyweights behind it, it will likely coexist alongside the FICO® Score for many years to come.

Discussion Comments


I was running a slid 860 on Vantage and this converted to a 697 on FICO.Do not waste your money on Vantage or PLUS credit scores. They are worthless numbers that are not used by the finance industry. They are actually "make you feel good" scores to keep the suckers on the line. Only pay for one FICO score. Trans Union's is usually the lowest so I would go with them.


Vantage scores suck and punish you if you don't have a mortgage. So responsible people who don't buy houses until they are ready are punished on vantage because they don't have a real estate loan. My fico is way better than vantage as a result.


How do you compare a vantage score to a fico score? Mine is 839 or B on vantage, but I don't know how good it is, i.e. I know a fico score of 750 is very good. What is 839 or B on vantage?


One of the flaws I found out is that the 3 Bureaus on the Vantage Score system are not on the same page concerning DLA. We know the DLA (Date Last Active) affects your credit. Well the term has not been legally defined across the board.

Most of them refer it to the date last reported which makes the acct active even when the collection agency reports an inquiry. Is there any way to get to the bottom of this and where can I find the legal term.

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