What Is a VantageScore? Everything You Need to Know About This Credit Score

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Susan Kelly

Feb 03, 2022

A VantageScore is a credit score created in 2006 by the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. It is different from other credit scores because it considers more than just your payment history. Your VantageScore can be affected by how you use your credit cards, the types of accounts you have, and even whether you have a loan with a co-signer. You are entitled to one free copy of your VantageScore every year.


Today, over 6 billion VantageScore credit scores have been distributed to U.S. lenders. In addition, since its launch in 2006, more than 80 million FICO® Score Open Access transactions (loans where a lender pulls both FICO Scores and VantageScores) have occurred in which consumers received their free VantageScore 2.0 credit score at loan signing or shortly after closing with no impact on their loan terms or pricing.


What Is a VantageScore?


A VantageScore is a credit score developed by all three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This score has been available since 2006 and was developed in conjunction with the three credit bureaus and their participating lenders.


VantageScore is designed to be a competitor to FICO®. Still, VantageScore's developers claim that it predicts risk by focusing on "what" consumers have done rather than "why" they did it, like FICO. The significant difference between the two scoring models is that VantageScore doesn't use your credit inquiry history when calculating scores.


Types of VantageScores


VantageScore's primary competitor is the FICO score (used in most lending decisions). However, just like there are different versions of the FICO credit score (Classic, Standard & Advantage), there are different types of VantageScores.



Let's take a look at each one:


1) Classic


This version has been available since 2006 and is typically used in lending decisions by mortgage lenders. Like with other versions of the classic/standard/traditional FICO score, consumers can check their own credit scores for free using Credit Karma or MyFICO.com.


2) TransRisk


This is a non-traditional score and was introduced to lenders in 2007 with the idea that it would help identify consumers who may be riskier than those with the traditional credit-based FICO score. For example, if your payment history has been "skewed" due to an especially good or bad month with your income, this could cause problems with a traditional credit-based FICO score as it focuses very heavily on payment history.


3) Auto Enhanced


Introduced by Experian in 2012 as its own proprietary scoring model for auto loan underwriting purposes (but can also be used by creditors for other types of loans). It's similar to the classic VantageScore but has a different scoring range and weights various factors.


4) Bankcard Enhanced


Introduced by TransUnion in 2012 as its own proprietary scoring model for credit card underwriting purposes (but can also be used by creditors for other types of loans). It's similar to the classic VantageScore but has a different scoring range and weights various factors.


In 2014, VantageScore announced an agreement with FICO to offer two new scores: VantageScore 4.0 and VantageScore 4.0 Student Edition, which incorporate some of the best elements of both models into a single score that will be available this fall.


As you can see, there are many variations to VantageScores, just as there are many versions of FICO scores. The bottom line is it's essential to know what type of score a lender will pull when you apply for new credit or refinance your home. Remember that VantageScores are used by all three major consumer reporting agencies (Equifax Experian and TransUnion).


VantageScore 3.0 scores range between 300-850 (the higher, the better), whereas classic FICO scores range between 300-850 (the lower, the better). Scores can vary widely depending on which credit bureau is used to obtain the scores/reports and what version of each individual scoring model is used.


What Is a Mortgage / Refinance Score?


When obtaining a mortgage loan or refinancing your current home, most mortgage lenders will pull a credit score from one of the three major credit bureaus. Each bureau uses its own scoring model, and each scoring model has its differences, so it's essential to know which one they'll be using when you apply for a loan.



In addition to pulling your credit report, lenders also typically pull two scores simultaneously:


1) your FICO® score and/or

2) your VantageScore


Your FICO® score is used extensively in lending decisions. Still, it can vary slightly depending on what version of the FICO score is used by a lender (i.e., Classic, Standard & Advantage). Your VantageScore is also used in most lending decisions, but not all creditors use this type of score.


Takeaway


A credit score is an important number that affects your financial life. Your VantageScore can be different from other credit scores because it takes more factors into account. Knowing your VantageScore can help you understand where you stand financially and what you can do to improve your score. Have you checked your VantageScore lately?


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