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What is VantageScore?

Anatomy of a VantageScore Credit Score

VantageScore first exploded on the credit score scene in 2006 as a joint venture of the big three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – and now has the distinction of being one of only two scoring models, the other being FICO, to be relied upon by lenders in their lending decisions. VantageScore currently claims about 10 percent of this hard-to-crack market for credit scores used in the lending industry, with the greatest adoption seen in the largest banks and lenders.

Banks and lenders use the VantageScore

Who Uses The VantageScore: Nearly one billion VantageScore credit scores were used last year by over 2,000 lenders and other industry participants, including 6 of the 10 largest banks. In fact, over 3 billion VantageScore credit scores were pulled in the last year, including scores used for decisioning, model building, and testing purposes. Source:

Like other credit scores, VantageScore consists of calculations relying entirely on credit bureau information – not income, bank accounts or other assets – to predict how likely you are to pay your credit obligations on time each month. With an emphasis on paying on time, keeping balances low, and avoiding new credit obligations, the simplicity and common-sensibility of credit scores are often marred by the all-too-frequent credit reporting errors that can lead to credit scoring errors, and that can require active management of your credit – much like managing your health.

Introducing VantageScore 3.0

Introduced in March of 2013, and shortly thereafter provided by as part of its free Credit Report Card, VantageScore 3.0 brings some new consumer-friendly features to the table, while at the same time providing lenders with up to a 25 percent predictive improvement over earlier models.

What are the Advantages of VantageScore 3.0?

Without a doubt, the most radical feature of VantageScore 3.0 is its ability to calculate a score for 30 to 35 million previously “unscoreable,” or “thin file,” consumers. While many other scoring models require at least six months of credit history and recent credit report updates, VantageScore only requires one month of credit history and less frequent updates. Credit can now be made available to consumers who are brand new to credit, those who only use credit occasionally and people who haven’t used credit at all recently.

Other notable VantageScore 3.0 credit score improvements include:

  • Ignoring all paid collections, as well as any collections, paid or unpaid, under $250
  • A new score range of 300 to 850, the same scale used by FICO, making it easier for consumers to interpret and manage their credit scores.
  • Credit relief for disaster victims, by ignoring accounts negatively impacted by natural disasters.

VantageScore score range

Score Range: VantageScore 3.0 credit scores now range from 300 to 850, a numerical scale more familiar to lenders and consumers. Source:

VantageScore Credit Education Tools

Of course, for consumers, credit scores are often only as good as the explanations and underlying credit information provided with them.  The factors affecting your VantageScore credit score are outlined in the graphic below – helping you answer the question “What influences my score?”.

What factors influence your credit score

What Really Matters: The key factors that influence your your VantageScore credit score from your credit report. Not all factors have the same impact on your VantageScore credit score (if one of these categories doesn’t apply to you, the other categories would be adjusted accordingly). Source:

Another tool to help boost your understanding is the reason codes (or score factors) website, which simplifies and translates the codes that appear in your credit report into, get this, plain English.

What Doesn’t Impact My Credit Score?

There are several things don’t factor into the VantageScore model – or any other credit scoring model, for that matter – including race, color, religion, nationality, gender, marital status, age, salary, occupation, employer, employment history, where you live or even your total assets.

A Helpful Credit Management Solution

Currently for consumers, there is a simple, no-cost way to monitor your VantageScore 3.0 score and credit report each month.’s secure and free Credit Report Card includes an easy-to-understand credit profile and the VantageScore 3.0 credit score, plus grades and recommendations that can make managing your credit easy.  In fact, it really couldn’t be much easier.

  • tony

    is vantage 3.0 comparable to a fico score

    • Gerri Detweiler

      They are different models but the range is the same. If you want to see your VantageScore 3.0 you can get it for free at

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Those scores aren’t very high. You can always get a car loan but you’ll probably pay a higher rate. Do you see the grades for your score and the action plan?

  • Gerri Detweiler

    One of the reasons we show two different scores is to help raise consumer awareness that you don’t have one score; you have many. In fact, even with FICO scores, there are many different versions and lenders can- and often do – customize them. We encourage consumers not to focus so much on the number as how well they are doing with the different factors that make up their scores. Those tend to be pretty consistent among models. In other words, most models are looking primarily at payment history and debt, and to a lesser extent age of credit history, new credit, inquiries etc.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    I think the real focus should be on the factors that make up your scores, including payment history, debt and to a lesser extent age of credit history, new credit and inquiries. If you get high grades for all of those your scores should be strong across many different models.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    The score that we show to consumers is a score that was developed for lenders and is sold to lenders. But, like you, we recognize that there are lots of different scores out there and so we don’t want consumers to focus just on a number. That’s one reason why we show them two scores (the other is VantageScore 3). And we encourage consumers to focus on the five main factors that make up their score, and the grades they are earning for each of those. Generally if your payment history and debt are strong in one credit scoring model they should be strong in most others. We wrote more about that here: What Is a Good Credit Score? Thanks for commenting!

  • Gerri Detweiler

    The scores the auto lenders use may be different so it’s hard to judge just by those numbers. But it sounds like you won’t be in the top tier, but you should be able to get a decent loan provided you qualify otherwise (debt, income etc.) Rather than let a dealer shop your application and create a bunch of inquiries, why don’t you try to get preapproved for a car loan through a credit union or local bank?

  • shelly

    So does this mean if you have an item in collection that is under 250 and you pay it, is can be erase and help your credit

    • Gerri Detweiler

      No. A paid collection will not automatically be erased from your credit report, regardless of the balance.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    I am not sure what you mean by penalized. You don’t get “penalized” just because you paid off your mortgage. However, if is helpful to have open active accounts, though credit cards can work in that regard.

    • notinthematrix

      Yes, Kitten does in fact mean penalized. I have gotten explanations as to why credit score wasn’t higher, and one of the reasons why was “too few active mortgage accounts.” The implication here is that if you pay off your mortgage, your score will be lower than if you didn’t pay it off.

      • Gerri Detweiler

        Working on an article on this – thanks for bringing it up!

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Are you talking about your free score from

  • Help

    I have a high credit score(795 from experian) but cannot get approved for a card due to “not enough account information”. What does this mean and what can I do

    • Credit Experts

      It means that there is little in your file, and that the creditor didn’t feel there was enough to make a solid judgment about your creditworthiness. You can do a couple of things. One is to get a “credit builder” loan from a credit union. Another is to get a secured card, which, as its name implies, is secured by a deposit. Essentially, your credit limit is the amount on deposit. (Even so, you’ll want to keep your spending at 30% of your limit or less, and pay it off in full every month.) Here’s more information that might be useful:
      How to Build Credit the Smart Way
      How to Get a Credit Card With No Credit History
      How Secured Cards Help Build Credit

  • sampsta .

    So when I log in it tells me my score is 640 but the vantage is 668…what does that mean and why is it different ?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      There are two different credit scoring models being shown. Focus on where you stand in comparison to other consumers and what you can do to build better credit.

  • Rosa Caraballo

    Hi, I am trying to obtain a personal loan to consolidate and pay off certain cards. I pay on time. After my divorce I had join accts, with the ex and he went without telling and negotiated with creditors to pay off debts at a low interest which he did. My mortgage interesr rate is 7.75% and I can’ find or know what to do anymore. Please advise

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Rosa – Have you talked with a credit counseling agency? That would be my suggestion for you. Learn more here: Does Credit Counseling Work?

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