Home > Credit Score > Beyond FICO: 6 Credit Scores You Should Know About

Comments 0 Comments

When you get your credit score, you may be surprised to learn that the score you receive is not a FICO score. That doesn’t mean that the score you received is “wrong,” or somehow inferior, though. There are a variety of credit scores that lenders can use to make credit decisions, and the ones they choose depend on which ones they believe are right for their business.

Think about it this way: a business may choose to use PC or Mac computers. Or its office staff may use PCs while the design team may use Macs, for example. Neither one is a “bad” choice (except to the die-hard fans in both camps!) as long as it helps them get the job done.

The same can be said of the different types of credit scores. Even among FICO scores, for example, there are many different variations. And while the majority of credit scores used by lenders are FICO scores, there are other “non-FICO” credit scores that lenders and insurers use to make decisions, or that have been developed to educate consumers about their creditworthiness. (The latter are called “educational scores.”)

Other Credit Scores Out There

  • Plus Score – One of the three major national consumer reporting agencies, Experian sells consumers a score called the PLUS Score™. This score is an educational score, which means it is designed to help consumers understand their creditworthiness.
  • TransRisk New Account Score – Also one of the big three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion has created a score called the TransRisk New Account Score. It is specifically designed to predict risk on new accounts, rather than new and existing accounts, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This score is available through at least one website that provides consumers with a free credit score.
  • Equifax Credit Score – As the name states, this credit score is sold by Equifax. It is a proprietary educational score that can be calculated using credit information from Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
  • VantageScore – VantageScore credit scores were developed by the three major credit reporting agencies to help lenders make credit decisions, but they are also available to consumers to help them understand their credit. (Credit.com offers consumers a free VantageScore, for example, through its Credit Report Card.) The newest version is called VantageScore 3.0.
  • CreditXpert Credit Score – This educational score is provided to consumers through partnerships with other companies that provide credit monitoring services to consumers. In addition, lenders often use CreditXpert products to help identify ways client’s credit scores can be improved.
  • CE Credit Score – This is used by lenders and is provided to consumers through several websites.

Credit score ranges vary, depending on which type of score is being used. FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850, with 850 representing the highest possible credit score. Other credit score ranges may go higher than that.  If you are looking at your credit score through one of those services, an 850 credit score may still indicate you have very strong credit, but not as high as it would be if that were a FICO score.

Here are the score ranges for some of the non-FICO scores:

  • PLUS Score – 330-830
  • TransRisk Score – 100-900
  • Equifax Credit Score – 280 – 850
  • VantageScore 1.0 and 2.0 – 501 – 990
  • VantageScore 3.0 – 300 – 850
  • CreditXpert – 350-850
  • CE Credit Score – 350 – 850

When you get your credit score, it’s helpful to understand what type of score you are seeing, and to understand the range. But don’t obsess too much about the specific number. Instead, look at how your score ranks in comparison to other consumers (most services that provide credit scores to consumers will tell you that), as well as what areas of your credit may need some work. Credit.com’s Credit Report Card breaks down the segments that affect your credit scores — such as payment history, credit mix, credit age, debt utilization, new credit — and tells you how strong you are in each one, and what you can do to work on those items.

Since all credit scores look at the same type of information, taking steps to build and keep strong credit will benefit you no matter which scoring model is being used.

Image: Zoonar

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team