What Is VantageScore?

VantageScore is a credit score produced by Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Learn how it is calculated and how to improve it.

VantageScore is a credit score produced by the three nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Unlike the largest and oldest of the credit scoring companies, Fair Isaac (which produces the FICO score), VantageScore is somewhat new.

Read on to learn more about VantageScore, how it’s calculated, and what your score means for your credit.  

(To learn more about credit scores in general, including how to get them, see Credit Reports & Credit Scores.)

The Basics of VantageScore

VantageScore is a numerical calculation based on a 24-month review of the information in your credit report that is supposed to predict your creditworthiness. If your VantageScore is high, it means lenders and creditors will be more willing to loan money and extend credit to you, and will probably offer you better interest rates and terms than if you had a low score.  

How Is Your VantageScore Calculated?  

According to VantageScore, this is what it considers when calculating your score:

Payment history (32%). Whether you pay your bills on time.

Credit utilization (23%). How much of your credit limits you have used up.

Balances (15%). Recent balances that have increased.

Depth of credit (13%). Length and variety of credit.

Recent credit (10%). Number of recently opened credit accounts and “hard” inquiries.

Available credit (7%). Amount of credit available on all accounts.  

These factors are largely similar to those used by Fair Isaac to come up with your FICO sore, although there are some slight differences.

What Do the Numbers Mean?  

The VantageScore is a three-digit number ranging from 501 to 990. Like a FICO score, a higher score means less risk. The most important factor is how your score relates to others. To that end, VantageScore assigns a familiar letter grade to your numerical score, so you can get an idea of how good your credit is.  

"A" for scores between 900-990

"B" for scores between 800-899

"C" for scores between 700-799

"D" for scores between 600-699

"F" for scores 599 and below.  

How to Improve Your VantageScore

VantageScore has an excellent pamphlet that provides information on how to improve your score, and how your score will be affected by various financial situations, like late payments, bankruptcies, etc. To find the report (which is called Assume the Role of Managing Your Credit Prudently and Watch Your Score Improve), go to VantageScore’s website at  http://vantagescore.com and click on “Consumers” and then “Managing Your Credit.”

To learn more about repairng and rebuilding your credit, get Nolo's Credit Repair, by Margaret Reiter and Robin Leonard.

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