Understanding the Difference Between FICO Scores and VantageScores
Explore the two primary credit scoring models and how they impact your financial health

Credit Score

Understanding the Difference Between FICO Scores and VantageScores

In the world of credit, your score can be the difference between securing a loan at a favorable interest rate and being denied altogether. Two primary credit scoring models dominate the landscape: FICO Scores and VantageScores. While both aim to evaluate an individual's creditworthiness, they differ in several critical ways. In this blog post, we will explore these differences to help you understand how each model impacts your financial health.

What is a Credit Score?

Before diving into the differences, it’s essential to understand what a credit score is. A credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness, based on your credit history. Lenders use this score to determine the risk involved in lending you money. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be approved for credit and to receive favorable terms.

FICO Scores

FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) Scores are the most widely used credit scores in the United States. Created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, FICO Scores range from 300 to 850. Here’s a breakdown of what influences your FICO Score:

  • Payment History (35%): Your track record of on-time payments.
  • Amounts Owed (30%). : The total amount of credit and loans you’re using.
  • Length of Credit History (15%): How long your credit accounts have been established.
  • New Credit (10%): Recent credit inquiries and newly opened accounts.
  • Credit Mix (10%): The variety of credit types you have (e.g., credit cards, mortgage, auto loans).

FICO Scores have multiple versions (e.g., FICO Score 8, FICO Score 9) and industry-specific scores tailored for auto loans and credit cards.


The VantageScore was developed jointly by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Like FICO, VantageScores also range from 300 to 850. Here’s how VantageScore evaluates your credit:

  • Payment History: Similar to FICO, your record of on-time payments.
  • Age and Type of Credit : The length of your credit history and the types of accounts you have.
  • Percentage of Credit Limit Used (Credit Utilization): How much of your available credit you’re using.
  • Total Balances/Debt: The total amount of debt you have.
  • Recent Credit Behavior and Inquiries: New accounts and hard inquiries.
  • Available Credit: The amount of credit available to you.

Key Differences

While both scores aim to assess your credit risk, there are several key differences between them:

1. Creators: FICO Scores are created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, while VantageScores are a product of collaboration between Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

2. Scoring Model Versions: FICO has various versions for different purposes, whereas VantageScore has streamlined updates, with VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 being the latest.

3. Credit History Requirements:

FICO: Requires at least six months of credit history and at least one account reported within the last six months.

VantageScore: Can generate a score with just one month of history and considers data from the past two years.

4. Data Consideration: VantageScore may consider non-traditional credit data (like utility and rent payments) more readily than FICO, which primarily focuses on traditional credit data.

Which Score Do Lenders Use?

While FICO Scores remain the gold standard in lending decisions, VantageScores are gaining traction. Some lenders and financial institutions use VantageScores as an alternative or complement to FICO Scores. However, the choice of which score to use can vary by lender and the type of credit product.


Understanding the differences between FICO Scores and VantageScores can empower you to take control of your credit health. Both scores are essential tools in the financial landscape, and knowing how they are calculated can help you make informed decisions. Whether you are looking to improve your credit score or simply understand your credit report better, keeping these differences in mind will help you navigate the complex world of credit.

By staying informed and proactive about your credit score, you can enhance your financial well-being and secure better opportunities for loans, credit cards, and more.  As a Merchant setting up their consumer finance line up, ask your lender as to their underwriting model. Ensure your lineup covers your needs from Prime, BNPL, Second Look, down to Sub-Prime.  Mylendpro.com has already completed this assessment and can simplify your process. For a complete RFP service, consultative review, or friendly advice reach out to us today.