WalletHub: Vantage Score vs. FICO Score: What’s the Difference?

WalletHub: Vantage Score vs. FICO Score: What’s the Difference?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 16:09
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FICO and VantageScore are the two top dogs of the credit-scoring market. So for your wallet’s sake, it’s important to understand what distinguishes them.

Crowded Credit-Score Market

FICO is an easy-to-remember acronym, but it really doesn’t tell you much as far as credit scores are concerned. Each of us has as many as 49 different scores issued by the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, among more than 1,000 scores overall. And guess what? In many cases, they won't exactly match what any lender uses to evaluate our trustworthiness as borrowers – or what some might call our “real” credit score.

That’s right. All major lenders use proprietary in-house credit scores, which might be based on over-the-counter scoring models but are modified in such a way as to provide drastically different results than anything we can get our hands on.

That, in turn, makes the brand and model of the credit score that you reference almost immaterial. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a FICO or VantageScore credit score or whether it’s based on your TransUnion, Equifax or Experian credit report. What matters is that you actually check your score. You should also get it for free from a reputable source and reference the same type of score over time for the sake of accurate comparison.

Among the experts asked was Peter A. Karl III, Professor of Taxation and Business Law at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, who was asked Which is better and why: VantageScore 3.0 or FICO Score 9?

"Regarding your inquiry about the use of Vantage score versus the FICO score, I believe that at this period of time, the FICO is considered to be the premier credit source used universally by most institutions and others," says Karl. "Whether Vantage will be able to capture more of a market five years from now is anyone's guess."