VantageScore is a credit rating system jointly developed by the three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, TransUnion and Experian -- to help lenders weigh a borrower’s creditworthiness. VantageScore has various models, but the most commonly used, VantageScore 3.0, has a credit score range from 300 to 850, just like your FICO Score.
What is VantageScore?
VantageScore is a reliable credit rating system that uses a combination of consumer data to generate a three-digit credit score. Scores range from 300 to 850 and factor in payment history, usage, age of accounts and new accounts.
What elements impact a VantageScore?
The following factors affect your VantageScore 3.0 credit score:
Payment history is “extremely influential” in VantageScore calculations and accounts for 40% of your score. Paying your bills on time is crucial when it comes to your payment history, and late or missed payments can have a significant impact on your score.
Age and type of credit
The age of type of consumer’s credit is considered “highly influential” and makes up 21% of a VantageScore 3.0 score. This metric measures how long you’ve had your accounts and whether there are various credit accounts, like revolving credit accounts, retail accounts and installment loans. Lenders want to see if you can handle more than one account and if you have a history of accounts in good standing.
Your credit utilization is a percentage of your total credit to your total debt, making up 20% of a VantageScore 3.0 score. The best way to manage your credit utilization is by keeping your credit card balances low.
VantageScore considers outstanding balances “moderately influential” and accounts for 11% of a score. To remain in good standing in this category, keeping low credit card balances is essential.
Recent credit activity
Recent credit activity accounts for 5% of the VantageScore and looks at the number of new credit accounts and hard inquiries from lenders when applying for credit.
How much available credit you currently have accounts for 3% of the score.
What is the VantageScore range?
There are five VantageScore ranges, broken up as follows:
VantageScore vs. FICO score
VantageScore and FICO are both credit-scoring models that assess creditworthiness, but VantageScore’s criteria are weighted slightly differently than FICO’s. Additionally, it takes less time to produce a VantageScore, appealing to people new to credit. FICO requires one or more accounts open for at least six months to pull a score.
How to check your VantageScore
VantageScore can be generated with as little as one or two months of credit history, making it easier than a FICO score. You can pull your VantageScore from several lenders and credit providers that utilize VantageScore 3.0, including American Express, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, OneMain Financial and US Bank account holders.
How to improve your VantageScore
Whether established or not, working on your credit score takes time, but it’s possible. Here are a few steps that you can take to increase your credit score:
- Ensure that your bills are paid on time. Late or missed payments are among the worst things you can do for your credit score. Make sure to pay at least the minimum amount due on each credit card on time each month.
- Pay down credit card balances. You want to keep your credit utilization below 30%, so work on paying down existing credit card debts as much as possible.
- Do a thorough inspection of credit reports. Dispute any errors or negative items on your credit report and ensure that balances are accurate and up to date. This can help boost your credit score quickly.
- Don’t close old accounts. As long as your old accounts are in good standing, it benefits you to keep them open to maintain the length of your credit history.
- Avoid opening too many accounts at a time. Hard inquiries impact your score, so stray away from applying for more than one credit account at a time to avoid unnecessary dips in your credit score.
The bottom line
Understanding VantageScore helps provide a clear insight into how lenders weigh creditworthiness when calculating your credit score. Like FICO, the VantageScore models develop credit scores using set metrics that analyze payment history, credit utilization, account types, accounts’ average age and so on. Still, you can improve your credit score by paying bills on time, reducing credit card balances, checking your credit report regularly, spacing out credit applications and keeping old accounts in good standing.
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