Credit Scores — FICO Score, VantageScore, Other Scoring Models
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Understanding your credit score is vital if you are going to apply for a home or car loan, personal loan, or a credit card. Credit scores are also used by landlords, car insurance companies, utility companies, and cell phone companies. The lower your score, the more you are going to pay in interest, insurance rate, or deposit, if you can even get approved in the first place.
There are numerous ways to get your credit score, along with your credit report. But it won't help to know your score unless you also know how it was calculated and how you can increase it.
Our credit score FAQs page is a great place to start for the basics. For more detailed coverage, delve into the articles below.
Credit Score Basics
How Credit Scoring Works — Most Americans have no idea what goes into a credit score and what types of scoring models are used when applying for a loan. This article breaks it down into easy to understand concepts so you can get a general overview of credit scores.
Credit Score Truths — If you are fixing your credit, doing it right depends on clearing up misconceptions about your credit score. What you don't know could hurt you.
How Credit Scores Are Used by Lenders — Why do lenders see different scores than you do? How many scores are there? And which ones do you need to track? Find out.
Why Do Credit Scores Fluctuate — You may have a different credit score with each of the major credit reporting agencies. Find out why and which score matters most.
How a Low Credit Score Can Cost You Money — A low credit score means higher interest rates, costing you more money in the long run. Get the facts.
Credit Score Dating — There is nothing wrong with wanting to know a potential partner's credit score, but is it really okay to ask for a credit score on the first date?
How Your Credit Score Compares to Other Americans — Compared to other U.S. consumers, maybe your credit score isn't as bad as you think.
How to Get Your Credit Score
Best Places to Get Your Credit Scores (and Reports) — You need to know your credit score before you start your credit repair efforts, and after. Check out this listing of recommended sources, not only for your credit score, but also for your credit report.
How Credit Monitoring Services Work — Signing up for a credit monitoring service can be an easy and convenient way to keep an eye on your credit score and report. But is it really necessary? Weigh the pros and cons.
CFPB's Free Credit Score Initiative — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau encourages credit card companies to give consumers a free monthly credit score with their credit card statements. Get the facts about this inititative.
Free Credit Score with Financial Reform Bill — The passing of HR 4173 in July of 2010 brought many benefits to consumers in the way of financial protection and oversite. See how this bill helps you.
How Your Credit Score Is Calculated
What Goes Into Your Credit Score — Coming up with that magical three-digit number is a highly guarded secret by the big three credit bureaus. Here's what we do know about the five categories that make up your credit score.
What Affects Your Credit Score — There are plenty of things that can make your credit score better, and plenty of things that can make it worse. Find out which is which.
What Does Not Affect Your Score — Some actions that you think affect your credit score might be based on myth. Before you start repairing your credit, get your facts straight.
Surprising Things That Affect Your Credit Score — Sometimes the littlest things have the biggest impact. Your credit score is no exception. Get the facts.
How to Figure Out Your Credit Utilization Ratio — Learn how to figure out your credit utilization ratio. This is a very important part of your FICO Score.
How Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score — Ever wonder what those credit inquiries are on your credit report and if they affect your credit score? Some do and some don't — learn the difference.
How One Late Payment Impacts Credit Score — Before you pay your credit card late, find out just how much damage just one late payment can do to your credit score.
How Rent-to-Own Can Impact Your Credit Score — If you are thinking of using a rent-to-own store to get new furniture, think again. Timely payments won't help your credit score and high interest fees will hurt your bank account.
How a Mortgage Can Impact Your Credit Score — If you qualify for a home loan, be careful. If you overextend yourself, then pay late or default, your credit score will take a beating.
How to Increase Your Credit Score
Ways to Increase Your Credit Score — Knowing your credit score only makes a difference if you also know how to improve it for better deal on loans, insurance rates, and more.
Habits to Follow for a Great Credit Score — Learn the habits of people who have great credit scores so you can make these habits your own.
How to Get an 800 Credit Score — Only a small percentage of consumers have a credit score of 800 or higher. Would you like to join this club? Find out how you can increase your score to over 800.
How to Get the Right Credit Mix — Having a good credit score is more than just removing negative items. It also requires a good mix of different types of credit.
How to Increase Your Score Before Getting a Mortgage Loan — Get tips on increasing your credit score if you are planning on buying a home in the next 12 months. Start early and clean up your credit before you apply for a mortgage loan.
How Rapid Rescore Works — Learn how mortgage brokers use rapid rescore to quickly increase credit scores to close loans for their customers. Will this help you when buying your next home?
How to Minimize the Impact of a Short Sale on Your Score — Maybe you have no choice but to go through a short sale but, at the very least, minimize the damage to your credit score.
How to Build Up Your Business Credit Score — If you own a business, it is a good idea to check your business credit reports and your business credit score. Learn the advantages to building up this credit score and how to do it.
Credit Scoring Models — FICO, VantageScore, and Other Scoring Models
FICO & VantageScore
Why FICO Score Reigns Supreme — When we think about our credit score, for most of us, it's the FICO Score that first comes to mind. And with good reason. Learn why this score is the one most lenders use to determine creditworthiness.
VantageScore; The Basics — This scoring model was developed to compete with FICO. It's not used by lenders as often as FICO, but your VantageScore is used by some lenders and can be a good tool for gauging your overall credit health.
FICO vs VantageScore — Learn the pros and cons of FICO vs VantageScore credit scoring models. Which one is better? It depends on you.
FICO 9 Release — Get the facts about the latest FICO score update and how it may increase your credit score.
FICO Score XD - Are you credit invisible? FICO Score XD generates credit scores for consumers whose credit is too thin or old to generate a traditional FICO Score.
Changes to FICO Score — See the history of changes to Fair Isaac's credit scoring model over the years, including details on FICO 8 (the most widely used FICO Score).
Other Scoring Models
The Truth About Alternative Credit Scores — Get the facts about who generates alternative scores, how they're calculated, and the pros and cons of using them.
CreditVision Link Scoring Model — Like FICO Score XD, TransUnion's CreditVision scoring model generates scores for those whose credit history is too thin or old to generate a traditional credit score.
Understanding Your Insurance Score — Your insurance credit score can determine your insurance rates and detect possible insurance fraud.
Bad Credit Scores May Increase Insurance Costs — Unfortunately, having a poor credit score not only affects getting a loan, but may also cause you to pay more for insurance. See how the insurance industry is using credit scores to determine premiums.
Secret Credit Scores Used by Lenders — Have you ever heard of a revenue score, behavior scoring, or collection score? These are just a few of the secret scoring models lenders use to determine if you are a desirable risk.
How Social Media Credit Scoring Works — This relatively new method of credit scoring seems to be picking up steam. See the pros and cons of this scoring method.
New Credit Scoring Models — Lenders use more than just your FICO Score or VantageScore to determine your creditworthiness. Get the facts about other scoring models.
The Growth of Credit Score Alternatives — Though FICO Score is still preferred among most lenders, many are starting to use other ways to determine credit worthiness. Are these methods really taking off?
Credit Scoring Conference — Contributing editor, Kristy Welsh, attending the Credit Scoring Conference in Washington D.C. Read her story.