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FICO vs VantageScore — Which One is Better?

Written by: Kristy Welsh

Last Updated: September 25, 2017

Way back in 2006, the three national credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, jointly announced the creation and availability of VantageScore, a new credit scoring model. This model has since been independently marketed and sold through each of the three credit reporting agencies via a licensing agreement with VantageScore Solutions, LLC, a company the agencies established.

Before VantageScore, There Was FICO

With the popularity of credit cards in the 1960s and the enactment of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by the mid-to late 70s, lenders were looking for a way to fairly and consistently evaluate credit applicants. To their rescue came the Fair Isaac Corporation with their credit scoring model, FICO Score, that evaluated each applicant based on impartial and unprejudiced information and gave lenders a consistent way to evaluate credit risks.

The FICO Scoring model was released for credit agencies back in 1981. Then in 1989, they launched the first FICO score for general purpose and was and still is the industry leader for credit scoring.

Since Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion had to pay Fair Isaac to license their proprietary FICO scoring algorithm, they decided to get together and develop their own credit scoring model. Thus, VantageScore was launched in March of 2006 with a second version unveiled in October of 2010 and then a third version was released in March of 2013.

Who Uses FICO Scores and Who Uses VantageScores?

According to, 90 percent of the largest lenders base their credit decisions on the FICO scoring method.

Even though VantageScore has been around for a little more than 10 years, they still have failed to break into the majority of the large lending institutions. When you request a credit score from one of the three big credit bureaus, you will be getting a Vantage credit score.

Differences Between FICO and Vantage

There are many differences in these scoring models and each ones has their own unique algorithm. Having said that, the most obvious difference is what goes into your score. As you can imagine, the exact formulas for each are a well guarded secret so the following information is pretty general and can be found on each of their websites.

What Goes Into Your Score

FICO Components

VantageScore Components

Payment History - 35%

Payment History - 40%

Lenght of Credit History - 15%

Utilization - 20%

Amount Owed - 30%

Depth of Credit - 21%

Types of Credit Used - 10%

Balances - 11%

New Credit - 10%

Recent Credit - 5%


Available Credit - 5%

Which is Better?

Now we come down to the million dollar question — which is better, FICO Score or VantageScore? It depends. Admittedly, the general opinion is that since VantageScore is not widely accepted, your VantageScore is not really looking at the score a lender is going use when approving you for a loan. But who knows, VantageScore has only been around for 10 years and FICO was been in use for 30 years — so maybe in the next 20 years the tables will turn. But for now, if you want to know how lenders are going to evaluate you as a credit risk, it is best to know your FICO Score because chances are that is your real credit score when it comes to your credit health.