Just a few years ago, the three major credit reporting agencies (bureaus)…Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax…got together and decided to challenge the FICO score model. They were intent on coming up with their own scoring model that would break down the criteria even further. This would allow them to sell more kinds of data to creditors. Their idea was to provide more consistency and predictability in credit scoring, especially for consumers that had a “thin file” (those just starting out in the credit world).
The FICO model ranges between 300-850 for consumer files. The Vantage Score ranges between 500-990.
FICO Model Vantage Model
Excellent 700-850 “A” 900-990
Good 680-699 “B” 800-899
Fair 620-679 “C” 700-799
Poor 580-619 “D” 600-699
Bad 500-579 “F” below 599
As you can see, the FICO model is graded kind of like when we were in school…on a curve. The high scores are given so much more weight than the lower scores. In the Vantage Model, there is no curve…it is a straight 90-100 point difference between levels.
While the Vantage score may or may turn out to be more equitable for consumers, at this writing, lenders are still overwhelmingly using the FICO standard. As a consumer, however, it is important for you to ask the question of your lender…which scoring model are you using? Additionally, how does a consumer find out which score is being used when he obtains his annual free report, or if he is paying for a monthly service? It is important to ASK the question.