FICO vs VantageScore

The Vantage credit score is a relatively new player in the world of credit scores and is also a world apart from the FICO score. Make sure you fully understand their similarities – and more importantly – their differences.

What is VantageScore?

Before there was VantageScore, there was FICO. Let’s talk about that first…

  • In 1958 Fair Isaac Corp. created the first credit score model.
  • In ’81 they created the first scoring models for credit agencies.
  • In ’89 they launched the first FICO score for general-purpose.
  • In a nutshell, FICO was first. It has been (and still is) the industry leader for credit scoring. It’s usually what lenders look at when they consider your credit application.

The three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – have to pay Fair Isaac to license their proprietary FICO scoring algorithm. So the three of them banded together to create the Vantage credit score for their own use to save money. However FICO was and still is the gold standard for lending/credit decisions – purportedly with a near 90 percent marketshare.

Who uses VantageScore?

This score hasn’t even been around a decade yet and thus far, lenders have failed to adapt it on a wide scale. To put things in perspective, according to FICO’s website, their scoring models are used by more than 90 percent of the largest lenders. So who is actually using VantageScore? That’s difficult to say.

In 2006 Fair Isaac Corporation filed a lawsuit against VantageScore Solutions, LLC alleging that they were trying to drive Fair Isaac out of the credit scoring industry. Within the 52-page court order, it claimed that VantageScore’s marketshare was only 5.7 percent.

In the years since VantageScore’s usage and market share has most certainly increased, but by how much is anyone’s guess. According to VantageScore’s website, the score is used by

  • 7 of the Top 10 major financial institutions
  • 8 of the Top 10 credit card issuers
  • 6 of the Top 10 auto lenders
  • 5 of the Top 5 mortgage lenders

The question is, however, how often are 7 of the Top 10 major financial institutions using VantageScore vs. FICO? I believe that would give us a clearer picture as to who uses Vantage credit scores.

VantageScore vs. FICO score?

Here’s are a couple things to consider when comparing these scores:


The formulas for both FICO and VantageScore are highly proprietary, so no one can tell you exactly how they are calculated. However, both companies do provide some basic information as to the general categories and how they affect your score. Here’s FICO’s breakdown:

FICO vs. Vantage Score

VantageScore, meanwhile, doesn’t have an exact breakdown, but provides this approximation:

Extremely influential factors

-Payment history

Highly influential factors

-Age and type of credit
-Percentage of credit limit used

Moderately influential factors

-Total balances/debt

Less influential factors

-Recent behavior and inquiries
-Available credit