Take a moment and think back to when you last looked at your credit score. Where was the last place you saw it? If you don’t know it, where would you go to check? If you thought you had a good score, but checked in the wrong place, you may be in for a nasty surprise when it comes time to apply for a loan or a new credit card.
You see, your credit score is based on an algorithm, and depending on which algorithm is used, the score could be wildly different from your real score. The two biggest, and most common algorithms used are the FICO Score, and the Vantage 3.0 scores.
The FICO score was the first such algorithm created. It was developed as a way to figure out someone’s credit worthiness. FICO scores can be found by checking any one of the three bureaus, or by select credit cards that offer a FICO score. The FICO score is important because it’s the score that lenders use to make their decisions.
The FICO scores are broken down as follows:
- 35% Payment History
- 30% Credit Utilization
- 15% Credit Age
- 10% Inquiries
- 10% Credit Mix
Vantage 3.0 Score
Websites that allow you to check your credit report, such as credit karma or credit sesame generally use the Vantage 3.0 score. The original Vantage algorithm was created not too long ago, back in 2006 by the 3 bureaus themselves. The original score ranged from 501 to 999, which I’m sure you could imagine made things really confusing. Only a few years back, did the scores align with FICOs 350-850 range.
Of course, there are differences in the way these scores are ranked. While the exact percentages are not disclosed as they used to be, the Vantage score used to be formed like this:
- 40% Payment History
- 21% Credit Age and Mix
- 20% Credit Utilization
- 11% Balances
- 5% Recent credit applications
- 3% Available Credit
Why You Should Only Pay Attention to FICO Scores
While the Vantage scores can be used to get a general overview of your score, they are called FAKO scores for a reason. There are two major problems with the Vantage score. The first one being that the score can be very different from the FICO score, up to 100 points different. The second being that whenever an important financial decision in made for a banking institution, they’re going to use the FICO score.
The Vantage 3, and really any credit monitoring service can be useful for one thing though, that that would be checking the overall report. It’s possible that something may have slipped through the cracks, and wont show up on your FICO report, but may show up on the Vantage 3 score. Things like late payments for any sort of incorrect information are great things to look out for.
As much as we may not want to admit it, our credit score is super important. The score itself dictates so many things, and could save us a ton of money in the long run from lower interest rates. It’s crucial then, that we work on not only improving our scores, but actually having access to the correct score.
While the Vantage score may be great for getting an overall picture of your credit report, the score itself is basically worthless. All serious lenders use the FICO score instead, and as such, you should only focus on that.