Who Uses VantageScore and Who Uses FICO?

Shoshanna Cohen
VantageScore vs FICO

Your credit score is an important facet of your financial profile — but there’s more than just one credit score out there. FICO and VantageScore both offer credit score calculations as a way for lending institutions and individuals to measure financial health

Different institutions may prefer one or the other when deciding who to lend to, as each score uses different metrics to determine the final number. Knowing which institutions use which score can help you better understand where your lender is coming from, and how you can optimize your personal lending profile.

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Table of Contents

Institutions That Use VantageScore

Businesses and individuals may choose to use VantageScore because it is more easily accessible. VantageScore is also a good option for people with limited credit history or depth of credit, but it relies mainly on payment history for its calculation. 

Institutions that use VantageScore include:

  • Credit card companies;
  • Personal loan companies;
  • Credit unions;
  • Banks;
  • Mortgage companies;
  • Rental and property management companies.

In a 2018 market study, VantageScore found that its product was used primarily by credit card issuers and non-financial institutions, such as rental companies. 

Institutions That Use FICO 

Any of the institutions that use VantageScore can use FICO if they so choose. Institutions that typically use FICO scores include:

  • Mortgage companies;
  • Auto lenders;
  • Personal loan companies;
  • Credit card companies;
  • Federal entities.

According to FICO, 90% of lenders use their scores in their approval process. The three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion all use FICO scores as well.

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Can You Use Both?

Lending companies or individuals may compare these two scores to get a full picture of their financial standing. The scores tend to be pretty similar, though big influencers, like your credit depth, can cause more pronounced differences. 

VantageScore also covers a smaller time span — 14 days — in order to calculate your score, which can also cause a discrepancy when compared to FICO’s 48-day range. Despite differences, both scores are considered widely reputable.

If you have a preferred score, you may want to look for a lender who specifically uses that score, in order to maximize your approval chances. You can check which score a company or financial institution uses by asking your local agent, or checking their website or application packets. 

What Is Each Score Used For?

In general, both FICO scores and VantageScores can be used for the same purposes. They help lenders such as credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and auto lenders determine how reliable of a borrower you’re going to be. 

Your credit score is the major deciding factor in whether you qualify for a credit card or loan, and what your interest rate will look like.

While the two scoring companies use different methods to calculate your score, the resulting scores are usually pretty similar. Initially, VantageScore provided an advantage versus FICO for people without much credit history. However, the Fair Isaac Corporation (the company behind FICO) has introduced FICO Score XD as a competitor, which factors in the same details. 

Which Score Is Used Most? 

FICO is typically used in the majority of lending decisions made by private or federal institutions. VantageScore is typically used by individuals checking on their personal scores. 

This is because VantageScore is more widely available for free online, and doesn’t penalize users for soft inquiries. However, VantageScore is becoming more widely used by a variety of lenders.

The deciding factor for whether an organization uses FICO or VantageScore is determined on a case-by-case basis. Each lender will have different things they prioritize when it comes to score reports, and will seek out the score that best satisfies their needs. Or, they will disregard things, such as paid collections, that they don’t consider pertinent. 

FICO vs Vantage: Which Score Should I Use to Check My Credit?

When checking your personal credit score, VantageScore is typically your best bet. You can check it more often, as FICO only allows reports from the three major bureaus once a year. 

Your credit score is a powerful tool to help you understand and improve your financial profile. VantageScore is used for this purpose much more than FICO. But since VantageScores and FICO scores are typically quite similar, you can use your VantageScore as a predictor of what your FICO will probably look like.

Your FICO score and your VantageScore are both reliable indicators of your financial health. The main difference between them is the situations in which they are used: For the most part, FICO is used by financial institutions to decide whether to extend credit to you, and VantageScore is used by consumers to find out how their credit looks. Each is an important piece of the credit puzzle, and can help you successfully realize your financial goals.

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