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What is VantageScore and How Does It Work?

What is VantageScore and How Does It Work?

By Matt Diehl • March 09, 2018

A credit score is a three-digit number that lenders use when deciding to approve a loan or credit card application. FICO® Scores may be the most well-known, but lenders use other scoring models as well. Let’s take a look at VantageScore®, another widely-used credit score:1

What is VantageScore?

VantageScore is a credit score model that helps lenders determine the likelihood that an applicant may default on a loan. It was developed by three nationally recognized credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to provide a highly consistent, predictive and easy-to-understand scoring model.2 Current VantageScore scoring models, VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0, use the familiar 300-850 scale, similar to FICO Scores.3 Earlier VantageScore models used a range of 501-990.4

What is the difference between VantageScore and FICO?

Although these scoring models are similar, there are a few differences that you should be aware of. For example, VantageScore only requires one month of credit history to establish a score.5 FICO, on the other hand, requires a minimum of six months of credit history to establish a score.6

Another contrast relates to credit inquiries. Both models offer “deduplication” but handle it differently. Deduplication is a credit scoring factor that penalizes you less for a large number of inquiries in a short period of time. For instance, if you’re shopping around for the best rate on a mortgage or auto loan, all of the combined inquiries will count as one. VantageScore offers a range of 14 days for deduping any type of credit inquiry.7 FICO offers a wider range of 45 days but only offers deduplication for inquiries relating to student loans, auto loans and mortgages.8

Which lenders use VantageScore?

Between July 2016 - June 2017, over 2,200 financial institutions used more than 6 billion VantageScore credit scores to make loan decisions.9 This includes 10 of the 10 largest banks and 29 of the 100 largest credit unions.10 VantageScore and FICO compete in every credit category except for certain mortgages.

How is my score calculated?

Here’s the breakdown of factors that are used to help determine your VantageScore:11

  • Payment History – Extremely influential
  • Age and type of credit, percentage of credit used – Highly influential
  • Total balance of debt – Moderately influential
  • Available credit, recent credit inquiries and behavior – Less influential

How can I improve my score?

There are several ways to improve your VantageScore credit score, such as paying bills on time, not using all available credit and using a mix of loan products like personal loans and credit cards.12 For a more personal approach, pay attention to the reason codes on your credit report. Reason codes are also called score factors and adverse action codes. These little notes will tell you why your score wasn’t higher and help you plan a score-improvement strategy. Go to ReasonCode.org to learn more.

Where can I get my VantageScore?

If you’re a OneMain customer, getting your VantageScore credit score is easy. Log in to your online account and you’ll see your VantageScore updated quarterly and displayed on your account summary page. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up here!

If you’re not currently a OneMain customer, you can get your VantageScore by contacting one of the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian or Equifax) to request your current score. A fee may apply.

Understand the ins and outs

VantageScore is one of many credit scoring models available. By learning how it works, you can be one step closer to managing your overall credit picture.


1. VantageScore. “Who uses our model.” Vantagescore.com. https://www.vantagescore.com/who-uses-our-model (accessed February 27, 2018).
2. VantageScore. “Why we were founded.” Vantagescore.com. https://your.vantagescore.com/why-we-exist (accessed February 16, 2018).
3. VantageScore. “Introducing VantageScore 4.0.” Vantagescore.com. https://your.vantagescore.com/interpretscores (accessed February 27, 2018).
4. VantageScore. “How the scores range.” Vantagescore.com. https://your.vantagescore.com/interpretscores (accessed February 19, 2018).
5. Housser, Andrew. "What you should know about new and traditional credit scores." Your.vantagescore.com. https://your.vantagescore.com/news-story/204/what-you-should-know-about-new-and-traditional-credit-scores (accessed February 27, 2017).
6. Housser, Andrew. “What you should know about new and traditional credit scores.” Your.vantagescore.com.
7. VantageScore. “Myths: What impacts credit scores?” Vantagescore.com. https://your.vantagescore.com/resource/46/myths-what-impacts-credit-scores (accessed February 27, 2018).
8. myFICO. “Credit Checks & Inquiries.” Myfico.com. https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-checks/credit-report-inquiries/ (accessed February 27, 2018).
9. Carroll, Peter. “2017 VantageScore Market Study Report.” Vantagescore.com.
10.  Ibid.
11.  VantageScore. “What influences your score.” Vantagescore.com. https://your.vantagescore.com/score-influences (accessed February 19, 2018).
12.  VantageScore. “How to improve your score.” Vantagescore.com. https://your.vantagescore.com/improve (accessed February 19, 2018).


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of OneMain. The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else. The author was compensated by OneMain for this post.