The vantage scores are a joint venture backed by the 3 credit reporting agencies (CRA’s). The score was created in 2006 by a 3rd party group that was handpicked and funded by the CRA’s. Even though they are supposed to be separate from the CRA’s they are still funded by them. It makes you wonder if this score becomes popular, is it going to give the CRA’s too much power? The vantage score is a bit more complex than the Fico scores. It uses current economic trends to evaluate it’s scores. It breaks down different types of revolving credit and puts them in various categories.

For example: instead of having overdraft on a checking account, home equity loans, and credit cards lumped into the same group (revolving credit) each one is viewed separately. This, they claim, will help to define the algorithms of the score in a more accurate light. If you are looking at a Fico score, to date, each of these categories mentioned are considered revolving credit. Revolving credit weights more heavily on the scores since it is the only credit you can charge the maximum and pay the minimum. This type of credit affects the score more since it is the credit we as consumers manage the most. It gives the score a more detailed view of our ability to control and use our credit. Vantage, instead of grouping it all together, separates each type and views it individually. For example: if you have high home equity balances but your credit card debt is low the score would reflect the difference where as the fico score would drop if any or all of your revolving credit balances were high. This is one of the differences in the score.

Some other distinctions of difference are authorized credit card holders. If you are not the primary on a credit card it will not be considered in the tabulation of your vantage score. This could be a good and bad thing. If you have very little credit and you need your score to increase if you are put on a relative or close friend’s credit card as an authorized user this could dramatically increase or decrease your Fico score. Depending on the length of this credit and past paying patterns will define the affect on the score. For example: if I had one car lease, 2 credit cards opened in the past year, and one student loan with a late payment from 2 years ago my score might be around a 602. If I was added on to my husband’s 10-year-old Amex (with great paying patterns and low balance) my score could increase up to 60 points or more. If the same thing happened on the vantage score it would not make a difference at all. The score would view the authorized account as invisible. The score also claims to be able to have less disparity between the 3 CRA’s but does not explain clearly how that is possible. It seems there are some really good ideas and valuable attributes to this scoring systems but it will only be clear when it starts to be used by banks more consistently.


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