August 30th, 2011

3 VantageScore Myths, Debunked

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If there’s one thing that continues to confound consumers, it’s credit scores. In fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s current efforts to clarify score differences show that consumers need some help understanding credit scores.

VantageScore, created in 2006 in conjunction with the three major credit bureaus, is already making an effort to clarify credit scores for consumers in several ways:

  • Using a letter-grade scale of A – F to make it easier for consumers to understand their score.
  • Using a score model that is a collaborative effort between Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to create a common model across the bureaus.
  • By being transparent about the factors and percentages that contribute to a consumer’s VantageScore.

There are still some myths floating around about credit scores and the VantageScore. We’re here to set the record straight on three of the big ones.

MYTH #1: There’s only one credit score.

TRUTH: FICO and VantageScore are just two of dozens of credit score models used by lenders to assess a consumers’ creditworthiness. Consumers don’t have just one credit score. Here are just a few of the scores available and their respective ranges:

  • Equifax has the BEACON score with a range of 300 – 850.
  • Experian has the CE Credit Score with a range of 330 – 830.
  • TransUnion has the TransRisk Score of 300 – 850.
  • The VantageScore model is a collaboration of all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and has a range of 501 – 990.
  • The FICO Score is Fair Isaacs Company’s proprietary score with a range of 300 – 850.

MYTH #2: The VantageScore is a copy of the FICO score.

TRUTH: VantageScore has a different scale than FICO. While the VantageScore has a range of 501 – 990, FICO uses the scale of 300 to 850. VantageScore uses the three-digit scoring method because lenders and consumers are accustomed to utilizing a three-digit form. One thing that sets the VantageScore apart is its added use of the A – F letter grading scale, which helps consumers better understand where their three-digit score stands.

MYTH #3: VantageScore isn’t used at all by lenders.

TRUTH: Many of the largest lenders use the VantageScore model, including seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the U.S. In fact, Chase Bank recently adopted VantageScore as the scoring model its lenders use.

Bottom Line: Whichever credit score you choose to monitor, focus on the factors that make up the score, rather than the score itself. Fluctuations and changes in your credit report are more important than small scoring differences. And before you consider purchasing a credit score, remember that you can always get your TransRisk, VantageScore, and Auto Insurance Score for free at

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.


  1. To All Credit Karma Staff:
    You have improved our lives dramatically as we go through a tough transition. By being able to review our debts in one place and apply your tips we went from hitting bottom to once again moving forward. When you work on paying off debt, it usually meant only paying the bills and crossing our fingers whenever we needed to make a major purchase. Now we can see the progres, as well as, see where we have been. We can then focus on fixing the problem and managing debt wisely. It is not just the score, but the actions that will get us to our new financial goals.

    Jerry Keyes at 1:42 pm on March 12, 2015
  2. Mike

    Thanks for your comment, Jerry! We’re so glad to hear that we’ve been able to help. Keep up the good work, and please feel free to let us know if you ever need any help with your account in the future. Thanks!

    Mike at 4:07 pm on March 12, 2015
  3. I also would like to thank credit karma. I am so proud of myself for finally opening my eyes and seeing all the things I need to fix about my credit and that wouldn’t be possible without credit karma! Just in three short months I’ve managed to see a 6 point increase in my score. My goal is to buy my own home and with credit karma’s help that is now a definite possibility in my future.

    Danielle at 7:09 am on March 24, 2015
  4. Mike

    So happy to hear it, Danielle! We’re glad to have you on board!

    Mike at 9:04 am on March 24, 2015
  5. I, based on my Credit Karma score, decided to lower my interest rates on two loans. I decided to take an offer from my credit union. Only to realize my Equifax score on Credit Karma was 100pts. higher than the Equifax score my credit union used. I’m very disappointed in this. Not only did I not qualify at my credit union. Now my credit score has dropped 6 points. I’ve worked hard to increase my score and would not have let my credit score be pulled had I known that this could have happened. 100 points is a huge difference and is very misleading.

    Steve at 12:36 pm on July 26, 2015
  6. Enola Guerrero

    Hi Steve – Credit bureaus will provide multiple scores depending on the credit factors they used to generate a score. Different scoring models are used to generate different scores, you can read more here:

    Enola Guerrero at 2:32 pm on July 30, 2015

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