back

Which credit score is used most 

which credit score is used the most

Credit scores determine the kinds of opportunities you can get in life and how much you pay to borrow money. There are different types of credit scores, so which one should you check? Which credit score is used the most? Learn which credit score is used the most by financial institutions and how you can monitor your credit scores.

What Is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a three-digit numerical representation of your creditworthiness. Most credit scores range from 300 to 850 points. 6 in 10 Americans have a score above 700.1 Scores are generated by a credit scoring model, such as the FICO credit scoring model. The major credit bureaus use these credit score models. To get the most accurate credit score, you can check with them.

High credit scores prove that consumers manage their money wisely and make good financial decisions. On the other hand, low credit scores indicate that the consumer is a credit risk. 

Borrowers with good credit tend to get better loan terms that help them save money. 

Understanding your credit score is crucial in order to gain financial power. Knowing how to manipulate different credit scores can help you work towards building a good credit rating in no time!  

What Are the Three Major Credit Bureaus?

A credit reporting agency, or credit bureau, is a company that collects information on a consumer’s financial activity. Financial information is organized in a credit report, which financial institutions and businesses can access to make qualifying decisions.  

There are three national credit bureaus in the United States: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion

Each credit bureau keeps a credit report on each consumer. Still, the credit bureaus do not share information with each other. So, each of your three credit reports will have different information.  

Every consumer is entitled to one free credit report every twelve months from each of the three credit bureaus. To get one or all of your free credit reports, you can do one of the following:

  • Visit the Annual Credit Report website
  • Call (877) 322-8228
  • Mail a request form to the Annual Credit Report Request Service
  • Visit the credit bureau website 

Checking your credit reports can help you monitor your financial health and better understand your credit position. 

What Are the Main Different Types of Credit Scoring Models?

Credit bureaus use two main credit scoring models to calculate credit scores: FICO score and VantageScore. Both a FICO score and VantageScore have different calculating factors and numerical ranges. Keep reading to learn the differences between FICO scores and VantageScore. 

FICO Score

The FICO credit score is the most widely used credit scoring model.2 The FICO score was first introduced in 1989 to help financial institutions make better-informed lending decisions. FICO scores are determined by five primary factors: your payment history, amounts owed, age of credit accounts, credit mix, and new credit.   

The Fair Isaac Corporation uses different scoring models to provide different types of FICO scores or credit scores. There is a base FICO score, but you also have a FICO Bankcard Score and FICO Auto Score. These additional credit scores help lenders better ascertain a borrower’s credit risk. The type of FICO credit scoring model a financial institution uses varies. However, it may relate to the kind of loan you want to get. 

Your base FICO score helps calculate an industry-specific score with unique qualification requirements. A specific score can help a lender better understand your credit risk for certain loans. For example, an auto loan lender may want to see your FICO auto Score to see how likely you are to make auto payments on time. Industry-specific scores weigh your credit differently. While your base FICO score can range from 300 to 850 points, the FICO auto score ranges from 250 to 900.  

Credit Score Ranges for FICO Score 

A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850 points. Your credit rating depends on where your score falls within five distinct numerical categories. 

FICO Score RangeCredit Rating
800 – 850Exceptional
740 – 799Very Good
670 – 739Good
580 – 669Fair
300 – 579Poor

Most financial institutions expect you to have a good credit rating or higher to qualify for a loan or credit card. According to the FICO score range, a good credit score is anything higher than 670 points.  

Five Factors for FICO Scores

There are five primary factors that affect your FICO credit score. Each factor counts for a small percentage of your overall FICO score.  

Payment History (35% of Your FICO score)

This accounts for 30% of your credit score. The history of your payments represents your reliability as a borrower. This payment history is for your credit accounts, such as credit cards and loans. Things like phone bills or rent payments will generally not affect credit. Making continuous, on-time payments can significantly boost your credit score. However, making even one late payment can decrease your score and result in a late fee. Late payments remain on credit reports for seven years, which can affect a lender’s qualifying decision. 

Signing up for automatic payments can help you improve your payment history on your credit report and prevent missed payments. Auto payments conveniently deduct the monthly debt amount from your bank or credit account!   

Amounts Owed and Credit Utilization (30%)

The amount of debt you owe to credit card issuers can improve or reduce your credit score. Using more than 30% of your credit limits can negatively affect your credit utilization rate. A utilization rate compares your total credit balance and the total credit limit of revolving accounts, such as debt owed to credit card companies. Credit utilization is the second most important factor for credit, as it counts for 30% of your score.

Length of Credit History (15%)

The length of your credit history affects your credit score by 15%. The longer you keep financial accounts open, the better your credit score ends up being, especially if your payment history is excellent. Old accounts will greatly affect the average age of your credit accounts, which helps lenders better understand how you handle your finances. 

New Credit Inquiries (10%)

The number of times you apply for or open new credit accounts can alter your credit rating by 10%. Applying for too many loans or credit cards can signify to financial institutions that you cannot manage your money and are a high-risk borrower. For many lenders, more than six inquiries within a calendar year are too many. Often, many borrowers end up applying with multiple lenders because they have bad credit. But there are bad credit loans!  

Credit Mix (10%)

A credit mix is the possession of both installment and revolving accounts. An installment account is a loan that provides a lump sum you repay monthly. A car loan, and a personal loan are two examples of installment loans. Revolving accounts, such as credit cards, provide a credit limit that allows for varying credit availability. Having different types of accounts can boost your credit, but it is unnecessary. 

VantageScore

VantageScore is a credit score developed in 2006 by the three major credit bureaus to compete against the FICO score. Scores typically range from 300 to 850 points and are calculated differently than the FICO score.

A high VantageScore indicates to financial institutions that you are a reliable borrower who pays on time and manages money wisely. However, a low score shows that you may have trouble paying back the money you borrow. Qualification for loans is still possible with a low VantageScore, but the loan terms may not be ideal. 

VantageScores are calculated using one of two credit scoring models: VantageScore 3.0 and VantageScore 4.0. The most common model is VantageScore 3.0, even though VantageScore 4.0 came out in 2017. 

Score Ranges for VantageScores

There are four credit score ranges for VantageScores, whereas FICO scores have five. Scores range from subprime (lowest) to superprime (highest). 

VantageScore RangeCredit Rating
781 – 850Super Prime
661 – 780Prime
601 – 660Near-Prime
300 – 600Subprime

The benefit of VantageScores is that you can obtain the best credit rating if your score is 781 points or more. If the lender went by FICO scores, a 781 score would only rank as ‘very good’ —not ‘excellent.’ Most lenders expect prime scores, but you can still be eligible for emergency funding with near-prime or subprime credit. However, low credit scores may get higher interest rates to offset the credit risk. 

Five Factors for VantageScores

According to the VantageScore 3.0 credit model, five distinct factors affect credit score calculation. Each factor has a percentile weight, as shown below: 

  • Payment History – 41%
  • Depth of Credit – 20%
  • Credit Utilization – 20%
  • Balances – 11%
  • Recent Credit – 6%
  • Available Credit – 2%

Payment history is always the most important factor for credit scores, whether the lender uses FICO or VantageScores. You can achieve a high credit rating quickly by making continuous on-time payments.

How To Check Your Credit Scores

Checking your credit score can help you track your financial progress and better understand your credit position. There are various ways to check your credit scores for free, such as:

  • Check your loan or credit card statement for your credit scores 
  • Purchase credit scores from one of the three credit bureaus.
  • Use a free credit scoring website (Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, etc.).

Some Common Misconceptions About Credit 

Having Too Much Available Credit

One common misconception is that having too much available credit (like high credit card limits) can hurt your score. In reality, having higher limits (and using a smaller portion) can improve your credit utilization ratio, which may positively impact your score.

Checking Your Own Credit Hurts Your Score:

Reality: When you check your own credit score, it is considered a “soft inquiry” and doesn’t impact your credit score. It’s only “hard inquiries,” like those made by lenders when you apply for a new line of credit, that can have a temporary negative effect.

You Only Have One Credit Score:

Reality: There are multiple credit scores and models out there, including FICO and VantageScore. Moreover, each of the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—might report slightly different scores due to varying data sources.

Carrying a Credit Card Balance Improves Your Credit:

Reality: You don’t need to carry a balance (and pay interest) to build good credit. It’s more important to pay your bills on time and maintain a low credit utilization ratio.

Closing Old Credit Cards Will Boost Your Score:

Reality: Closing old or unused credit cards can potentially hurt your credit score, as it can decrease the length of your credit and increase your credit utilization ratio.

A High Income Will Raise Your Score:

Reality: Your income isn’t directly factored into your credit score. However, lenders might consider your income alongside your credit score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.

Paying Off a Negative Record Removes It from Your Report:

Reality: Paying off a debt that went to collections or settling other negative marks won’t immediately remove them from your credit report. They can stay on your report for up to seven years, though their impact diminishes over time.

You Should Avoid Credit Cards Entirely:

Reality: Using credit cards responsibly is a great way to build a positive credit history. It’s about managing them wisely, not avoiding them.

FAQ

Why is there a difference in score ranges between FICO and VantageScore?

While both scoring systems generally range from 300 to 850, they use different models and calculations. For instance, the FICO Auto Score ranges from 250 to 900. This difference is due to how each model weighs credit history and other factors.

Are there other credit scoring models besides FICO and VantageScore?

Yes, while FICO and VantageScore are the most widely known, there are other models in use, but they might not be as widely accepted by lenders.

How often do credit scores get updated?

Credit scores can be updated as frequently as monthly, depending on the reporting practices of lenders and creditors. It’s essential to check your score regularly to ensure accuracy.

How does closing an old credit card account affect my credit score?

Closing an old credit account can impact the length of your credit history, which is a factor in calculating your score. It may also affect your credit utilization ratio if you have balances on other cards.

How can I ensure I’m looking at the most accurate credit score?

To obtain the most accurate credit score, it’s recommended to check with the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. As each bureau might have slightly different information, comparing scores from all three can provide a comprehensive and, therefore, accurate credit score.

The Bottom Line With CreditNinja: The Most Used Credit Scores

The two credit scores used the most by lenders include the FICO score followed by VantageScore. Each type of credit score has different categorical ranges and factors that affect the calculation. However, at CreditNinja, we want you to know that your payment history is always the most critical factor for building an excellent credit rating. Setting up reminders and automatic payments can make it easier to pay bills on time.

Check out the rest of our helpful blogs to answer more questions like “when did credit scores become a thing?”

References:

  1. 30 Credit Score Statistics for 2023 | Lexington Law
  2. FICO Credit Score | FICO
  3. The Complete Guide to Your VantageScore | VantageScore
  4. What’s in my FICO® Scores? | Fair Isaac Corporation
  5. What is a FICO® Auto Score? | Credit Karma
Read More
average apr for personal loan
The average APR for a personal loan will depend largely on your credit score and the lender you choose to work with.  A personal loan is…
best credit building apps
The best credit-building apps give borrowers the tools they need to improve their credit and spending habits. If you have bad credit, you may be…
best budget apps
The 10 best apps for budgeting include Mint, PocketGuard, and others. However, you may ask, “How can I find the best free budgeting app?” The…
credit score needed for a construction loan
While there is no one credit score that is required for construction loan approval, lenders typically tend to favor applicants with higher scores and a…

Quick And Easy Personal Loans Up To $2500*