What is the VantageScore?
What is the VantageScore?

In the 1970s, the Fair Issacs Company created the first credit scoring system, dubbed the FICO score. This has since been standardized as the industry's leading credit score model to assess potential borrowers. More recently, the VantageScore was created in collaboration with the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) as a new generic proprietary credit score model marketed as a more "consistent interpretation" and "accurate score" than FICO. As Credit Karma provides you with your VantageScore for free, here's what you need to know about it.

Credit Scores Vary

First of all, it's important to keep in mind that you do not have one "true" credit score. There are actually over 100 different credit scoring models used in the industry that varies by bureau, reporting agency, model type, and lender. Each model uses a different algorithm that weighs each part of your credit report differently, which explains why you may have a 750 from Credit Karma and a 762 from FICO. We've previously addressed how to understand the credit score differences; there are indeed many different credit score models, but they are all highly correlated. They use different ranges, different formulas, and the information found on your credit report can differ from bureau to bureau, but all the models aim to assess your credit history and translate it into your 3-digit credit score number.

The VantageScore

The three major credit bureaus offer their own proprietary models but usually provide the FICO score to lenders. The VantageScore was created as a consistent credit score model across the three bureaus to compete with the FICO score so that they could offer lenders a more standardized score and cut out the Fair Issacs Company.

The VantageScore is being touted as "The New Standard in Credit Scoring", and it can potentially become big if the bureaus can compete successfully with the stranglehold FICO has on lender. It just depends on whether lenders will be willing to change to a different model.

The VantageScore offers additional features that the FICO model doesn't incorporate, such as predictive scoring and a 24-month review of credit history. Here are some of the main differences between the two competitors:

VantageScore FICO
  • Score range is from 501 to 990
  • VantageScore uses letter grades to spell out your credit health: 901-990 = A or Super Prime, 801-900 = B or Prime Plus, 701-800 = C or Prime, 601-700 = D or Non-Prime, and 501-600 = F or High Risk.
  • Takes into account 6 components of your credit report: payment history, utilization, balances, depth of credit, recent credit, and available credit.
  • VantageScore claims to score thin file consumers more accurately by providing predicative scores for consumers with limited histories

Additional features:

  • VantageScore is based primarily on the last 24 months of actions on a consumer's credit file
  • Keep in mind, your VantageScore will still vary between the three credit bureaus. While they use the same scoring model, the information on your credit report may differ from bureau to bureau
  • FICO range is from 300 to 850
  • No letter grades for FICO
  • Takes into account 5 components of credit report: payment history, amount of debt, credit history, types of accounts, and inquiries.
  • Thin file consumers often cannot generate a credit score at all, or are scored with inflated, high scores because they have few credit actions on file


Bottom Line

The VantageScore's particular credit scoring method is especially good news for consumers with thin files and consumers who may have prior negative actions against them but have a good recent history.

Again, please keep in mind that the VantageScore is one of dozens of models in use. What is most important is that you monitor and manage your credit health by checking your credit score every few weeks. Keeping track of your credit score over time, not just once or twice, will give you the most valuable insights into how to adjust your credit habits to build towards a healthy score.


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Helpful to 438 out of 460 people

I disagree about the statements made by commentors that it takes a long time to build credit. Ten years ago I was totally disabled from a complete neurological virus. My credit was excellent before I shut down with illness, and then totally wiped out as the illness continued.

I went to a local credit union, after being totally disabled and unable to work. My only income was some savings and a disability check each month. I was "totally upfront" about my illness, and simply stated I wanted to rebuild my life. I started with a $1000. loan repayable in 18 monthly payments. I paid the loan off in nine months. Then, I asked for a car loan. I used my van to get an $1800 loan repayable in three years. I paid off the loan in 13 months. I also had saved one half of my disability checks by purchasing nothing for four years. I was sick, bedridden, and didn't waste my money on fast food, cable tv, big screen tv, magazines, newspapers, and all the other crap people waste money on. I also managed my diet extemely well, and saved lots of money cause I don't use alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, and other junk. You would be AMAZED at how much you can save just by not buying things you dont really need. Anyway, I got a credit card for $5000 at 8.9 percent interest, fixed, at the time of my first loan by simply putting my savings in a credit union account.

People are broke. It's a fact of the times. The banks and credit unions, shop around, will work with you. Just try to establish a mutual relationship with them. 

FINALLY, DONT GET "HOSED" ON INTEREST RATES FOR LOANS JUST BECAUSE YOU WENT BROKE. If one credit union won't deal with you, then someone else will. SOMEONE WANTS YOUR MONEY. They will deal with you. Just make your payments, pay off loans well ahead of time, and keep saving money each month. HOWEVER, DONT TAKE A TEN PERCENT LOAN UNLESS ITS YOUR FIRST ONE, AND YOU PAY OFF THE LOAN AFTER NINE MONTHS.

YOU CAN DO IT. JUST DONT START BUYING JUNK ALL THE TIME. YOU DONT NEED IT. FINALLY, THE FASTEST WAY TO GET MONEY IS TO SAVE IT. SAVE SOME EACH MONTH--LIKE $50, OR MORE. JUST KEEP PUTTING SOME IN YOUR SAVINGS AND PAYING YOUR LOAN PAYMENT.

WITHIN A YEAR, THE CREDIT UNION WILL BE GIVING YOU ANY LOAN YOU WANT, WITHIN REASON.

GOOD LUCK.

Comment by
omaha44

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My credit has not been good .  I learned as an adult what it means to establish good credit.  I was 17 when I got my first charge card and was foolish in the way that I handled it.  Lesson learned.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the encouragement that I certainly needed to help me on the path to re-establishing my credit.

Reply by
burrism

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Thank you omaha44. I am going through a divorce and a foreclosure.  In a nutshell A NIGHTMARE!  I am trying to look for a place to live, and with a 518 credit score its not happening.  I did find a For Sale By Owner/ To Rent (same property).  Called the owners, was upfront with them. I have the first month's rent and security deposit.  I was hoping for a rent-to-own, however, they just want it either sold asap, or rented asap.  I am willing to rent and gain someone's trust back by making rental payments on time for the one year lease.  I would love to own it.  Any suggestions regarding this?  I definitely agree that paying off small loans on time is the way to go.  I too have scaled back, no cable, no eating out, I even have been cutting my own hair, etc... It has been hard, but I just want someone to give me a chance since I was dilusional about someone else paying the mortgage on time etc.  I need to take responsibility for what gets paid on time now, and I'm doing it, its just a slow process.  Thanks for any feedback you can give me.  Good Luck omaha44! 

Reply by
kathyattheshore09

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Thank ypu for a very reasonable and understandable explanation.  I have struggled for years to rebuild credit.  I am also disabled and am trying to rebuild my life.  I admire your determination and positive attitude.  Thank you for sharing your story.  My problem is a spouse that thinks that if he has money in his account he can shop or go do something,  I am a homebody.  My outings are doctor appointments and grocery shopping.  I try to coupon as much as I can to save money there.  I just had to get dentures because my health issues caused tooth loss and I could not get credit to do so.  So my 72 year old mom co-signed my application for CareCredit Which is a part of a larger credit co (the name escapes me at the moment).  But by doing so I can establish credit in my own name and will work to build good credit. 

Reply by
Sparky120166

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Ridiculous ---- total rubbish

Reply by
PaulErdos

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Finally someone spoke the bitter truth. Well said Mr. Omaha44. You need to be consistent in not spending on things that you can live without when the times are tough. 

Say after 6 months you would have made it a habit of spending only on things you need. That money you saved, can be used for may be starting a business, or saving for an emergency fund or just feel good that you have a better bank balance. 

My salary is decent but it wasnt enough to make it through the month for me and my family. Car loan, rent, insurance and student loans..Surprisingly most unnecessary expenditure came from not the big items but the small ones which I never realized.

Like buying coffee on my way to work..~$2.3 x 22 = ~60

extra phn features ~40

Extra car - rid off..

no unnecessary groceries ~ $100(s)

Love cocacola ~ 10

Misc unforseen unnecessary expenses ~100(s)

In the end I want to change my job for a better pay..there are offers but for a final interview i need to do a face to face interview..but this saved money is helping me fly in for that change..

This little tip may change my family's future..Good luck to you all !!

Reply by
Techboat

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nice job buddy :omaha44's

Reply by
barfi

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Inspiring 

Reply by
yazzy1979

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Credit Unions are much more likely to work with you on this.  The one I work at is amazing!!

Reply by
Pattidons

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Great advice!  Thanks!

Reply by
fabulousmks

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Helpful to 109 out of 117 people

Hello Learn Vest advisers:

My VantageScore score is C "good" and Credit Karma gives 628 "poor. Which one the lenders see? I have done my best to improve my credit score and only Vantage Score seems to notice. This is so confusing. Please elaborate.

Carmen

New Learn Vest customer

Comment by
carali

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Don't be fool by Karma's credit rating.  The three credit bureau's have their own credit score (usually a lot higher than karma's credit score).  The lenders usually use the middle credit score from the three bureau's, not karma's.  Mine for example, I have a real bad credit history.  Karma's credit score is 618.  But go figure, my Transunion gives me 683, Equifax 651, and Experian 631.  So when I applied for the home loan, my lender was using Equifax's score and I got FHA's mortgage rating of 3.375%.

Reply by
con2net

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I think folks are forgetting Credit Karma is just a "guide" to watch your credit profile, it is not 100% accurate but a basic on improving your credit histories if you are having or had issues with it.  We can only check our credit reports for "free" once a year and this can show changes in it monthly.  So if you have poor credit and start paying down/off your outstanding debt, make all ontime oayments, etc it shows the changes as you do these things, but again its not 100% accurate and is suppose to only act as a "guide" to your changing history.  And they only use one of the credit bureaus reports to get their info on you, and we all know all three reports are slightly different.  They also are here to show you how you can improve your poor credit reports so its giving you a helping guide.  The only real way to know your true 100% accurate credit scores & history is to obtain a copy of all threee credit bureaus reports.  Credit Karma is a guide and a helpful tool to watch the changes in your scores/history when trying to get it back to good standing or keep it in good standing.      

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Reply by
bstn96

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The lenders likely won't see either.  Lenders use FICO scores.

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Reply by
BungalowMo

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it looks that way but also i went to home ownership classes too which was required in the process of getting the loan, plus, no credit card debt, paid bills on time, got an excellent paying job too.so the 650 isnt all that they looked at.

Reply by
mamabear50

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notice on your credit karma reportcard how long it takes to improve ones credit. i would humbly suggest that you study your reportcard and go into details to learn how credit works. this website is terrific at spelling out the details of credit. my hats off to them. carali, credit improvement takes years to improve. study your report card and you will understand this. my advise is to follow your reportcard's suggestions and be patient. your score may be low today, but if you follow instructions for years to come, in five years you will add 150 points to your score.

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Reply by
Treefan

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It's true. I'm a realtor and you can get fha loans with with a credit score in the 500's.

http://www.fha.com/fha_article.cfm?id=200

So, people on this board, if your credit sucks, that doesn't mean you can't get a mortgage.
 

Reply by
iamkaramia

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My credit score is 758 but I got a C in totla account because I don't owe enough people I guess.  I paid off most of my accounts, I'll keep the C because I not taking on more debit to get a B. My goal is to pay off the others and keep only 1.  I don't want to barged down with debit, but you get punish for not getting in over your head.

Reply by
bonniebw50

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Believe it or not!  I got a 3.25% loan with a FICO of 649...  So, believe what you want, (of the HYPE) the finance industry is a BIG GAME, a FARCE, there are no standards and if you shop around you can make connections with good deals, just don't jump on the first thing that's offerred to you, then they'll know for sure you're a SUCKER!!!!

Reply by
Karmalite

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So you got a better mortgage rate than I did with a credit rating of 820? I find that very hard to believe.  

Reply by
kranders1770

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Good to know! I thought this would be a good place to keep up with all my credit history & scores but I've found they're really pretty much full of poo poo! They show things that have been removed from the 3 bureaus reports AND they have no idea how to answer half of the questions I've sent them. I'm sticking with keeping close watch on my own credit through the bureaus again because this place is just rediculous!

Reply by
yesiamsunshine

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you got a FHA morthage with a score of  with an average of  650??/

Reply by
rjohson

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THis seems to be completely FALSE. I bad things on my credit from 6 and 7 years ago and since have had impecable credit. Never been late, allways pay my bills and have an ok credit to debt ratio. The FICO give me almost a "B" area or 689 but the Vantage gives lower at a "D" and 648. Now if it tested the last 24 months then and FICO did the farther past than those scores should be reversed.

Reply by
velosity

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650 score can still qualify you for FHA.

Reply by
lioness45385

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FIVE YEARS u kidin me?? lol

Reply by
ltwins

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Most likely creditors will see the vantage. You never really can tell which of the 3 bureaus they are going to pull your credit. I think it truly is up to each individual lender.

Reply by
erikad99

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The credit score lenders see is completely different from the scores you are able to see. I have family members in the home mortgage business and have learned a lot from them. Credit Karma might have your credit score as say a 628 and a mortgage bank may pull your credit and it could be a 600 or a 700. I wouldn't pay much attention to your Vantage Score because there isn't any lenders that I personally know of that are using it for anything at this time. I do have one piece of advice, keep your credit card balances under 15% of your limit and pay them off every month and I would not pay on any very old passed due balances, they'lll just fall off after 7 years, now if you're tying to get a mortgage the company might require you to have no collections accounts but hang in there and it'll get better with due diligence. I went through an ugly break up several years ago and had to get a high interest car loan, after I got the loan wich was 18.9% my credit score went down to an all time low of 430. In just over two years time I have a 730 and I have 3 credit cards with over $10,000 in available credit but I never charge more than I know I can pay at the end of the month.

Reply by
jtrador

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I find all credit reporting to be VERY arbritrary.  Why should a person's credit score drop just because you didn't use a card and a company dropped you?  Why are a few late payements so important when the companies get the same amount of interest (or more) on their account if you are late?  A lot of it makes no sense at all...

Reply by
btaylorsacto

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Necesitas por lo meno 650.

Reply by
JenniferBColon

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I had a fico score of 680 and my rate is 3.75% w/Guild Mortgage.  If you get a city/county program . . . the rates are better.

Reply by
bonnienclyde13

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Did you apply for anything (credit card, mortage, loan) that would have needed to check your report? Even just comparing auto insurance rates requires companies to check your rate, and each check can lower your score. Although credit cards and more significant checks will make a bigger difference than auto insurance, and you personally checking report, does not affect the score.

Reply by
mcleank3

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ok then please explain to me, why did my creidt score go from a 722(for 2 months straight) with nothing changed,same student loan, same paying bills 100% on time, down 50 something points? and so did the vantage score, both went down, my report card grade was a B now its a C! i am very disappointed, because absolutely nothing is different.

Reply by
mamabear50

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Helpful to 83 out of 91 people

I used to have a 820 FICO score for a decade! until I didn't use an AMEX card for two years..they dropped me for NOT USING MY CARD!...so I went from a 820 score to a 720 score...go figure..Clark Howard talks about this problem.  I don't use credit cards except for big items...and pay them off before finance charges incur.  I have NEVER been late on any payments over 30 yrs..mortgage, car loans, credit cards..FICO and the BIG 3 are a farce. I refuse to keep a balance on a credit card just to see I paid a finance fee.  So, if this is how the system works, fine.  I'm frankly tired of these finance games.  I'll keep my 'good' vs 'excellent' score now..one of these days the BIG FARCE THREE + FICO will get this...

Comment by
jftriol

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"Credit Score" is a "Debt score".   I've decided to stop playing this silly game.  I use cash and I'm building my cash savings.  My next home I'll pay cash and then let my "credit" (remember, read:  "debt") score go to 0.

Oh, and incidentally, right now I have only "good" credit.  But, I have only a home loan -- few credit cards (0 balances), no student loans (paid those off), no car loans (buy used and pay cash).   When I had 2 car loans, 2 students loans and several credit cards (still didn't carry balances, though), my credit score was "Excellent".  Again, it's a "debt score."  The more debt you have the better the score (as long as you are making your payments!!!). 

NO thanks!  I buy what I can afford and avoid the debt.

Reply by
tomgun6

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jftriol....call AMEX & ask for a recon.  Let them know you weren't aware they'd drop you for non use.  They'll likely give it back to you with the history (acct age) intact.  Use it for groceries & PIF before the due date.

You'll see that FICO go back up!  ;0)

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Reply by
BungalowMo

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jftriol -- I agree that it's silly, BUT you don't have to pay finance fees to maintain a good credit score.  If you use your credit card for a little $10 purchase each month, and then pay it off in full at the end of the month, that is considered an active card.  It doesn't matter how much or how little you put on the card, just that you used it that month.  You don't have to retain a balance, you just have to have something to pay off.  Think about using your card for a few insignificant purchases, just to keep it active, and, as long as you pay it off on time (and in full), you will have no charges for that.

So, it doesn't really make sense that you're downgraded for those things...but, it also doesn't cost you any money to play the game.  So, why not?  If it saves you a percentage point of interest on a mortgage or something down the road, that can make a big difference.

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Reply by
swagmonkey

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I too had the same thing happen to me. My score dropped from paying off credit cards/loans and not using them. Now, all I do is use my credit card once a month, usually for gas, and when the bill comes in I pay it off. This allows the credit agency to see activity and me not having to pay finance fees because I pay it off every month.

Reply by
msygee

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I agree with you jftriol

Reply by
Debbio

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agreed, its a "racket"

Reply by
lharbus

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ahhh i never thought to see it that way, but understand what you mean, and i agree.my credit karma score has been 722 for 2 yrs now, and now that i updated it, its 707, i havent changed a single thing, no credit cards, pay bills on time, pay on my student loan, so have no idea why that part went down.like you said, its credit Debt score.

Reply by
mamabear50

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I find it disturbing that responsible people like me are encouraged to alter their behavior in order to improve their credit scores. 

I have 0 debt; pay my credit card balance monthly without fail; pay every bill on time; car is paid-off; student loans are paid off.  Also, my credit card has a $20K limit, so I certainly do not need another.  I have budget and I stick to it.  Finally, I have built up a very big savings.

All of this leaves me rather annoyed to get a "B"  Vantagescore.  I will be ****ed if I will seek more credit accounts that I do not need just to pump-up this bogus credit score.

Comment by
MSL62

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Look at it from this perspective.  If you have no debt an no desire to get into any, why does it matter?

Reply by
danieltmwv

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It matters because I can foresee applying for a bank loan in the next couple of years. Thanks.

Reply by
MSL62

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If you are going to apply for that in a few years, get 2 more cards now and by then your score will be great.  Don't get any cards with annual fees, get the ones that have the biggest rewards and initial bonuses.  I don't carry balances from month to month, but I certainly take advantage of the best rewards on each card.  That is a benefit!  Get cards that have 3%, 4%, 5% or more on certain categories and use them on those categories.  It is only smart to take advantage of it.  I got a card in January that has already given me $300 in rewards!

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Reply by
bernhardtra

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384 People Helped

If you have a B score you qualify for most no annual fee credit cards, and most of those start with a 12 to 18 month 0% introductory APR period (no interest). One of the main reasons you are only a B is because you don't have enough open accounts based on what you said. I would recommend applying for several of these cards in order to build up the ammount of accounts you have. Go for the cash back cards like Chase Freedom and Capital One Quicksilver and you'll even get a free 100 bucks if you spend a certain amount in the first few months. I do this and just use the card for gas and/or groceries for the first several months and then pay the bill with the money that I would have used for the same thing out of my paycheck (again, these are 0% introductory period cards, so I'm not paying any extra interest doing this). I make sure I spend enough to grab the introductory cash offer and then dial it back. At that stage I usually keep the balance under a couple hundred bucks a month and then pay off in full or close to it with each monthly payment. Doing this ensures that I stay at 20% or below of my credit utilization ratio, which puts me in the excellent range. Finally, once the 0% APR period runs out and you do have to start paying interest, only buy one or two small things a month on that card and pay your bill in full each month. A lot of card companies will mark the card as incactive and stop reporting to the bureaus if you don't use them for a certain period of time, so it behooves you to at least make one or two small purchases each month once the 0% APR period runs out. If you do this you will bump that score up to an A well before you need to apply for that bank loan. The credit game is annoying, but it's not going away and it can work in your favor if you're smart about it.

Reply by
olderandwiser78

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I feel your pain.  My  Vantage score dropped when we paid off the mortgage.

Reply by
ElVolto

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Helpful to 18 out of 19 people

To find the new scores, Click on the Score Center tab, then click on Update Score on the right of the page, then the new tabs for the Vantage Score & Insurance score will show up above the credit score chart.

Comment by
f355chris

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Helpful to 11 out of 11 people

 I don't understand how this all works, the vantage score is based mostly on the last 24 months, I have had a 100% on time payments in the last 2 years, yes, I had problems in the past and i know that still affects my score but my score has been increasing steadily and i stay on time. Can someone tell me why my score dropped 21 points on my vantage score when my credit reports had no changes except for improvement, I payed down my credit card balances, not off, just down and my debt to income ratio also improved slightly, I have no idea why my score would have dropped when nothing new was added, like i said, some slight improvement. Thanks for any help understanding this stuff. 

Comment by
hfrench58

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I cannot stress this point enough.  It's fine to come here to get the "content" of your Trans Union reports, but their scores here mean nothing to lenders.  The next time you app for a loan or credit card, ask them where the scores come from.  I will guarantee you, they will not say "Credit Karma" or "Vantage".

I'm quite sure my posts here are not popular with the site owners, but at least they don't remove them.  That at least tells me that they are ok with you all knowing the truth/facts.

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Reply by
BungalowMo

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The whole process is a classic ripoff.  I watched my score drop 30 points and the only event was that I paid off my house 18 years early - 64K cash.  Yeah that should show I don't know how to manage money!

Reply by
zunkmahoy

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Dude, do you think they might sometimes say "Transunion"? Because that's who calculates the Transrisk score you get on Credit Karma - not CK themselves. Read the freaking FAQ, specifically the part about credit scores: http://www.creditkarma.com/about/faq#charge

Reply by
reese06

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I have two family members in the banking industry, home mortgages in particular, they work at two competing banks and neither one of the banks use the Vantage Score for anything. The Vantage score is something that is trying to get a foothold in the credit industry but is NOT currently used for anything when dealing with the two LARGEST banking institutions in the United States

Reply by
jtrador

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thank you again ck for helping us understand the credit world. although my doctoral studies were aimed at rehab., i had to take advanced statistics in my core curriculum. my point being that i especially appreciate your graphs, histograms, etc., and the hard work your statisticians are putting into ck behind the scenes. i'm just so impressed with your site and deeply grateful. wheather a person has no degree or an advanced one the credit world was a shut door to understanding. what a person thought would help credit hurt it and vice versa. ck has lifted the vail for us to see what we need to do to improve our credit and i for one am very grateful.

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Comment by
Treefan

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One interesting thing about the Vantage score is that more banks are using it for their credit card decisions.  This means that it is becoming easier for those of us who monitor our scores and use the advice can max our scores faster and get what we have built up to.  I am certain that one of the reasons that I have 2 of my better cards is because they used the Vantage not the FICO. 

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Comment by
bernhardtra

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384 People Helped
Helpful to 7 out of 7 people

The whole Credit Score Oppression is created by banks and Credit Card companies.  My Vantage Score just dropped 25 pts for no reason I can see.  Unless reducing my debt down to 20% from a high of 53% is a negative??? And guess what it is a negative.  My husband had a score of 786 until he paid off his debt.  Now his score has dropped 20 points and he has a B now instead of an A.  All because he has no credit card debt.   It's stupid

I had a score of 805 and had credit card companies reducing my credit limits like crazy before the new laws went into effect 2 years ago, thereby making my utilization of credit sky high based on my new lower lines of credit.  It's a game and  I no longer want to play as the rules keep changing.  

I pay cash for everything and only use a AMEX card that I pay in full every month.  SCREW the BIG 3, I don't care about my score and the rest of you should do the same.  It's a hostage situation with this crap. 

By the way I have never paid late or maxed out a card.

Comment by
busteroo

1 Contribution
7 People Helped
Helpful to 5 out of 5 people

When is Credit Karma going to report the new Vantage Score 3.0 that has been in affect for all of 2013?

Comment by
MorrCarr

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5 People Helped
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