Your credit score has a huge impact on your finances. Lenders, landlords and even employers could look up your score as part of an application process.
While the standard FICO score is the most common type of credit score, lenders are also starting to use a new method known as the VantageScore.
There are a few important points to keep in mind as you track this new type of score.
1. Order a copy of your VantageScore.
The VantageScore is run by the same three credit rating agencies that manage the FICO score. As a result, getting a copy of your VantageScore is just as easy as getting your regular credit score.
Contact Experian, TransUnion or EquiFax and request a copy of your VantageScore.
Make sure to specifically request this score because if you just order your regular credit history, you will most likely get the FICO score instead.
2. Understand how the VantageScore works.
Your VantageScore will be a number between 501 and 990. The higher your number, the better your score is.
To help you understand your score, the rating agencies will also give your score a letter grade like in school, with an A being the best possible grade.
The rating agencies build your VantageScore based on your past credit activities like whether you pay your bills on time, how close you are to maxing out your accounts and whether you have applied for new accounts recently.
“If you have a good VantageScore,
you probably also have a good FICO score.”
3. Note the differences with your FICO score.
The VantageScore and FICO score use most of the same data in their calculation, so they will likely be quite similar.
However, there are a couple differences to keep in mind. First, the two scores use slightly different formulas, so it is possible that one might end up looking better just because of the different calculation.
The VantageScore looks back further in your credit history. Your VantageScore looks at the past 24 months of data, while the FICO score only shows the past six months.
This can help your application because reviewers will see more data, which can be good if you have improved your credit habits over time.
Finally, the VantageScore also gives a prediction of your future score based on your past credit habits. If you have recently started managing credit better, having this predictive score available can help your applications for new credit.
4. Regularly review your score for changes.
Your credit scores will keep changing over time, so you should keep track of both your Vantage and FICO scores.
It is usually a good idea to order a copy of each every year or two to see how things are looking and if the rating agencies have any recommendations on how you can improve your score.
In addition, this will help you spot any fraudulent activity in your name.
By keeping track of both accounts, you can also know which one would be better to recommend to someone who wants to look up your credit history.
The VantageScore is still a relatively new product for the credit markets, but it is already shaping credit applications. Be sure to keep track of this score regularly so you’ll always know where you stand financially.
Photo source: creditsesame.com.