Summary: The "free credit score" offered by so many websites today is NOT your FICO score, which is the score 90% of lenders use. It's a VantageScore. Find out the difference.
Have you ever wondered if there was a difference between the VantageScore 3.0 vs FICO credit score 8?
I have been tracking my credit scores through multiple sources for My Credit Journey to a 700 credit score.
You can follow my credit journey by bookmarking The Start of My Credit Journey page.
Be sure to check back regularly because I will be adding new posts to that page as they are finished.
I have been tracking my credit score with all three
of the major credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
According to Credit.com 'The Fair Isaac Corporation introduced its FICO scoring system in 1989.'
Free vs Paid: The big difference between FICO and Vantage Score
It typically costs money to get your FICO scores. Some credit card companies or banks will give you a free score but it's from ONE credit bureau only. For all three scores, sign up at Fico.com
You can typically get your Vantage Scores for free using services like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. We recommend Credit Sesame.
The current VantageScore 3.0 was introduced in 2013 when they adjusted their scoring system to match FICO's range of 300 - 850 for credit scores.
There are many documented differences between the two scores.
Below are three Vantage Score 3.0 vs FICO credit score 8 comparison charts for TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax with my credit scores.
I will update these charts on a monthly basis and make note of any movements and speculate the cause or reason for the difference.
EQUIFAX - FICO VS Vantage Comparison Charts
I have been tracking my Equifax Vantage with Credit Karma's free credit monitoring services.
In addition, I have purchased MyFICO's credit monitoring services which provides me with credit scores for all three of the major credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
In the FICO vs Vantage comparison chart above you can see that Vantage in the blue line reacts much more extremely with credit changes than the orange FICO credit score.
Generally, the lines go up and down around the same time reacting to the same information, it is just that the 3.0 version reacts more.
Interestingly, the early large dip in March was due to me disputing my Equifax credit reports.
You can read more about how my Equifax Dispute lowered my credit score almost 70 points around March 12, 2019!
EXPERIAN - Vantage Score VS FICO Comparison Charts
The more you look at these charts and compare Experian Vantage Score vs FICO, the more you realize how different these two credit scores can be.
Keep in mind that the majority of lenders are using your FICO score to determine loan eligibility.
By looking at the huge swings and differences between the two scores, it is no wonder why.
Understand that my Vantage Score is provided by my Credit One Secured Visa card for free.
They provide me with a snapshot credit score one time a month for Experian.
This is a great example of why you should purchase a credit monitoring service instead of relying on a once a month free snap shot of your credit score.
I don't understand how in February my VantageScore was around 500 but my FICO credit score was over 575 and nearly 600.
However, a month later, my credit score with Vantage went up over 150 points in 30 days to a 650.
I understand that March was a huge month for me with all the tools I implemented to build my credit score but I think that this is a great example of the difference of the two scores.
VantageScore reacts extremely positively to every credit building move you make, whereas, FICO's reaction is more tempered, like the older and more mature brother who doesn't quite react as immaturely as his younger sibling, Vantage Score 3.0.
TRANSUNION - VantageScore 3.0 VS FICO Credit Score 8 Comparison Charts
I feel like the TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 vs Fico credit score 8 comparison chart is the most accurate reflection of my credit history he past couple of months...
With one MAJOR exception!
Take a look at the blue Vantage line and how it pretty much tracks right along with FICO orange credit score line.
Until, it doesn't...
In early April, we had a major disagreement between Vantage and FICO to the tune of over 50 points.
Well, do you remember when I disputed all of my credit reports in March?
For some reason, TransUnion 3.0 score pretty much dropped every delinquent account on my credit history, in fact, my on time payment history with TransUnion Vantage is 99%, whereas it is around 70% with Experian and Equifax.
I know, you are wondering why that would increasing my payment history hurt my credit?
Well, to get my on time payment history to 99%, TransUnion pretty much deleted my entire credit history and now it looks like I have only had credit for the last couple of years.
This is a weird situation that presently has my Vantage score nearly 75 points lower than my FICO TransUnion score.
We'll keep monitoring it and let you know.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.