The 3 Most Common Types of Credit Scores [Complete Guide]

By: Yara Pollard

While most people are familiar with the word, “credit score”, there are still a lot of individuals that don’t know much about it and what it’s for. In fact, according to CNBC, just 54% of people who haven’t gotten a credit report know that there’s more than just one credit score.

There’s more than a handful of credit scores. In fact, there are hundreds of them. However, just a few are popular and are being used by most lending institutions. It’s important to know the different types of credit scores as some are just specific to a certain credit bureau. 

This means that your credit scores can be different from each other. This can affect interest rates, credit options and more. Even when there are a lot of credit scores, much of these credit scoring systems follow a similar principle. 

Note though that each scoring systems have different algorithms and factors. Knowing these factors can help you improve your credit score. Here are the different types of credit scores.

FICO

The FICO score is created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. It is the most used credit scoring system in America. Their website even states that their scoring system is used by 90 out of the top 100 largest US lending companies for their risk assessment needs. 

While FICO is just one type of scoring system, your FICO score can still vary depending on these factors:

  1. Score from each major credit bureaus
  2. Purpose of loan

Your FICO score can range from 300 to 850 with 300 being the lowest. Here’s what your FICO score means:

  • < 580 = Poor
  • 580 – 669 = Fair
  • 760 – 739 = Good
  • 740 – 799 = Very Good
  • 800+ = Exceptional

What this means is that you have a better chance of having financing at favorable rates when you have at least a good credit score. There are five factors that determine your credit score. They are:

  1. Payment History – 35%
  2. Credit Utilization – 30%
  3. Length of Credit History – 15%
  4. New Credit – 10%
  5. Credit Mix – 10%

Notice how payment history and credit utilization make up almost two-thirds of your credit score. By knowing and optimizing these five factors, you can better know how to improve your credit score.

If you don’t know what your credit score is, there are a lot of free tools on the internet that you can use to look at your credit score. One of which is Credit Sesame. Other features of Credit Sesame include credit monitoring, financial advice and identity theft insurance.

This is important as credit card fraud is rampant. Having insurance protects you from liability in case of fraudulent use of your credit cards. 

Experian

According to Experian’s website, their score “is the UK’s most trusted credit score – it’s made from the data used in most successful credit applications, so it gives you a good idea of how lenders are likely to view you.”

The Experian score ranges from 0 – 999. This is what your Experian score means: 

  • 0 – 560 = Very Poor
  • 561 – 720 = Poor
  • 721 – 880 = Fair
  • 881 – 960 = Good
  • 961 – 999 = Excellent

These are some of the factors that affect your Experian credit score:

  1. Oftenness of applying for credit.
  2. Amount owed.
  3. Making payments on time.

A common principle of most credit scoring system is that missed or late payments have a negative impact on your credit score. Regardless of the type of credit score you may want to use, always be disciplined with paying on time. 

You can take full advantage of the benefits of using credit cards if you have a high credit score. With a high credit score, you get lower interest-rate charges and better credit options. With a low score, it’s the opposite, you pay more and have fewer options.

This is true among all types of credit scores as the score shows the lenders your creditworthiness. Research more about credit scores and the do’s and don’ts of credit cards so you won’t risk endangering your creditworthiness.

VantageScore

The VantageScore is created by the 3 major credit bureaus; Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. This is used by lenders, landlords and financial institutions. 

The VantageScore had a recent update from VantageScore 2.0 to VantageScore 3.0. The previous version had a range of 501 to 990. The current version has the range of 300 to 850. Here are the factors that determine your VantageScore:

  1. Payment History – 40%
  2. Depth of Credit – 21%
  3. Utilization – 20%
  4. Balances – 11%
  5. Recent Credit Applications – 5%
  6. Available Credit – 3%

The VantageScore announced its 4.0 version. According to Jeff Richardson, spokesman of VantageScore Solutions, their 4.0 version is being tested by credit bureaus. 

VantageScore creates new ways on how they calculate your credit score to remain accurate and predictive along with economical changes and your credit behaviors. 

FICO, Experian and VantageScore are but three out of a myriad of other types of credit scores. However, they are some of the most used. Their websites offer a lot of tips and advice on how you can improve your credit score.

What other types of credit scores have you encountered so far? Were you able to differentiate one from each other? Do research and always be in the know for you to make the best out of your credit score and credit cards. 

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