What Are the Different Types of Credit Scores?
Learn why you may have more than one credit score and what that means for you
You may already be familiar with the importance of credit. After all, your credit score can help lenders decide whether to approve your credit application, what interest rate to offer, how to determine your credit limit and more.
But did you know that there are different types of credit scores? Here are some things to know about how credit scores are calculated and why you might have different types.
Credit Score Basics
It might help to think of your credit scores as a quick summary of your credit reports.
Your credit reports contain information about your financial habits, including things like your payment history, account balances, types of credit accounts and more. Credit reports are compiled by three major credit bureaus: Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®.
Then credit-scoring companies use mathematical formulas, called scoring models, along with information from your credit report to calculate credit scores.
Now you know a little bit about the relationship between credit reports and credit scores. But why do you have more than one credit score?
Why Are There Different Types of Credit Scores?
First, it’s important to know that it’s normal to have several different credit scores. And as long as you’re getting your score from a legitimate source, no one credit score is necessarily more valid than another is.
In addition to having multiple credit reports, there are two major reasons why you have more than one credit score: multiple credit-scoring companies and multiple credit-scoring models.
What’s a Credit-Scoring Model?
Credit-scoring companies—like VantageScore® and FICO®—use their own credit-scoring models to calculate credit scores. And each credit-scoring company has several different versions of their credit-scoring models too.
Each model might also use information from just one or a combination of different credit reports. Then each credit-scoring model might assign different levels of importance to that information.
And that’s not all. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), your score can even change depending on the day it was calculated or the type of credit you’re applying for.
It’s understandable if this all feels a little complicated.
To put it simply: There are multiple credit bureaus, credit-scoring companies and scoring models. So your credit score can change depending on what information is used to calculate it, what company calculates it and when it’s calculated.
Types of Credit-Scoring Models
VantageScore and FICO are the most common credit score companies used by lenders.
So what’s the difference between VantageScore and FICO? And what other types of credit-scoring models are there?
VantageScore says its scoring models are the only versions to incorporate data from each of the three major credit bureaus. And they say that allows them to calculate scores with greater “consistency, predictability and accuracy.”
There are a few different VantageScore models, including VantageScore 3.0 and VantageScore 4.0. Each of these models uses a different formula to calculate credit scores.
VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 scores range from 300 to 850. And a VantageScore between 661 and 780 could be considered a good credit score.
VantageScore also explains how different factors are generally weighted in its scoring models:
- Extremely influential: Credit utilization
- Highly influential: Types of accounts, known as credit mix, and experience
- Moderately influential: Payment history
- Less influential: Credit age and new credit
According to FICO, their scores are used in more than 90% of lending decisions, making them the most widely used type of credit score in the industry.
FICO scores generally range from 300-850. And FICO says scores between 670 and 739 qualify as good scores.
FICO scores are calculated based on five categories that each make up a percentage of your score:
- 35% payment history
- 30% total debt
- 15% length of credit history
- 10% types of accounts, known as credit mix
- 10% new credit
The importance of each of these categories might vary, according to FICO. And because credit reports and scoring models change so frequently, it can be hard to pinpoint the impact of a single factor on your FICO score.
FICO also has industry-specific scoring models. That includes things like the FICO Auto Score, the FICO Bankcard Score and more. These scores might have different ranges and are meant to help lenders predict an applicant’s potential risk for specific types of credit.
Other Types of Credit Scores
VantageScore and FICO are two of the most commonly used credit scores. But they’re not the only ones.
Some lenders, for example, have their own custom credit-scoring models that they use to make credit decisions, according to the CFPB. And some credit bureaus, the companies that compile credit reports, even offer their own credit scores.
Monitor Your Credit
Having different credit scores is normal. And small changes in your score aren’t uncommon. But if your credit score drops dramatically, there could be a reason.
Learning how to monitor your credit regularly can help you track your progress and make sure the information in your credit history is accurate.
One way to monitor your credit is by using CreditWise from Capital One. With CreditWise, you can access your TransUnion credit report and weekly VantageScore 3.0 credit score—without hurting your score. CreditWise is free for everyone. You don’t even have to be a Capital One customer to enroll.
You can also get free copies of your credit reports from each of the major credit bureaus by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
Government and private relief efforts vary by location and may have changed since this article was published. Consult a financial adviser or the relevant government agencies and private lenders for the most current information.
We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.
Your CreditWise score is calculated using the TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 model, which is one of many scoring models used by lenders. It likely won’t be the same model your lender uses, but it is an accurate measure of your credit health. The availability of the CreditWise tool depends on our ability to obtain your credit history from TransUnion. Alerts are based on changes to your TransUnion and Experian® credit reports and information we find on the dark web. The tool is not guaranteed to detect all identity theft.