If you’re trying to figure out which credit score is used most, you’re not alone. Many people are confused about which one lenders actually look at. Keep reading to learn more about credit scores and which one is most important.
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There are a lot of different credit scores out there, and it can be confusing to try to figure out which one is the most important. The answer, unfortunately, is that it depends. Different lenders use different scoring models, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
That said, there are a few credit scores that are used more often than others. The most common scoring models are FICO® Scores and VantageScores. If you have a good FICO® Score or VantageScore, you’re likely to be approved for loans and credit cards with favorable terms.
So which score should you focus on? The best thing to do is to check your scores from all the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax®, TransUnion® and Experian®) to see where you stand. That way, you can get an idea of which scores are most important to lenders in your area.
The Three Types of Credit Scores
There are three types of credit scores: FICO, VantageScore, and FAKO. FICO is the most widely used credit score , and it’s what most lenders look at when they’re considering a loan or credit card for you. VantageScore is a newer credit score that’s becoming more popular. FAKO is a credit score that’s not used as much by lenders, but it’s still important to know about.
The FICO® Score is the most widely used credit scoring model by lenders, and most credit card issuers use some version of it to help them decide whether to approve you for a credit card.
Your FICO® Score is calculated based on information in your credit reports, and it is updated whenever that information changes. The most important factors in your score are your payment history and how much credit you’re using compared with your total credit limits (your “credit utilization”).
Other important factors in your FICO® Score include:
-The length of your credit history
-The types of credit you have (for example, installment loans vs. revolving loans)
-How many new accounts you’ve opened recently
There are a few things that don’t affect your FICO® Score, including:
-Your race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation
-Whether you have checked your own score
VantageScore is a scoring system developed jointly by the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. VantageScore was introduced in 2006 as an attempt to create a more uniform scoring system that could be used by all three credit bureaus.
VantageScore uses a similar scoring range to FICO (300-850), but the criteria for each score are different. For example, VantageScore places less importance on certain types of information, like collection accounts, than FICO does.
The most recent version of the VantageScore – 3.0 – was introduced in 2013. This version includes some significant changes, like the addition of trended data (which looks at things like whether your balances are rising or falling over time) and a new scoring model that’s designed to be more predictive of future creditworthiness.
Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus in the United States, along with TransUnion and Equifax. Experian provides a credit score known as the Experian National Equivalency Score, which is used by lenders to assess your creditworthiness.
The score ranges from 300 to 850, with a higher score indicating better credit. For example, a score of 720 or above is considered “excellent” credit, while a score of 660 to 719 is considered “good” credit.
A number of factors are used to calculate your Experian National Equivalency Score, including your payment history, amount of debt, length of credit history, and type of credit accounts.
Which Credit Score is Used Most?
Lenders use a variety of credit scores to make decisions about loan approval and pricing. FICO® Scores are the most widely used credit scores, but other credit scoring models exist. So, which credit score is used most?
For a conventional mortgage, lenders use what’s called the FICO score, developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Depending on the bureau they pull from, your credit score for a conventional loan can range anywhere from 620 to 750+.
FHA loans are available to borrowers with scores as low as 580, and VA loans offer benefits to veterans and active-duty service members with scores as low as 620.
For most other types of borrowing, lenders will focus on your middle score. So, if you have a FICO score of 700 from one bureau, a 690 from another, and a 680 from the third, your middle score is 690. That’s the one that will usually matter most for those other types of borrowing — including personal loans, auto loans, and credit cards.
Credit Card Companies
In the U.S., there are three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) that compile and maintain credit reports: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Lenders report information to the CRAs, which uses that data to generate credit scores. The most common scoring model in use today is the FICO® Score 8, which was introduced in 2009.
FICO® Scores are used by 90% of top lenders, so it’s a good idea to know your score. You can get your FICO® Scores for free from Experian.
Other scoring models have been developed by the CRAs–for example, Equifax’s BEACON® scores and TransUnion’s New Industry-Standard Premier Profile scores. However, these scoring models are not as widely used as the FICO® Score and may not be accepted by all lenders.
FICO® Auto Score 8
The FICO® Auto Score 8 is the scoring model used in 90% of auto lending decisions. It’s a tailored version of the generic FICO® Score that uses information from your credit report that’s specific to auto lending. This includes your repayment history on previous auto loans, the number of open accounts you have, the length of your credit history and other factors. You can get your FICO® Auto Score 8 through some auto lenders, or directly from myFICO.com.
It’s important to know which credit score is being used when you apply for a loan or credit card, so you can be sure it’s the right one.
For most loans, the FICO® Score 8 is the one that’s used. This is the newest version of the FICO® score, and it’s what you’re most likely to get when you check your score online.
For some types of loans, though, other scores are used. For example, auto loans often use the FICO® Auto Score 8, and loans for people with bad credit often use the VantageScore 3.0.
When you check your credit score, make sure you know which scoring model is being used so you can be sure it’s an accurate representation of your creditworthiness.