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Here's everything you need to know about your VantageScore credit score, plus how to check it

Select explains why your VantageScore matters, plus how to check yours for free.

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Your credit score plays a pivotal part in determining whether or not you get approved for that new travel credit card or a last-minute personal loan.

And while it's easy to check your credit score for free, you may not realize that many times the score you're checking through a personal finance website or your card issuer is provided by a company called VantageScore®.

Newer to the market, VantageScore was founded in 2006 by the three main credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, as an alternative to the FICO® Score. VantageScore's goal was to give more consumers, like college students and new immigrants, the ability to have a credit score.

So, who uses your VantageScore? A 2019 third-party market study found that VantageScores are widely used by credit card issuers, and secondly by both installment loan and fintech lenders. According to the study, nine of the 10 largest banks and 29 of the 100 largest credit unions used VantageScore credit scores in one or more lines of business. Between the period of July 2018 and June 2019, VantageScore models accounted for approximately 12.3 billion of the credit scores used — with credit card issuers using over 4 billion of those.

Here's what you need to know about your VantageScore and where you can check yours for free.

What factors matter most for your VantageScore?

VantageScore evaluates the same factors of your credit history that FICO does, but it weighs them differently.

These are the four key factors that VantageScore considers — here's how influential each is in your credit score calculation:

  1. Extremely influential: Total credit usage, balance and available credit
  2. Highly influential: Credit mix and experience
  3. Moderately influential: Payment history
  4. Less influential: Age of credit history and new accounts opened

What are the VantageScore ranges?

Similar to FICO, VantageScore scores you on a range from 300 to 850, but classifies each range differently.

These are the five ranges of VantageScores:

  1. Very poor: 300 to 499
  2. Poor: 500 to 600
  3. Fair: 601 to 660
  4. Good: 661 to 780
  5. Excellent: 781 to 850

Types of VantageScores

VantageScore has released four different versions since its start in 2006.

While popular websites like Credit Karma use the VantageScore 3.0 model, the newest VantageScore 4.0 model reportedly outperforms its previous version in evaluating consumers in all major credit industries, including auto, single-family residential mortgage, credit card, installment loans and other consumer credit products.

How to get your free VantageScore

Many credit card issuers, like Chase and Capital One, give their cardholders free and easy access to their VantageScore.

You can also access your free VantageScore from the below two resources, whether or not you are a cardholder.

  1. CreditWise® from Capital One: Free VantageScore from TransUnion
  2. Chase Credit Journey: Free VantageScore from TransUnion

Check out this list of other free VantageScore providers through personal finance websites like Credit Karma.

How credit monitoring can help your VantageScore

Credit monitoring makes it easy to stay on top of your credit score without you having to do much work.

Credit monitoring services will alert you in real time of any changes in your credit report and many of the best ones provide VantageScore updates. See three of our top-ranked credit monitoring options below.

While both IdentityForce® and Privacy Guard™ come with a cost, both offer triple-bureau protection so you get the most comprehensive look into your credit file, as well as identity insurance up to $1 million. If you don't want to pay for credit monitoring, CreditWise is a good option.

CreditWise® from Capital One

Information about CreditWise has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the company prior to publication.
  • Cost

    Free

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    TransUnion and Experian

  • Credit scoring model used

    VantageScore

  • Dark web scan

    Yes

  • Identity insurance

    No

Terms apply.

IdentityForce® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit

On Identity Force's secure site
  • Cost

    UltraSecure+Credit Individual starts at $139.90/yr and UltraSecure+Credit Family at $209/yr. Click "Learn More" for details.

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

  • Credit scoring model used

    VantageScore 3.0

  • Dark web scan

    Yes

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, $1 million for all plans

Terms apply. To learn more about IdentityForce®, visit their website or call 855-979-1118. 

PrivacyGuard

Information about the PrivacyGuard® plans have been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the company prior to publication.
  • Cost

    $9.99 to $24.99 per month

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

  • Credit scoring model used

    VantageScore

  • Dark web scan

    Yes, for Identity and Total Protection plans

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, up to $1 million for Identity and Total Protection plans

Terms apply.

To learn more about IdentityForce®, visit their website or call 855-979-1118.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.