What are the benefits of knowing your VantageScore 3.0 credit score?

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In this article


  • VantageScore 3.0 is available at all three of the nationwide credit reporting companies, making it a reliable and consistent option.
  • Six main categories go into calculating your VantageScore: payment history, credit utilization, age and type of credit history, the amount you owe, and recent credit behavior.
  • The VantageScore 3.0 strengthens predictive ability, so lenders can more accurately determine how reliable of a borrower a particular consumer may be.

Credit scores are calculated based on the contents of your credit reports, which may include your payment history, credit utilization, credit mix, and more. Credit scores are important because they are designed to indicate your credit risk, or how likely you are to pay your bills on time and can affect everything from renting an apartment to getting a car loan.

However, it's also important to know that you don't only have one credit score — there are different scoring models that lead to different numbers, and the three nationwide credit reporting agencies or CRAs (Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®) will also often show slightly different scores based on which information is reported to them by your lenders.

One score model is the VantageScore, which is the only “tri-bureau” credit scoring model available at all three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Created in 2013, this model ranges from 300 to 850, with a higher score indicating a lower risk for lenders.

VantageScore 3.0 is a popular credit scoring model available at all three of the major credit reporting agencies. Each CRA uses the same formula created by VantageScore, but bases the information it measures on your unique credit file with each organization. This means that, because your credit files often differ between reporting agencies, your VantageScore 3.0 may look slightly different from one credit reporting agency to another. Each nationwide bureau using this one credit score model is a unique aspect of VantageScore and leads to more consistency across bureaus than other models.

How VantageScore 3.0 Is Calculated

There are six categories that go into calculating your VantageScore — payment history, credit utilization, age and type of credit history, the amount you owe and recent credit behavior — and each carries a different level of influence when determining your score.

  • Payment history (extremely influential). Your payment history, or how consistently you are paying your bills on time, is the biggest factor in your credit score. Because payment history is such an important piece, late or missed payments can have a significant overall impact on your credit score.
  • Credit utilization (highly influential). Credit utilization, the percentage of your credit limits you're using, is ranked as highly influential in your VantageScore 3.0. Lenders often like to see a utilization rate at or below 30 percent, meaning you are only using about 30 percent of your available credit at any given time.
  • Credit age and mix (highly influential). The length of your credit history and your mix of credit accounts is another highly influential factor in this score. Lenders generally want to see long-term, established lines of credit that indicate a responsible borrower. Having a variety of account types with solid payment history, like credit cards, student loans, or a mortgage, is also attractive for lenders and will go into calculating your score.
  • The amount you owe (moderately influential). The amount you owe, or your account balances, refers to the amount of recently reported balances on your credit accounts. It's typically best to pay off all your balances on a monthly basis, if possible, to keep the amount you owe low and show lenders that you are able to make on-time payments.
  • Your recent credit behavior (less influential). Though your recent credit behavior is less influential than some of these above categories, it's still important. Recent behavior may include credit inquiries, an application for a new credit card or taking out a personal loan, all of which can shine a light on your credit behavior.
  • Your available credit (less influential). Your available credit refers to how much credit you have that you are not using. This is used as part of your credit score because lenders may want to see that you are only using the credit that you need.

You can sign up for a monthly free VantageScore 3.0 credit score as part of Equifax Core Credit™ - no credit card required. A VantageScore is one of many types of credit scores.

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