How Does VantageScore Work?

A credit scoring model is the mathematical formula used to calculate credit scores based on the information contained in consumer credit files. VantageScore is the only tri-bureau scoring model with a proven track record of better consistency, accuracy and performance.

How Are VantageScore Models Developed?

VantageScore analyzes data supplied by the three national credit reporting companies (CRCs) – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – but we don’t stop there. Our scientists incorporate groundbreaking modeling techniques and strategies in our models that benefit both lenders and consumers.

  • Trended Credit Data: VantageScore 4.0 is the first and only credit scoring model to incorporate this newly available information. Trended credit data reflects changes in credit behaviors over time, versus relying on static, individual credit-history records. We leverage trended credit data to gain deeper insight into borrowing and payment patterns, particularly among consumers in the Prime and Superprime credit-score bands.
  • Machine Learning: VantageScore uses these advanced algorithms in the development of credit scorecards for consumers with dormant credit histories – those with no update to their credit file in the previous six months. This approach strengthens VantageScore’s ability to accurately score approximately 40 million more people, consumers who would not be able to obtain scores from other commercially available scoring models.
  • National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP) Optimization: VantageScore 4.0 is the only tri-bureau credit scoring model developed in anticipation of the CRCs’ intent to implement certain data suppression measures through the NCAP. Our model accounts for this removal of public record information, including tax liens, civil judgments and certain medical collections information from consumer credit files.

By using a broader and deeper set of credit file data and more advanced modeling techniques, the VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 models allow lenders to accurately assess approximately 40 million more consumers than other credit scoring models. Our approach to scoring creates opportunities for lenders and credit-worthy borrowers alike.

What Data Does VantageScore Use?

The VantageScore 4.0 model was developed in 2017 using a refreshed data set from all three CRCs. This data set consisted of 45 million anonymized credit files from the 2014-2016 time period to allow VantageScore 4.0 to take into account more contemporaneous credit products and trends in consumer behavior. The model considers things like how many credit accounts consumers have, how much are consumers borrowing and how promptly are they making their required payments. These and other key factors are reflected in a person’s credit report and, ultimately, their VantageScore credit score.

The VantageScore model generates “reason codes,” which are short descriptions of various aspects of a credit profile meant to inform consumers which key factors have influenced their VantageScore credit score and to guide them in how they might be able to improve their score. These codes are often provided by lenders or displayed together with the consumer’s credit score – often times on websites that provide a free credit score. The reason codes, together with a detailed explanation of their use, are also provided at

The most common types of reason codes relate to the following areas: