VantageScore Solutions Releases Groundbreaking Research on Credit “Scoreability” of Consumers

Date: November 29, 2021

Two-Part Whitepaper Series Studies the Size, Characteristics and Socioeconomic Contributors Relating to the Millions of Consumers Excluded from Conventional Scoring Models and Identifies Where Opportunities for Financial Inclusion Exist in the United States

Stamford, CT – November 30, 2021 VantageScore Solutions, LLC today announced the release of research it recently conducted that examined the tens of millions of consumers who fail to meet the minimum scoring criteria required to receive a credit score from conventional credit scoring models, but who are newly scoreable with more modern and inclusive methodologies.

The research examines the size and characteristics of these consumer populations and also breaks new ground to examine socioeconomic factors like income, race and other profile characteristics that contribute to a consumer’s likelihood of being “conventionally unscoreable,” which is defined as those who lack the following information in their credit file: (1) at least one tradeline/account open and reported to the credit bureaus for six months or more; and (2) at least one tradeline/account that has been reported to a credit bureau within the past six months.

The first of the two-part series analyzes the conventionally unscoreable population and demonstrates how a more inclusive credit scoring model such as VantageScore 4.0 is able to assign a predictive credit score to a substantial majority of these consumers. The research demonstrates where the scores of these consumers are distributed in the model’s 300-850 range and also provides demographic information about these consumers, including race and ethnicity. State-by-state level data is also provided regarding the percentage of the adult population who cannot receive a credit score from conventional models but are newly scoreable using VantageScore.

Part two of the series examines the relationship between several socioeconomic factors and conventional unscoreability and how this may impact consumers’ access to credit. Income, education, home ownership, basic access to banking services, as well as race and ethnicity were examined to assess how these factors individually and collectively explain the significant differences observed in conventional scoreability.

Key findings include:

  • Income has the strongest effect on scoreability. Consumers in communities with low household income levels (less than $50,000) have less than 50% of the odds of obtaining a credit score with conventional models when compared to consumers in communities with higher household income levels (i.e., greater than $90,000).
  • African American populations are particularly disadvantaged by the relationship between income and conventional scoreability because they tend to have lower income levels.
  • After accounting for other factors, communities with higher African American and Hispanic populations experience lower levels of scoreability through the use of conventional models.
  • Similarly, consumers living in areas with high renter rates or areas with more limited access to banking services have lower odds of obtaining a score with a conventional model, even after controlling for other factors.

“Broadly speaking, the studied socioeconomic factors have a compounding effect on various consumers’ ability to receive a credit score from conventional models, limiting access to credit and economic opportunity,” said Silvio Tavares, President & CEO of VantageScore. “Our research demonstrates how more inclusive models like VantageScore help to rectify inequalities that have persisted due to outdated legacy systems and processes, and assist in closing the scoreability gap for millions of consumers.”

The conventionally scoreable population was found to consist of approximately 208 million consumers. VantageScore’s most recent model, VantageScore 4.0, provides a predictive and accurate credit score to an additional 37 million consumers, who are conventionally unscoreable, increasing the total estimated population of scoreable consumers to 244 million, while still preserving safety and soundness. This leaves only 4% of the adult population unable to obtain a VantageScore credit score.

The “Newly Scoreable” population includes consumers with young credit files, consumers who do not have credit accounts but have other data on their credit files as well as consumers who have been recently inactive with credit.

African American and Hispanic populations, in particular, are negatively impacted by conventional scoreability criteria and they make up 10.7 million of the 37 million newly scoreable population; of those consumers, approximately 3.2 million have VantageScore credit scores of 620 and above.

Opportunity for Greater Financial Inclusion

In addition, the research examines how these trends impact communities across the United States. The research, in part, leverages the American Community Survey (ACS), which is a survey published annually by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2019 survey was used in this analysis. The ACS data is organized based on Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs), which represent statistical geographic areas that divide each state (or equivalent entity) into non-overlapping, contiguous geographic areas containing no fewer than 100,000 people each, covering the entire country and its territories. There are 2,378 PUMAs identified in the ACS.

PUMAs with low household income levels and higher concentrations of African American and Hispanic consumers were found to have the highest percentage of newly scoreable consumers. Among the PUMAs with the highest concentration of these newly scoreable consumers, as many as one in three consumers aged 18 or above were able to obtain a credit score using the VantageScore 4.0 model while they were unable to obtain a credit score with the use of a conventional model.

The 5 Areas with the HIGHEST Rate of Newly Scoreable Consumers

Newly Scoreable

Detroit City (Northeast), MI

31.4%

Fort Worth City (East Central)--South of I-30, East of I-35W & Inside Loop I-820, TX

28.8%

St. Francis, Poinsett, Phillips, Cross, Lee & Monroe Counties, AR

28.4%

KIPDA Area Development District (West)--Louisville/Jefferson County (Northwest), KY

27.9%

Detroit City (Southwest), MI

27.7%

(Note to editors: see accompanying map image for additional information on the Top 15 Areas with Newly Scoreable Consumers)

“Not having a credit score significantly impacts the availability and affordability of credit products to meet consumer needs. With no access to mainstream credit products, these consumers are left with the choice of either obtaining no credit or accepting unfavorable product terms, such as high fees and high interest rates. This, in return, puts additional burden on these consumers’ financial situation; increasing the risk of them falling back on payment obligations and defaulting, which pushes them further away from accessing mainstream credit. Models that are both predictive and inclusive can help expand their ability to access the right types of credit and set underserved consumers on a path towards financial success,” concluded Tavares.

About VantageScore Solutions

VantageScore Solutions develops consumer credit scoring models that combine the need for both financial inclusivity and dependable predictiveness across all scoring ranges. The company’s most recent models score 96 percent of all adults 18 and older – including 37 million more people than conventional models – without sacrificing safety and soundness. As a result, lenders using VantageScore can extend credit to those who have been historically marginalized, including minority and lower-to-middle income Americans. VantageScore credit scores are used by thousands of lenders, landlords, utility companies, telecom companies, and many others to determine creditworthiness. Additionally, tens of millions of consumers rely on free access to their VantageScore credit scores to monitor their own creditworthiness.

VantageScore Solutions was launched in 2006 and is owned by America’s three national credit reporting companies (CRCs) – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Using a patent-protected tri-bureau methodology, VantageScore delivers time-tested, innovative and more consistent credit scoring models across all three CRCs.

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