Does FICO Scoring Have Competition?

Financial Incentive

Fair Isaac Corporation receives a fee from credit bureaus like Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion every time a FICO score is bought. This means whenever a lender buys a FICO score from a credit bureau, the bureau then has to pay a cut to Fair Isaac Corporation for being the creator of the FICO score. Consequently, there is an enormous incentive for credit bureaus to create their own credit score so they will no longer have to pay another party.

The Vantage Score

Credit bureaus are constantly coming up with their own credit score to fight the FICO score due to the financial motivation produced. Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion came together in 2006 to create the Vantage score in hopes of replacing the FICO score. Being the three major credit bureaus, the plan was to have strength in numbers and overtake the FICO monopoly.

Vantage Scoring

As seen below, the Vantage score varies from FICO by ranging from 501 to 990. It also consists of five grades to determine a person’s level of credit.

  • 901-990: A Credit
  • 801-900: B Credit
  • 701-800: C Credit
  • 601-700: D Credit
  • 501-600: F Credit


Just like other attempts, the Vantage did not take off like the credit bureaus hoped. The problem is that lenders have had such great success with the FICO scoring, so they had no desire to switch scoring methods. It is just like the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This does not mean Vantage will suddenly disappear – TransUnion actually replaced their previously TrueCredit Score with Vantage.

It’s important to be aware of FICO’s competitors although FICO is still dominating the credit score world.