Dissecting Your Credit Score: Improve your Financial Health

Whether young or old, responsible credit handling is a vital life skill to improve your financial health.

Many people defer to the familiar model of the FICO score when researching their credit; however, there is another score you should consider: the VantageScore. The difference between the two? Negligible. There are subtle nuances, but nothing consumers usually need to worry about. The key thing to remember is that both scores are equally as important, and, by learning about each, you can improve your financial health. We’ll walk you through the benefits of each scoring model, how negative factors impact each model, and what you can do improve your credit.

Credit Scoring Models

Let’s take a scalpel to the credit scoring models and see what makes each one tick!


  • Gathers credit reports from millions of consumers and uses the data to create an accurate scoring model.
  • This is the longstanding model. FICO scores require at least 6 months of reportable credit and a minimum of 1 account opened and held within the last 6 months to calculate a credit score.


  • Uses a general set of consumer data to generate a formula used to calculate your credit score.
  • This is the better option for consumers with little or no credit history. The VantageScore only requires 1 month of credit history to calculate your score and 1 account within the past 2 years.

Both models score on a scale from 300-850 and use the same criteria for scoring: payment history, length of payment, types of credit, credit usage, recent inquiries.

Negative Impacts | Credit Repair Solutions

Overdue payments can leave a major impact on your credit, especially when a history of late payment accumulates. Both your FICO score and VantageScore will suffer in the event you’ve had too many delinquent payments. How much will your score drop? That depends on a few factors, namely:

  1. How recent was your last overdue payment?
  2. How many accounts have been labeled past due?
  3. How many payments have you missed on each overdue account?
  4. What type of accounts are overdue?

A few past due payments on a credit card won’t hurt as much as a missed payment on a car loan. The simplest solution? Pay your bills on time. Consider enrolling in automatic bill payment. Most banks and financial institutions offer free reminders through email and text notifications.

Most people are aware that applying for too much credit in a short amount of time will lower your credit score. The reason behind this is lenders do what’s called a “hard inquiry.” A hard inquiry, as opposed to a soft inquiry, occurs whenever a creditor runs your credit for a loan: applying for credit cards, applying for auto loans, applying for a mortgage; each of these will result in hard inquiries. Soft inquiries are issued for purposes such as background checks. It’s a good practice to limit new credit applications to as few as possible; however, when necessary, apply wisely and conservatively – and never close an old account without good reason.

The most damaging thing for either credit score will be accounts sent to collections. Avoid collections by any means necessary! FICO will offer you a little more leeway than VantageScore when it comes to amounts valued at less than $100 – FICO will ignore these accounts. VantageScore, however, will report all accounts sent to collections until they are paid in full. An effective way to avoid collections is to keep the balances on your accounts as low as possible. When you pay, pay as much as you can, and try to maintain a carrying balance of less than 30% of your credit lines – never max out your credit cards.

Improve you financial heath by monitoring our credit score closely.

You may also like