VantageScore And PlusScore Are Garbage Credit Scores

Would you buy a credit score that lenders don’t even use? Check it, when Consumer Reports went over the the fine print, Experian’s “VantageScore” says that it’s “for educational purposes only.” And their “PLUSscore” is “not currently sold to lenders.” What good does that do you? None. It’s just something for them to market and make money money off people who don’t know any better.

Even the FICO score isn’t the be-all and end-all of your credit-worthiness. Lenders look at lots of different factors, and each has their own underwriting criteria, and in-house models for scoring borrowers. You’re better off worrying about getting your credit report in order. Get that fixed up, and all else will follow. Best of all, you can get your credit report free once a year from each of the three bureaus at

Credit scores: Which ones do lenders use? [Consumer Reports] (Photo: whatatravisty)


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  1. ekasbury says:

    The bottom link appears to be dead.

  2. rpm773 says:

    Experian’s “VantageScore” says that it’s “for educational purposes only.”

    So, you see, class, the credit bureaus are always out to mislead you into giving them your money for some worthless number.

  3. sleze69 says:

    So how are you supposed to get the actual score from Experian if they will only sell it to lenders? This has to be a violation of the FCRA or some law.

  4. mpacuk says:

    Neither link is working for me.

  5. Samets says:


  6. BlackMage is doing the Time Warp agaaaaaaain!!! says:

    The corporate shill in me sees absolutely no correlation between Experian yanking their FICO scores and these “educational” bullshit scores being advertised instead.

  7. Trencher93 says:

    “So how are you supposed to get the actual score from Experian if they will only sell it to lenders?”

    Pretend you want to buy a house. Talk to the real estate mortgage officer about a loan. He will run the numbers and give you your credit score and other stuff. They have to make sure you’re the kind of person they’ll lend to, so they’ll do this early on the first consultation.

    Then don’t buy the house. You keep the credit score and history as a parting gift.

    Of course, you can’t do it too often.

    • floraposte says:

      @Trencher93: I would assume that such a query is a hard query and will therefore affect your credit rating, though, so you may Heisenberg yourself into trouble there.

  8. blue_streak says:

    working link

    You can sign up for the free 30-day trial at MyFico and get a real score.

  9. blue_streak says:
  10. jamesdenver says:

    Yeah I was going over my reports recently and bought the Experian score.

    My score is 785 – and they said that was average – as they grade it between 330 and 900

    I guess I was duped. I know my score is somehow in that range – but have no clue now.

  11. ndonahue says:

    It’s nice to see the tie in between Consumerist and Consumer Reports. A balance of trend spotting and research is a real plus. thanks.

  12. Necoras says:

    What about the PLUS scores from Trans Union and Equifax? Are they sold to lenders?

  13. thebluepill says:

    If anyone has the clout to battle the credit rating bureaus, its Consumers Union..

    I would bet a few Cover Stories on Consumer Reports showing the practices of the big 3 credit bureaus would really get some things changing in the consumers favor.

  14. vastrightwing says:

    As I recall, rating agencies caused this whole economic mess we’re in now. Looks like they’re up to their old tricks. I guess they figure, if it worked for them once, it’ll work for them again. Next up, buy Moody’s bond ratings*. *The rating we sell you is not the same rating we send to the institutional investors.

  15. GeorgeO says:

    Sorry to say, but the FICO that lenders purchase is only available to them. You must have a lender pull the tri-merged credit report in order to see the REAL FICO scores. Getting a score from any other source is not the same.

    • wcnghj says:

      @GeorgeO: Not entirely true. will give you FICO ’04. There are many lenders that use ’98 and some that use ’08. But a lender can select FICO04 if they want.

    • MsAnthropy says:


      I guess it’s just a damned lucky coincidence that the credit reports our lender (not to mention the lender we almost went with a month previously) sent us when we bought our house showed exactly the same scores on all three bureaus for both me and my husband. Both times.

      True enough that the FICO scores you buy at might not always perfectly match what a lender pulls – if they’re pulling an auto-enhanced score, for example, or using FICO ’08, etc. But there’s still a good chance that it will be exactly the same score. And there’s no way that can be said for Vantage/PLUS scores!

  16. thebluepill says:

    Here is a question..

    How do companies send IN information to the credit bureaus? Do they sign up with them? Pay them a fee? Get paid? How does it work and what is the incentive?

  17. wcnghj says:

    That act says you have the right to ask for a credit score. It doesn’t say that it must be a FICO score.

  18. jake7294 says:

    I just can’t stand the new marketing craze of putting two words together like PlusScore or VantageScore.

  19. ceez says:

    how do they get away with this bs!?!? why isnt someone saying “hey mr boss or people of the round table, why do we provide a service that it’s useless to people”?!?!

    oh wait, that greed word comes to mind….

  20. frank64 says:

    I bet some of the tricks people use to boost our traditional scores get negated by the specific models. I see credit sites where people open multiple credit card accounts moslty to boost the scores, and others that decide to accept a high rate increase because of the thought it might hurt their score to close it.