Credit Score

Product Review: Experian VantageScore

Comments 15 Comments

In my first VantageScore post this morning, I recommended that you check your Experian VantageScore online. I might want to take that statement back. I just completed my purchase of the Experian VantageScore and I have to report that I am less than impressed. Here’s a description of what happened:

Step 1: Ordering.
Experian1I have always disliked the Experian order process. Compared to the other bureaus and FICO, their forms are confusing and their security a bit too relaxed. Experian doesn’t tell you the price of the product ($5.95) until you are halfway through the order. Their identity verification questions would be far too easy for a thief to guess the answers. There is no account creation system so that you can return to your score after your order. Experian only allows for credit card orders and they don’t even ask for the three digit security code from the back of your credit card.

Step 2: Still Ordering?

Experian2For some reason, Experian decides to send you to a page with credit tips and information about the VantageScore instead of directly to your purchase. It took me a few seconds to read over this page and see that I had to click the blue button at the bottom to proceed.

Step 3: Reviewing my Score
ExperianvantagescoreWhew! I finally reached the end of the order process and received my score…or did I? This page is pretty terribly designed, and I couldn’t find my score for quite a few seconds. Click on the image to see for yourself. How long did it take you?  Why did Experian decide to bury the good stuff in mounds of marketing copy about the importance of the Vantage Score?

Since this score doesn’t include my Experian credit report, it’s hard to put it into perspective or to check on the factors that are impacting my standing. And the new VantageScore range is definitely confusing to me. According to Experian, I have an 885, B, PrimePlus score. Even as a "credit expert" I have a hard time understanding just what that means.

Overall, I was not very satisfied with the Experian VantageScore. I decided to order my Experian FICO Score online in order to compare products:

Step 1: Ordering
Fico1I have a login with FICO from previous orders and didn’t have to go through the account and identity verification process. The system took me straight to the order page once I was logged in. The FICO Score and report does costs $14.95, more than twice what the VantageScore costs. But FICO allows you to pay with something other than a credit card and does ask you for your credit card’s 3 digit security code. Once you hit the "Make Purchase Now" button you are taken to a receipt page and then straight to your credit score.

Step 2: Reviewing my Score

It is a lot easier to see my credit score on the FICO page. It’s posted right at the top and again in the middle of the page. FICO’s range graphic is a little hard to read but gives me a fairly clear idea of where I stand. What my score means is outlined in bullets below my score. While Experian only said I had a "B," FICO explains that my score is "excellent" and that "it is extremely unlikely" that my credit and loan applications would be denied. Plus, the FICO score includes my Experian credit report data. I can check on each of the accounts on my credit report to see if they are reporting accurately. And, because of my login, I can return to FICO for 30 days to check this score again.

FICO wins this battle from a usability perspective. Ordering online was simple, I felt that my order was secure and the final product was easy to understand. Experian’s VantageScore was difficult to interpret and their ordering system was poorly designed. It’s a shame that Experian didn’t incorporate their flashy interactive graphics from their homepage into the final product. I hope that the Equifax and TransUnion VantageScore products are going to be better than Experian’s product. If the bureaus are serious about competing with FICO, they need to work on making this score the best in the industry for both consumers and businesses.

Did you order your VantageScore online? What did you think about the new credit score? Share your feedback in the comments section below.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Liz S.

    I did it. I’m such a sucker. 888, B, Prime Plus. I love their “your score is lower because” reasonings, which are really all wrong.
    Now I’m annoyed. We just pulled my husband’s score. Keep in mind in September, I was a good 50 pts higher than him with their old scoring. Now he has a 911 and in the Super Prime category, A grade.
    So not fair… Heh.

  • Emily Davidson

    I was always a straight A student and this “B” grade from the VantageScore is going to really bother me! Even though I know that my credit score is really good…I still can’t have a B!

  • Elana

    The question really is who is going to use this score? If FICO remains the industry standard, then this score is a waste.

  • Liz S.

    With the right marketing, support and a lower cost, I think VantageScore will get 20% of the market in 5 years.

  • John Ulzheimer

    Marketing, support and price are not relevant to the success of Vantage.
    What the bueaus have to do is convince the top of the food chain that their new score is better than FICO by “enough” to justify them switching.
    It’s going to take Vantage beating the pants off of FICO in a head to head validation (which it won’t do)
    Then it’s going to take one of the GSEs (Fannie or Freddie) to mandate its use in DU and LP and that alone could take 5 years…and again, it has to outperform FICO before it’ll even go there.
    Then you have to convince lenders who use million dollar custom models (that all have FICO as an internal component) that they have to rebuild their models at a cost of millions of dollars to use this new score.
    Liz – I don’t think you realize how difficult it is to replace one credit score with another.
    It has nothing to do with marketing or support…and they can give it away if they want and that won’t matter.
    Early results on Vantage are that “nobody wants it.” And that’s a quote from an Equifax sales person who will remain nameless.
    Sorry, as I said in my first blog on Vantage score, the market demand simply isn’t there.

  • Liz S.

    Does it really have to be better or just be good enough? I’m not sure I get why it has to beat the pants off of FICO.
    Sure, the lenders with million-dollar systems won’t be jumping but there’s a lot of market out there and new lenders showing up every day.

  • John Ulzheimer

    I like your spunk Liz!! Keep ‘em coming.
    Replacing one score with another isn’t like changing tires. To switch from one score to another can take years and cost millions of dollars. Even if it did beat the pants off of FICO (which it won’t) lenders still have to justify the cost to switch and the time spent redoing all of their pricing tiers, conducting validations, rebuilding custom models…etc. The question that has to be answered is “if I switched to Vantage would I make more money, and would it be SO much more money that it justified the cost to switch scores?”
    Trust me, when I was at FICO we built the better mousetrap…it was called “NextGen.” It whipped the old FICO score in head to head comparisons… and guess where NextGen is today…collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. Reason? Because the big lenders and Fannie and Freddie couldn’t answer “yes” to the above question.
    There are a ton of other score options out there…and the reason you’ve never heard of them is because A. Lenders don’t use them and B. Because the bureaus, until Vantage, didn’t have a press release announcing them.
    And the comment made by the Experian president “(we’ve) responded to the clear need for an objective scoring model that works across all three reporting companies’ data” is marketing varnish and they know it.
    There’s no analytic value building it that way. That actually weakens a model and the modeling folks at banks, credit card companies and the GSEs know this.
    Sure, they might get a credit union here and there to use it but that’s certainly not why they built it.
    New lenders are all staffed with employees of existing lenders…that means FICO, not Vantage.
    And the bottom line is still “nobody wants it.” I’ll get a few more quotes from credit bureau sales reps regarding their efforts to sell Vantage. It would make for good reading.

  • David

    What you didn’t mention, EMILY, is how your Vantagescore compared to your FICO score.
    Here’s my take: The Vantagescore is just an invention by the credit bureaus designed to fatten the wallets of their primary customers…THE LENDERS. I have no doubt that the Vantagescore will significantly lower credit scores across the board..thus allowing creditors to raise interest rates on existing revolving accounts, disqualify on prime offers (0% interest), and baulk at offering the lowest mortagage rates. My FICO was 744, but the Vantagescore rates me as C. My primary reason for a lower score? My “average loan amount across open, recently reported reasl estate accounts” is too low. WHAT? So I get a lower score because I only borrowed 175K to buy a house instead of 300K? What kind of BULLsh*t is that?????

  • David

    Oh…one other thing. I was going to mention that with well, all 3 major credit agencies working together on this the idea of “competition” is a joke, or in other words, a trust. Well it seems that Fair Issac has filed an anti-trust suit aginst Vantagescore. Yayyyyyy!

  • Anonymous

    Good question David! My VantageScore was 855, a B according to the model. My FICO score is around 760, which would put me in the A- range.

  • Sam

    I purchased the Vantage Score and it was a joke. It said my score was 722. I went to refi and the mortgage company said my score was 598 (yes I know it sucks) but I feel like an even bigger sucker for paying $5.95 for mis information.

  • Anonymous

    I checked my disad-Vantagescore and compared it to the 3 FICO scores. The Experian disad-Vantagescore was 629 (Non-prime) the other FICO scores were:
    TransUnion – 787
    Equifax – 789
    Experian – 793
    All in the Very Good range.
    I called their service center and was told that the score can’t be changed even though it made no sense.

  • RB

    Have to agree with the poster who said the winners with Vantage are the lenders who choose to use the score to increase rates to consumers. VantageScore showed 790 or “C” risk, whereas FICO showed 788 or “excellent”. Do the math, which score results in higher profit?

  • Pat

    Here is the other side to Experian. If you find something on your report that is incorrect or not yours, you have the option to dispute those entries so that they have to go back and request those companies “verify” that information. Back when I did this it took up to 30 days to do this.
    I found something on my report from Cingular. I immediately knew this to be incorrect because I use Cricket only. I do not do anything with a contract, use credit cards and the only financing I EVER do is when buying a house.
    I disputed this with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Equifax and TransUnion took almost 3 weeks, but they did remove the incorrect Cingular listing. Experian took less than 24 hours and instead of removing it, they RENEWED the date of the invalid listing so now it is even worse!
    The really bad thing is that when contacting Cingular, every single person in their finance and legal department said that I have never had an account with them according to their records (which I already know) so they don’t know how on earth Experian could have possibly “validated” this with them.
    Stay away from Experian!

  • llw222

    Experian’s order site it the worst I’ve ever dealt with! As you mentioned there is no means to go back and check your score! After hitting submit, the screen refreshed and came back to the screen where you enter your order request with my credit card number and experiation date but not other information. I thought I must have entred soething wrong for the site not to have accepted my information. So, I entered it a second time and the same refresh happened again after I hit submit. I NEVER got my credit score and there isn’t a way to go back and enter the name and password asked for when I placed the order. What a mess. you’d think Experian would provide a more secure and well thought out order form.

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