News & Resources

New credit system gives alternative rating

Jan 31, 2011 Brian Bradley

Consumers have long paid close attention to their numerical credit scores. Whether 500, 600, 700 or above, the three-digit number has represented the borrowing and buying power of millions of consumers. Now, there is a new credit rating that supporters say is easier for consumers to understand. According to WBNS-TV, the new letter grade consumer credit report rating provides greater clarity. The system, devised by VantageScore, provides a letter grade, just like a report card, in addition to the traditional number. Unlike the common FICO score, which looks back at the last seven years of consumer activity, the VantageScore only goes back 24 months, WBNS-TV reports. The company's system also carries different weight than FICO. "It's important though if you pull your report, you double-check to see which model it's pulling from," Consumer Credit Counseling spokeswoman Janet Harris told the news source. "Is it the FICO model? Is it pulling from Vantage? Because a 750 in the FICO model is excellent credit; a 750 in the Vantage model is about C credit." According to the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, more than half of consumers had credit reports above 720 in 2009, while only 38 percent of consumers ran a personal credit check that year.