The New Way Lenders Size You Up
Just when you finally had FICO figured out, you're getting a brand new score
(MONEY Magazine) – So the Fed raised rates another quarter point in March. Ho hum. The far bigger news that may affect your future borrowing rates: the unveiling of a new rating system that will compete with the widely used FICO credit score. Developed jointly by the three major credit bureaus, VantageScore should reduce discrepancies between your scores at the agencies, they contend. But it's also likely to lead to confusion, since VantageScore ratings will range from 501 to 990 (a 901-plus score is an A; 801 to 900, a B; down to 501 to 600, an F) vs. 300 to 850 for the FICO scale. For example, a 720 FICO score could land you a 9% rate on a credit card; with VantageScore, 720 might give you a 20% rate, says Curtis Arnold of CardRatings.com. For more info on the new system, go to vantagescore.com.
SAVINGS NOTES AND SOURCES: CD and money-market account data as of March 21 from 100 Highest Yields ($124 for 52 issues; 800-327-7717); all have a minimum investment of $10,000 or less. Average tax-exempt and taxable money-market fund yields for the week ending March 21 from Money Fund Report (imoneynet.com); all have a minimum investment of $10,000 or less and assets of $25 million or more. Average bond fund yields for the month ending Feb. 28 from Lipper; all are medium- and high-quality funds without sales loads and with average maturities of three years or less.  Manager absorbed all or some operating expenses.  Closed to new investors, except Bank of America customers. CREDIT NOTES AND SOURCES: All rates subject to change. Credit-card rates are for standard cards as of March 21 from Bankrate.com and are variable unless otherwise indicated. Survey does not include Internet-only cards or AmEx Blue.  Visa only.  Fixed rate.  Platinum and gold cards.