Just How Many FICO Credit Score Models and Versions are There?

Multiple credit score gauges and indicators from poor to goodFICO, the most commonly used credit score by lenders and creditors, has been around since 1989. Since that time, the credit scoring company has developed and implemented several iterations of the FICO credit score, many of which are still used in evaluating credit applications today. As consumer behaviors change and lending requirements shift, so goes the credit scoring methods used to evaluate new credit applications. Because of these countless algorithmic changes, you have more FICO scores than you may think.

50+ FICO Scores

In fact, according to FICO, there are more than 50 FICO credit scores used in the market today. The newest and most predictive FICO Score is FICO Score 9, made available to the public in early 2016. This version of the FICO Score changed slightly from the most widely used FICO Score 8 in terms of how medical collections, paid collections, and rent payments are analyzed and calculated.

Medical bills sent to collections under the FICO Score 9 method do not have as much of an impact as non-medical debt, benefiting individuals with unpaid healthcare expenses across the board. Paid collection accounts under FICO Score 9 are also treated differently than previous versions, essentially ignoring any collections that are paid in full by the consumer. Finally, rent payment history is factored in more when a landlord reports payment information to one or all three of the credit bureaus. These changes are all beneficial to consumers over time.

Other FICO Scores in Play

In addition to the different version of the FICO score used by lenders, FICO has also created various scoring methods specific to different industries. There are auto industry, credit card lending, and mortgage lending versions of the FICO score, all which treat certain credit history factors differently based on the creditors that will likely use them to evaluate an applicant.

When you apply for a mortgage loan with a specific lender, that potential creditor is likely to use FICO Scores 2, 4, or 5 which help lenders determine how high a risk you pose as it relates to repaying a mortgage balance. Auto industry lenders are likely to use the Auto Score version of FICO, versions 9, 8, 5, 4, or 2, which pull in different factors that calculate the risk of defaulting on an auto loan. Credit card issuers are likely to use the FICO Score Bankcard Score, versions 9, 8, 5, 4, or 3, which evaluate credit card repayment factors.

The industry-specific FICO Score versions are one thing, but what makes the number of scores so high for consumers is the fact that there are three different credit bureaus interacting with credit scores at any given time. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion each have a FICO Score version designed for its use. Below is a chart of the number of FICO Score versions used at each credit reporting agency along with the industry-specific versions.

Industry Equifax Experian TransUnion
General Credit Inquiries 6 6 7
Auto Industry 3 3 4
Mortgage Industry 1 1 1
Credit Card Industry 3 3 4
Installment Loans 2 2 3
Personal Finance 2 2 3
Total Versions 17 17 22

If you’re keeping track, that’s a total of 56 FICO Score versions! But before you start concerning yourself with how to monitor each FICO Score out there in the world, know that your only task is keeping your credit healthy. Make on-time payments to each of your accounts, don’t overdo it on spending on credit, and take is easy with applying for new credit over time. Taking these simple steps will ensure all of your possible FICO Scores are maintained at a high level, giving you access to new credit when the need arises.

Posted on December 29, 2017 by in Credit Monitoring

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