FICO Scores: Why So Many Versions?

FICO Scores: Why So Many Versions?

What are FICO scores?

The data within each of your credit files creates a basis for determining your FICO score. In fact, lenders request your FICO scores from each of the three major bureaus to determine creditworthiness. If your credit reports contain different information, you may have a different FICO score for each. 

FICO scores are the most widely used credit scores for credit decisions. Another scoring model, Vantage, is also used by lenders, but not as often. Understanding your FICO scores can help motivate you to improve your overall financial health. 

FICO Scores: Why So Many Versions

Overview of FICO versions:

Founded in 1956, Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), has created several different versions. These versions were created to keep up with the changes in consumer behaviors. Each FICO version is represented by a number. Each number represents the year a particular version was updated or released. Moreover, each version has specific algorithms used to calculate your credit score.

  • FICO 2: This version of FICO was created in 2002 and is mostly widely used today to determine your Experian score for mortgage applications. 
  • FICO 3: Released in 2003, this FICO version is most commonly used by some lenders in credit card decisioning.
  • FICO 4: Updated in 2004, it is mostly widely used today to determine your Transunion score for mortgage applications. 
  • FICO 5: Released in 2005 is most often used to determine your Equifax score for mortgage applications.
  • FICO 8: This version was updated in 2008 and is most commonly used today to determine your Transunion, Equifax, and Experian scores for credit decisions. In fact, this scoring version is used for credit card, bankcard, and auto applications.
  • FICO 9: Updated in 2009 is the most newly released FICO version. This version has not been widely adopted to approve credit applications. However, many lenders are beginning to offer this FICO score version to its customers for free.

The only place to see all of your FICO scores is at

How do I know which FICO version a lender will use?

If you’d like to know which FICO version a lender will use to determine if you are credit worthy, simply ask. It is especially important to ask if you’re looking to purchase a big-ticket item such as an automobile or a new home. Knowing which scoring model and version the lender will use can help you plan for a greater chance of approval and to get the best interest rate possible.

Is it important to learn the different factors used for each FICO version?

What’s most important is maintaining good financial habits and responsibly managing your overall financial health. Focus on the key factors that make this possible such as paying bills on time, not using too much credit, and applying for and opening credit only when you need it.

Even if you’ve missed payments in the past, stop the bleeding, and stay current. Keep in mind, the information within your credit reports is what’s used to calculate your FICO scores. If you can make a commitment to change old credit habits, the impact from the past will fade over time.

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