FICO scores are the most commonly used scoring models in the United States. In fact, some people just say FICO when they actually mean credit score. FICO was started by the fair Isaac Corporation in 1989 and has continued to be in use until today. There are distinct types of FICO scores available with the most common ones being FICO 8, FICO 9, FICO 10, and FICO 10T.

In total, there are eight FICO scoring models: FICO 2, and FICO 4, FICO 5, and FICO 8, FICO 9, FICO 10, and FICO 10T. A person can have more than one FICO score since each model is used in different loaning situations. The older FICO models 2, 4, 5 are used by mortgage lenders while the newer FICO models are used for auto and bankcard lending.

How FICO 2, 4, 5 works (older models)

These models are mainly used by the mortgage industry. Since they have similar characteristics, they are used together when determining the creditworthiness and interest rates of new mortgages.

They use data from the three credit bureaus that is Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. To determine your worthiness, a report from each bureau is extracted and the average score used to determine your creditworthiness.

Mortgage lenders prefer using these models because they provide a complete overview from all the three credit-lending companies. Hence, they can easily access the history of each account.

FICO 8

FICO 8 is an improved version of the existing FICO models. It has two sub categories: FICO 8 auto and FICO 8 bankcard. The combination of FICO 8 Auto and FICO 8 Bankcard form FICO 8 standard version.

FICO 8 Auto is used when determining the creditworthiness of a borrower in relation to automatic loans while FICO 8 Bankcard is used to review new credit card accounts. FICO 8 auto monitors your credit card behavior while FICO 8 bankcard puts more emphasis on your credit utilization.

Since these subversions exist within the standard FICO 8, they are highly influenced by your overall FICO 8 score.

Compared to the previous FICO versions discussed above, FICO 8 puts more emphasis on credit utilization, which affects 30% of your overall score. Additionally, FICO 8 is lenient when only one credit account has a late payment as compared to previous the models, which were stricter.

FICO 9

It is an upgrade of FICO 8 that was introduced in 2016. As such, it has a number of similarities and notable differences too. Unlike the earlier versions, FICO 9 is the only FICO model that features a rental payment history on your credit score. To have this information featured, however, you will have to request your property owner to report your rent payment history to the credit bureau.

Moreover, collections accounts that have a zero dollar balance are overlooked and the details will not affect your credit score. However, these reports will still feature in your full credit report and it is up to lenders to choose whether to ignore them.

FICO 10 and 10T

These are the newest scoring model introduced this year (2020). These models are designed to provide a clearer picture of a person’s creditworthiness. FICO 10 and 10T follow the same algorithm but utilizes trended data differently.

This means that FICO 10 and 10T model lists accounts that carry a balance from month to month as a risk.

Points that cut across all FICO models

1) All models use the same factors to determine creditworthiness, which is credit utilization, credit mix, payment history, and the number of active credit accounts.

2) All models have a FICO score range of 300 to 850 with the former being a poor score while the latter is the excellent and stable score.

3) Although some models are used to determine mortgage and bankcards rates, the aim of all FICO models is to help lenders determine a borrower’s creditworthiness.