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jello77
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The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations

[ Edited ]

 

 

The many flavors of FICO:

A summary of FICO editions, versions, and variations

 

(Updated 8-24-2014)

 

One of the first things a newcomer to this board learns is the importance of distinguishing between FICO and FAKO scores. FAKO refers to the many non-FICO scores being sold by various companies. FAKO scores have little value since few of them are used by lenders and they do not match closely to FICO scores.

 

But even when you stick with FICO scores, confusion can ensue because FICO scores have many different editions, versions, and variations. On a single day, a consumer could theoretically have dozens of different FICO scores, depending on which version, sub-version, and credit agency is used to produce the score.

 

This post provides a summary of the many available FICO versions.  The information has been obtained from numerous sources, and I hope all is correct. Please feel free to offer corrections or updates to anything in this post, and I will edit them in.

 

 

**********************************************************************************************

 

 


The FICO scoring model with its familiar range of 300 to 850 was first introduced in 1989. Since then, FICO has released five major revisions to the model. The dates of the revisions are 1995, 1998, 2004, 2008, and 2014. Each FICO "edition" uses a different formula and produces a different score.

 

When a new FICO edition is released, many lenders continue using an older version for many years before "upgrading." The 1995 FICO revision is no longer in common use, but the later editions are still used by lenders.

 

Most FICO editions are commonly known by the year of introduction:  FICO 98, FICO 04, and FICO 08 (although FICO officially calls it FICO 8, without the zero).

 

The most recent edition introduced in 2014 is officially named FICO Score 9.

 

As of 2014, FICO 08 is reported to be the most commonly used by lenders. However, most mortgage lenders use FICO 04 for Equifax and Transunion, and FICO 98 for Experian.

 

For each edition of the scoring model, FICO produces several variations. In addition to a standard or "classic" version, FICO offers "Industry Option" versions customized for lenders such auto, mortgage, insurance, and credit cards. These industry versions have a score range of 250 to 900, so they produce scores not fully comparable with the classic FICO versions.

 

Adding an additional layer of complexity is the fact that each credit agency (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) uses customized versions of each of the various FICO editions and industry sub-versions. As a result, a consumer's FICO scores from each agency may differ even when all credit information is identical among the agencies.

 

Because there are so many different versions of FICO scores, whenever a score is received, it is helpful to know which version it is. If a lender provides a credit score to you, ask for details such as which credit agency was used, which FICO edition was used, and whether the score is an Industry Option version. The lender may not always be willing or able to provide the answers, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

 

 

 


Special note about "real-world" score ranges:

 

When providing information to consumers, FICO always states that the range for standard or "classic" scores is 300 to 850. However a little known fact is that the actual, real-world score ranges are not 300 to 850 for all FICO classic versions.

 

For many years, the real-world score ranges were known only to financial professionals and rarely disclosed to consumers. In 2009, a change in the federal credit laws required greater disclosure of information to credit applicants. As a result, the real-world score ranges began to appear on documents credit applicants received from lenders. The formerly "secret" real-world score ranges began to become increasingly well-known.

 

The fact that real-world "classic" score ranges are not always 300 to 850 was confirmed to me in a private email from John Ulzheimer, a former employee of both FICO and Equifax and a well-known author and expert on credit scoring issues.

 

In the summary shown below, I have included the actual, real-world minimum and maximum scores for each FICO edition for which I have obtained this information.

 

In addition to John Ulzheimer, I want to thank posters GregB and To-Be-Continued from this board who first made me aware of this information.

  

Linked below is an example of a document showing real-world score ranges for each of the three credit agencies:

 

http://www.krollfactualdata.com/kroll-factual-data/media/assets/PDFs/RBP%20Letters/H-3.PDF

 

 

Linked below is a document on the Transunion web site. On pages 14 and 15, it shows the same real-world score ranges for FICO 98, FICO 04, and FICO 8 that I have cited below.

 

http://www.transunion.com/docs/rev/business/financialservices/FS_ModelsOverview.pdf

 

 

 


Shown below is a list of the FICO editions now in common use, along with the names used by each credit agency for their standard or "classic" version of the model. The "common names" are those often used by posters on credit-related message boards.

 

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FICO 98    (introduced 1998)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

____Transunion
________Official name:   FICO Risk Score, Classic 98 (formerly called Empirica)
________Common name:  TU-98
________Available directly to consumers:   no   (was formerly available for purchase from MyFICO, but as of 2014 MyFICO sells the FICO TU-08 score)
________Real-world score range:  336 to 843     (as shown on page 15 of this Transunion document:   http://tinyurl.com/q3k2hwu)

 

 


____Equifax

________Official name:   Beacon 96
________This version appears to be seldom used, but a poster reported it used on a mortgage application in 2014.
________Available directly to consumers:   no

 

 


____Experian
________Official name:   Experian/FICO Risk Model v2
________Common name:   EX-98
________Available directly to consumers:   Some credit unions such as PSECU provide it free each month to members.

________Real-world score range:   320 to 844     (as shown on this Experian document:   http://tinyurl.com/ndcsqxs)

 

 


NOTE:
As shown above, the maximum score possible with FICO 98 is Experian 844. In 2009, a poster named bulbisaur achieved this maximum 844 score. A post from him that includes an image of the three FICO scores (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) that he obtained in 2009 from MyFICO can be seen here:   http://bit.ly/1tq32ta

 

 

 

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FICO 04   (introduced 2004)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Most mortgage lenders use FICO 04 for Equifax and Transunion, and FICO 98 for Experian.

All three scores will normally be pulled and the middle score (not the average) will be used by the lender.

 


____Transunion
________Official name:   FICO Risk Score, Classic 04 (formerly called Empirica)
________Common name:  TU-04  
________Available directly to consumers:   no
________Real-world score range:   309 to 839     (as shown on page 14 of this Transunion document:   http://tinyurl.com/q3k2hwu)

 

 


____Equifax
________Official name:   Beacon 5.0
________Common name:   EQ-04

________Available directly to consumers:   from Equifax when buying FICO score (available as a one-time purchase with the "Score Power" product available here, or as part of a credit monitoring service available here).  Some credit unions such as DCU provide it free each month to members. Was formerly available for purchase from MyFICO, but as of 2014 MyFICO sells only FICO 08 scores.

________Real-world score range:   334 to 818

 

 

____Experian
________Official name:   Experian/FICO Risk Model v3
________Common name:   EX-04
________Available directly to consumers:   No

________Real-world score range:   325 to 850     (as shown on this Experian document:   http://ex.pn/W5hFJ2)

 

 

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FICO 8   (introduced 2008)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The real-world range for "classic" FICO 8 scores extends fully up to 850.

 


____Transunion
________Official name:   FICO 8 Risk Score (also sometimes called FICO Risk Score, Classic 08)
________Common name:   TU-08
________Available directly to consumers:   from MyFICO when buying Transunion FICO score. Some credit cards issuers such as Discover, Barclays, and Walmart provides it free each month.

________Real-world score range:   341 to 850     (as shown on page 14 of this Transunion document:   http://tinyurl.com/q3k2hwu)

 

 

 

____Equifax
________Official name:   Beacon 09

________Common name:   EQ-08
________Available directly to consumers:   from MyFICO when buying Equifax FICO score (available as one-time purchase or as part of a credit monitoring service such as Score Watch). To purchase, to see this page

________Real-world score range:   300  to 850

 

 


____Experian
________Official name:   Experian/FICO Risk Model v8

________Common name:   EX-08
________Available directly to consumers:    from MyFICO when buying Experian FICO score

________Real-world score range:   316  to 850     (as shown on this Experian document:   http://tinyurl.com/pkdcygb)

 

 

 

How FICO 8 differs from previous versions is explained here:   http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/fico8.aspx

 

 

NOTE 1:

In June 2013, a poster named geronimo2008 reported obtaining the highest possible score of 850 from Experian, as described in this post:   http://bit.ly/1kNuvnO

 

In May 2014, a poster named android01 reported obtaining 850 scores from all three credit agencies, as described in this post:   http://bit.ly/1pAon2H

 

In June 2014, a former moderator of this board named fused received 850 scores from all three credit agencies, as described in this post:  http://bit.ly/1nJhVbd

 

 

 

NOTE 2:

Linked here is a 2011 press release describing a study of FICO 08 scores:   http://bit.ly/1k6H8ui

From a sample of 250,000 credit reports, it found that 0.02% had a FICO 8 score of 850, or about 1 out of every 5000 persons.

 

 

 

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FICO Score 9   (introduced 2014)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

In 2014, FICO announced a new version called FICO Score 9 as described in these press releases:

 

March 2014:   http://bit.ly/1AZ702t

 

August 2014:   http://on.mktw.net/1ovkVn8

 

 

This New York Times article has more info about FICO 9:   http://nyti.ms/1nxOKTT

 

The article says FICO 9 includes two important changes:

 

--- unpaid debts that result in collection actions will no longer have a negative effect on a score provided that the debt has been paid.

 

--- unpaid medical debts will have less negative effect on scores.

 

 

 

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FICO NextGen   (introduced 2001)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

In 2001, FICO released a scoring model called NextGen which is claimed to be a major improvement over the "classic" FICO models. In producing a score, NextGen tracks many more factors.  But it has failed to catch on with lenders because its score range of 150 to 950 is incompatible with the familiar 300 to 850 range, requiring lenders to recalculate cutoff scores and revise many rules and policies.

 

Only a small percentage of lenders reportedly use NextGen.

 

 

____Transunion
________Official name:   Precision
________Available directly to consumers:    no

 

 


____Equifax
________Official name:   Pinnacle
________Available directly to consumers:   In 2014, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) began to provide this score free to its credit card holders, as discussed in this post:   http://bit.ly/1p0Yyb7

 

 


____Experian
________Official name:   FICO Advanced Risk Score
________Available directly to consumers:    no

 



EQ-04 FICO__804__(from DCU)__inquiries = 0
EQ-08 FICO__826__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
EX-98 FICO__837__(from PSECU)__inquiries = 0
EX-08 FICO__813__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
TU-08 FICO__820__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
Oldest account 36 yrs / Newest account 2 years / Average age 12 yrs / Total accounts 10 / Accounts reporting balance = 2 / Util = 3%
Established Contributor
pipeguy
Posts: 823
Registered: ‎10-31-2011
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations

Excellent post, I've book marked it, thank you !

Valued Contributor
GregB
Posts: 1,669
Registered: ‎05-24-2007
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations

[ Edited ]

Only error I spotted looking this over is that where you had: "Official name:   FICO Risk Score, Classic 08"    is that TU actually calls this: FICO 8 Risk Score

 

"Classic" seems to have been dropped by TU after FICO 04

 

I am less convinced of the dates matching up with the date, or suggestion of the date, in the name of the product. FICO 8 was developed 2005-2007 so could have been thought to be released in 2008. However FICO 04 was developed in 1998-2000, FICO 98 ws developed 1993-1995, and Next Gen was originally developed 1995-1997 with the Precision 2003 version being developed 1998-2000.

 

Your excellent post led me to look at actual docuements from EQ. This showed me that where I had been using the term "Beacon 9" that I was pulling it from my memory and the documents from EQ actually call it "Beacon 09".

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jello77
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎08-02-2010
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations

[ Edited ]

GregB:

 

Thanks for the correction. I made a change on my post.

 

I did a search on the Transunion web site and I found references to both "FICO Risk Score, Classic 08" and "FICO 8 Risk Score" to describe TU's version of FICO 8. But "FICO 8 Risk Score" seems to be the name TU is currently using.

 

 

While searching the TU web site, I came across this PDF document:

 

http://www.transunion.com/docs/rev/business/financialservices/FS_ModelsOverview.pdf

 

On page 14 and 15, it shows the same real-world score ranges for FICO 04 and FICO 98 that I cite in my post above, and that you have cited in your previous posts.

 

I added this document to my post above. It's good to find an official document on a credit agency's web site that confirms this information.

 

 Maybe this will help convince MarineVietVet that we are right about this issue. I know he was convinced that all FICO classic scores have a real-world range up to 850.

 

You are right that the dates and names only have a loose relationship. In fact, all the names seem like they are designed to keep us confused.

EQ-04 FICO__804__(from DCU)__inquiries = 0
EQ-08 FICO__826__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
EX-98 FICO__837__(from PSECU)__inquiries = 0
EX-08 FICO__813__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
TU-08 FICO__820__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
Oldest account 36 yrs / Newest account 2 years / Average age 12 yrs / Total accounts 10 / Accounts reporting balance = 2 / Util = 3%
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MarineVietVet
Posts: 14,914
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations


jello77 wrote:

GregB:

 

Thanks for the correction. I made a change on my post.

 

I did a search on the Transunion web site and I found references to both "FICO Risk Score, Classic 08" and "FICO 8 Risk Score" to describe TU's version of FICO 8. But "FICO 8 Risk Score" seems to be the name TU is currently using.

 

 

While searching the TU web site, I came across this PDF document:

 

http://www.transunion.com/docs/rev/business/financialservices/FS_ModelsOverview.pdf

 

On page 14 and 15, it shows the same real-world score ranges for FICO 04 and FICO 98 that I cite in my post above, and that you have cited in your previous posts.

 

I added this document to my post above. It's good to find an official document on a credit agency's web site that confirms this information.

 

 Maybe this will help convince MarineVietVet that we are right about this issue. I know he was convinced that all FICO classic scores have a real-world range up to 850.

 

You are right that the dates and names only have a loose relationship. In fact, all the names seem like they are designed to keep us confused.


I finally have an answer from my friend:

 

"Sorry to see you taking the brunt of this sticky FICO issue. I gave you the "stated" FICO score range of 300-850, as that's all I'm allowed to say. It's true, however, that all FICO models don't deliver that full range. If you asked me about "real world" score ranges I should have told you there's a discrepancy here, even though I couldn't have told you much more than that. If you didn't, then you got my standard reply. Again, I apologize for hanging you out to dry there".

 

So it looks like I misinterpreted the information I was given. I wish I could say this is the first time I've ever been wrong and that it will never happen again but alas neither of those statements would be true.  :smileyhappy:

 

 

 

From a BK years ago to:
EX - 3/11 pulled by lender- 835, EQ - 2/11-816, TU - 2/11-782

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem".

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jello77
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎08-02-2010
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations

[ Edited ]

MarineVietVet,

 

Many thanks for your reply.

 

It's good that we finally cleared up what seemed like a real mystery.

 

I'm a little puzzled at why your source feels he was not able to be completely candid about this issue. From what I can see, the "real-world" score ranges we are talking about are not a secret. Maybe in the past they were considered proprietary information. But, as I mentioned in my post above, Transunion publishes them openly on their web site, and people are given documents with the real-world ranges from lenders. And this information is now available all over the internet.


The good news is that your Equifax score of 816 is just 2 points from the maximum possible score of 818, and your Experian score of 835 is just 9 points from the maximum score of 844.

 

That's cause for celebration!

EQ-04 FICO__804__(from DCU)__inquiries = 0
EQ-08 FICO__826__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
EX-98 FICO__837__(from PSECU)__inquiries = 0
EX-08 FICO__813__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
TU-08 FICO__820__(from MyFICO)__inquiries = 0
Oldest account 36 yrs / Newest account 2 years / Average age 12 yrs / Total accounts 10 / Accounts reporting balance = 2 / Util = 3%
Moderator
MarineVietVet
Posts: 14,914
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations


jello77 wrote:

MarineVietVet,

 

Many thanks for your reply.

 

It's good that we finally cleared up what seemed like a real mystery.

 

I'm a little puzzled at why your source feels he was not able to be completely candid about this issue. From what I can see, the "real-world" score ranges we are talking about are not a secret. Maybe in the past they were considered proprietary information. But, as I mentioned in my post above, Transunion publishes them openly on their web site, and people are given documents with the real-world ranges from lenders. And this information is now available all over the internet.


The good news is that your Equifax score of 816 is just 2 points from the maximum possible score of 818, and your Experian score of 835 is just 9 points from the maximum score of 844.

 

That's cause for celebration!



He has valid reasons and I respect his decision. Perhaps some day more can be said about all this.

 

As for my scores I'm afraid they are probably a little below what they were last February and March. My utilization has risen to about 12 or 13% the last several months (It's that real life getting in the way!  :smileywink:  ) but I'm only paying 1% interest on a BT that I used to buy my son a used car and I can live with a 1% car loan. The other revolving debt is all at 0% so I'm in good shape.

 

Fortunately for me I've reached the point in my life where I no longer have to be concerned with small fluctuations in my scores. As long as I keep doing the right things (and don't do anything dumb) I will be fine.

 

 

 

From a BK years ago to:
EX - 3/11 pulled by lender- 835, EQ - 2/11-816, TU - 2/11-782

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem".

Moderator Emeritus
fused
Posts: 16,373
Registered: ‎03-12-2007
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations

The edit came out of nowhere.:smileyvery-happy:

Credit Profile -
FICO 08 Scores (11-08-2014): EQ 818, EX 817, TU 822
All three scores were 850. Lost points for not having an open installment TL. So, BE WARNED!!!!!
Credit History: 26+ years ~ AAoA: 12 years ~ Util: 1% ~ Inqs: EX 1

Frequent Contributor
Kratos-TM
Posts: 429
Registered: ‎05-23-2013
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations

I know this is an old thread, but I'm still wondering if the 818 max score for EQ Beacon 5 is still legit. Seems I've seen some members here lately with higher than that from EQ04.

Myfico scores.....
EX... 805 (11-10-13)
EQ... 810 (12-02-13)
TU... 810 (12-02-13)
Moderator
guiness56
Posts: 22,406
Registered: ‎01-17-2008
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Re: The many flavors of FICO:__Editions, versions, and variations


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