If you’ve ever done a search for credit scores online, you’ve likely come across a lot of funny terms, such as “Fica score” or “Fako score,” to name just two.
This is largely because credit scoring is shrouded in secrecy, thereby bemusing consumers and creating lots of misinformation out there.
Unfortunately, this has led to a lot of confusion about credit scores and the creation of completely made up terms, likely borne from ignorance and/or typos.
What on Earth Is a “Fica Score?”
For example, there are tons of websites out there that detail the so-called “Fica score,” which put simply, doesn’t exist.
That’s right. There isn’t a Fica score. There is a Fico score, which is issued by Fico, formerly known as Fair Isaac.
But there isn’t some oddball, lesser-known street version of it called the “Fica score” that can only be found in the nether regions of the Internet.
So if you come across this term, don’t think you’re missing out. And don’t panic if you can’t find a company selling Fica scores. As I said, they don’t exist so they aren’t for sale.
I’d love to call this a typo, but it seems to go beyond that. Perhaps bad accents (or bad hearing) are to blame for this phenomenon. Or just one’s tendency to make up their own spelling for a word. I don’t know.
Anyways, if you’re inquiring about your Fica score, you probably want your Fico score.
The Fico score is the most relied upon credit score in the United States, and is used by the majority of banks and lenders to assess our creditworthiness.
So this is the credit score you should pay the most attention to if you want to know where you stand (credit score scale).
If you do happen to find a Fica score, please let me know though.
Are Fako Scores Real?
Okay, we dispelled the Fica myth. But what about “Fako scores?” You’ve probably heard this term too.
Well, Fako scores actually exist, though the term is a little cynical, if not derogatory.
You see, the credit reporting agencies issue their own credit scores, along with Fico scores.
So if you order a free credit score from Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, chances are it won’t actually be a bona fide Fico score.
Instead, it will be a credit score derived from their own unique algorithm, which although very similar to Fico, isn’t a true Fico score.
An example is the Equifax credit score, which has a range of 280-850, unlike Fico’s 300-850 credit score range.
So we know right there that it’s different than a Fico score, which explains why it’s known as a Fako score.
Unfortunately, consumers aren’t even able to buy all three of their true Fico scores because Experian doesn’t sell one anymore.
You can buy your Equifax and and TransUnion Fico scores, but knowing only two is somewhat pointless.
I’d rather know all three of my Fako scores, which generally provide a very good indication of where your Fico scores will land.
So all those free credit score providers you come across will most likely be selling you Fako scores, which are consumer credit scores, not the ones lenders use when they pull your credit.
This is why they have been brandished as “fake credit scores,” or “Fakos.” But that seems a bit harsh.
Every time I’ve pulled a Fako score, my Fico score was never far off. Sure, there may have been a few points of divergence, but credit scores can change daily, so it wasn’t anything unexpected.
And I still had a very good idea as to where I stood and why.
For the record, only lenders have access to all three of your Fico scores, so unless you apply for a loan that uses a tri-merge credit report, you won’t be able to see them all.
Read more: Are credit scores and Fico scores the same.