Are there really consumer FICO scores and lender FICO scores?

16 Replies

Experian says my FICO is 816.  My lender showed me my credit report that she pulled and Experian says my FICO is 695.  When I asked my lender about this, her reply was that there's a consumer FICO and a lender FICO that is usually much lower.   Last July I noticed the same thing, but I was going off of Credit Karma's score, so I assumed that was where the gap in my score was coming from.  This time, however, I checked my FICO because its a free perk from my credit card company.  It seems like it would be in the best interest for the lender to find a low FICO score to ensure a higher interest rate.  Can anyone offer advice? 

Are you sure it's your FICO score, or your Experian credit score?  They are different.

Yes, and your lender was probably speaking of mortgage credit report which is an updated credit report asking creditors for current data. :)

Also there are multiple FICO Scores. You have a different score for a mortgage than you do for a car or credit card.  I don't know how much they vary but they are different scores 

Thanks Bill and Ned.  I have done quite a bit of research in my quest to be a property investor and I had never come across any information about there being over 40 different FICO scores.  So I had to check with the experts here at biggerpockets.  Thanks again.  

There are consumer FICO scores and lender FICO scores that differ by product (car, credit card, mortgage etc.) FICO finally decided to reveal those other scores when purchasing their score product direct from them. Secondly, note that FICO also updates their algorithms, changing what factors have more or less weight. They push out the new update/version, but some lenders are still on the older versions, which may or may not benefit you. 

For example in recent months, FICO decided to lessen the impact of medical collections, really minimizing the damage a collection can do to a score. Your personal FiCO score will reflect that change now, and FICO also pushed out the new lender versions ( I think it's ver. 8 now) but a lot of lenders are still using the previous versions as they are slow to adopt algo changes.

Hope that helps.

@KJ D'Costa   good point, I got an email a few months ago that my score had gone up 10 points due to the new algorithm.

This is excellent information, KJ.  I wonder what are the most important factors that determine a mortgage FICO.

It's too bad this information wasn't more transparent.  It seems you have to pay a bunch of money to see your scores and you don't get to see all of them.

I agree, Dawn.  And I think it's mighty convenient that a mortgage FICO is considerably lower than other FICO scores.  This causes the buyer to qualify for higher interest rates. 

@Bridgette B. (Mrs. Roeper?! Funny.) 

I found this from a news site:

"For mortgage lenders, there is the FICO Mortgage Score. The FICO Mortgage score places an emphasis on how you've handled property in the past. This includes all public property records, rental history and evictions, previous mortgages and property tax payment records. By placing a strong focus on the most relevant parts of your credit history, the lender can determine if you are likely to manage your mortgage responsibly in the future."

I think it's a bit bogus, because they are not analyzing your debt repayment habits in a holistic manner, but this is one thing that none of us can do anything about...other than circumventing traditional lending.

@Dawn Anastasi What I find particularly galling is that you have to pay a nice bit just to see information about yourself and a credit report doesn't reveal your score. You need to pony up more for that. And even more for all three. Whoever cooked this up is brilliant. And FICO just recently starting revealing the multiple scores based on lender type. So at least there's that. But I guarantee that there are countless borrowers who are shocked at the higher rates they're getting, and don't think to ask about the scores their lenders are actually looking at. 

I think (The only place you can purchase true Fico Scores) will actually show you the different scores for the different industries now.  You will have scores based off of each of your three credit reports (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) but now instead of just giving you one for each, they will give you the auto, credit card, consumer, mortgage lender scores.

So now they will give you for Experian

Fico Score 8 (Most Widely used Version)

Fico Score 2 (Used primarily in Mortgage lending)

Fico Auto Score 8  (Auto Lending)

Fico Auto Score 2 (Auto Lending)

Fico Bankcard Score 8 (Credit Cards)

Fico Score 3 (Credit Card Lending)

Fico Bankcard Score 2 (Credit Card Lending)

I happen to get my scores exprian score ranges from a low of 751 for Fico Score 3 to a high of 825 for Fico Bankcard 8.  

Equifax and Transunion actually had different scoring algorithims as well....if you just go to you can buy your credit scores there to compare them all.

Originally posted by @Bridgette B. :

This is excellent information, KJ.  I wonder what are the most important factors that determine a mortgage FICO.

 Hey Bridgette,

The rating is actually the "FICO Mortgage Score 1.0" and is based on traditional information as well as financial and property data supplied by CoreLogic. It is very similar in terms of rating scale (350-850), but is optimized for long term debt, as mortgages are generally 20-30 years, there is a difference between paying off a 5 year car loan, and paying off a 30 year mortgage. FICO also has BankCard, Auto, and retail banking adjusted score models. 

When you check Experian/Equifax/Transunion sites they are generally showing FICO scores. FICO stands for Fair Isaac & Co, and that name is synonymous with credit score because it is the oldest and, generally, the most respected. When you check your scores via Credit Karma or other 3rd party websites, they are generally showing your VantageScore 3.0 score, which is basically a different score model from a different company. Just like anything in life you pay a premium for premium service, if you want to use the FICO score model, it will cost you more. This is why the free and low cost credit sites will use VantageScore 3.0 which is much cheaper from a business perspective.

There is a misconception that credit scores are universal, or regulated, or have rules in some way. They don't, the bottom line is there are several companies, and several scoring models that may be used, so you my see some fairly wild differences based on what score model your lender is using. 


My credit score was higher when I had a negative net worth, didn't own any property and didn't know what I was doing.   


Thanks Joe, Russell, Adam and Frank.  I knew I came to the right place for answers about FICO scores.

KJ, I guess I'll just jump through "the man's" hoops and play the game.  It is nice to know the rules of the game.  Thanks!

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