At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for


FICO is the most commonly known credit score among U.S. businesses and consumers. Developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation, FICO scores are used to rank an individual’s creditworthiness.

FICO scores are used by 90 of the 100 largest U.S. financial institutions and all of the top 100 American credit card issuers. The scores help businesses recognize potential risks and analyze consumer data in order to make informed lending decisions. Individuals can monitor their own FICO credit scores directly through the website, which also pairs consumers with appropriate credit card and mortgage lenders.

Determining a FICO score

A FICO score is based on five factors: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit. A variety of issues can affect your FICO score. Consumers seeking lending options can use the FICO Score Estimator to approximate their credit scores.

Other names for FICO scores

Within the three primary U.S. credit bureaus, FICO scores carry different names. Here are the most common alternative names for FICO scores:

  • BEACON Score (Equifax)
  • Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model (Experian)
  • EMPIRICA (TransUnion)

A consumer’s FICO score can vary between credit bureaus, based on each agency’s data.

Updated FICO calculations

The Fair Isaac Corporation has created five versions of FICO scores since its inception in 1989. FICO 08 is the latest model of the score. As of July 2010, more than 2,700 lenders were using FICO 08 to evaluate potential risks.

The Fair Isaac Corporation headquarters are located here:

901 Marquette Ave. Suite 3200

Minneapolis, MN 55402

To reach FICO about credit scores, consumers should call (866)406-7204. The line for corporate headquarters is (612)758-5200.