Let’s be honest, many Americans may have some idea of who FICO is, but not everyone fully understands what FICO does or for that matter, how they do it. FICO was founded in 1956, and was originally called Fair, Isaac and Company. They are a data analytics company based in San Jose, California that focuses on credit rating services. FICO scoring models, which measures consumer credit risk, have become a fixture in the consumer lending arena in the United States. FICO produces several of its general risk and industry specific credit scores each of which is unique to specific credit reporting agencies. For example, in the auto industry you may see up to 10 different credit scores, 3 from Equifax, 4 from Transunion and 3 from Experian. Each credit reporting bureau utilizes multiple FICO formulas or formula generations. (FICO formulas are periodically updated, using new data or algorithms)
To give some scope on the issue, you can have up to 56 different credit scores –which will likely increase to 65 as FICO recently added 12 scores to the total. These multiple scores are reflected across several industries such as, auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, installment loans, and in some cases auto insurance.
To sum it all up here: for each credit bureau, take Experian for instance, FICO will generally provide consumer credit risk scores for a specific industry, but because models are constantly being updated, you’re likely to see up to 6 different scores for that one industry on the same credit reporting agency. Now, multiply that number by 3 reporting agencies, not to mention the various industries involved and you should have a sense as to why you don’t just have a singular “credit score,” you actually have multiple credit scores, plural.
That said, it should now make more sense to you that your FICO credit scores do not match and that whenever you apply for credit, depending on what the consumer product is, your scores will be specific to that industry.