what’s the difference between FICO score and credit score? Also, what is the rental score landlords look for when they do a background check? How is that different?


I keep getting experian notifications that my fico score is ___. But then i look on google and it’s essentially, the same thing? But my credit score is lower than my FICO score?

In: 1

It’s the same thing. There are 3 different credit reporting agencies and they don’t always give you the same score, so your credit score isn’t lower than your FICO score (impossible because they’re the same thing), you’re just seeing reports from more than 1 agency. It’s also the same thing landlords check when they run your credit.

A credit score is basically a measure of how risky it is to lend you money. It’s calculated based on information in your credit reports. The higher your score, the safer you’re perceived to be. There are countless credit scoring formulas, but the ones used most often by lenders are from a company called FICO. So a FICO score is a specific kind of credit score.

Because there are different scoring models, the scores you get from different places will vary. There are even multiple varieties of FICO scores, which give different weights to different factors. The scoring formula used for mortgage approvals, for example, will be different from the version used for the free FICO score you get from your credit card company.

So you don’t have “a credit score,” you have multiple scores, many of which you won’t be able to see. In general, though, if your credit is good, all your scores will be good. This is one reason why obsessing over 10-20 points worth of score is a waste of time.

Because credit scores supposedly reflect how well you can be trusted to pay money that you owe, landlords will often check your credit before renting to you. If they see a history of unpaid bills that have gone to collections, they’ll be unlikely to want you as a tenant. Some employers also check your credit — if you’re deep in debt and behind on bills, you’re less likely to get hired as a bank teller.

Credit score is the general term, FICO (from Fair Issac), is one particular credit score. Vantage is the other most common one. And these score providers actually have different versions that are used by different types of lenders, so the score a car dealer might pull for an auto loan will be slightly different from one pulled to issue credit card.