What does FICO® Score 8 mean?

Learn more about FICO Score 8, how it is used by businesses and how it impacts consumers.

You may know that lenders typically use credit scores to help them determine a potential borrower’s creditworthiness. And you may know that FICO and VantageScore® are two popular credit-scoring companies.

These companies have created credit-scoring models. They also regularly release different versions, like FICO Score 8—one of the most widely used credit scores, according to FICO. Read on for more information about it.

What is FICO Score 8?

FICO Score 8 was launched in 2009. It’s one of FICO’s base credit scores, which means it isn’t designed for a certain type of credit. Like other base credit scores, the scores range from 300 to 850. And like FICO’s other base credit scores, Score 8 is intended to determine the likelihood that a borrower will pay back a loan. 

Why businesses use FICO Score 8 for lending decisions

Since FICO Score 8 was launched, two newer versions of base scores—FICO Scores 9 and 10—have been released. However, FICO Score 8 remains one of the most widely used FICO credit scores, according to the credit-scoring company.

Businesses choose which type of credit scores they use when making lending decisions. And using FICO Score 8 might make the most sense for them because of the criteria it takes into account. 

How FICO Score 8 is different from other FICO Score versions

When FICO Score 8 was released, it included several changes from previous base FICO Score versions, including these:

  • High credit utilization ratios could affect your score more. 
  • A single late payment may not hurt your score as much. 
  • Collections accounts are ignored if the original balance was under $100.

When FICO Score 9 became available in 2016, it introduced changes like these: 

The FICO Score 10 suite added a new base FICO Score 10, which builds off of previous versions, and FICO Score 10 T, which incorporates your credit trends. 

FICO also has industry-specific scoring versions, like FICO Auto Scores and FICO Bankcard Scores. These versions build on the base score versions. And the scores range from 250 to 900, instead of the base models’ range of 300 to 850. 

Which credit score matters most?

While FICO Score 8 is one of the most widely used FICO scores, creditors can choose from a variety of credit-scoring models and versions. When you’re looking for a new credit card or loan, for example, the score that matters most is the one the creditor will use to evaluate your application. 

You might not know which model the creditor will use, but it’s helpful to know that credit scores are generally calculated using information from your credit reports. So you should focus on using credit responsibly over time. A long credit history filled with consistent on-time payments and a low credit utilization ratio could help you build and maintain good credit.

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