FICO Score vs. Credit Score: Are They the Same Thing?

If you’re trying to get a handle on your financial life, then you’ve probably heard about credit score, FICO score, credit mix, and definitely credit debt. We get it; a lot is going on there. Today, let’s focus on your FICO score. 

Is your FICO score the same as your credit score? Yes! At least, in a way, it is. When it comes to FICO score vs. credit score, there’s actually no “versus” here at all. Your FICO score is one of your credit scores, along with your VantageScore 3.0.

Still confused? We’ll explain.

What to Know About FICO Score vs. Credit Score

A credit score is a number that lenders use to determine your creditworthiness. And, sometimes, you’ll even find that employers, landlords, and quite possibly your partner even need access to your score. 

Credit reporting agencies compile data to determine your credit score. The three credit reporting agencies are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. That means you could have varying scores, as not all lenders and institutions report to all three credit reporting agencies. Then, companies like FICO offer different credit scoring models.

FICO is one of the most widely-used credit scoring models, and it’s also one of the oldest as it dates back to 1989. You’ll find that if you’re applying for a mortgage loan or any other type of large loan, the lender’s very likely to check out your FICO score. There’s even something called a FICO Auto Score.

So, when it comes to your FICO score vs. credit score, it goes like this: a FICO score is a credit score, but not all credit scores are FICO score.

What is the FICO Score Credit Range?

While most credit scores range anywhere from about 300-850, each credit scoring model not only calculates scores differently but also categorizes the credit ranges a bit differently. The FICO Score 8 looks like this:

  • POOR: 579 and below
  • FAIR: 580-669
  • GOOD: 670-739
  • VERY GOOD: 740-799
  • EXCELLENT: 800 and above

To give you something to compare this with, at Float, we use information reported from Equifax and your Vantage Score 3.0 to pull up your credit rating. On the Float credit app, the credit ranges look like this:

  • NEEDS IMPROVING: 300-499
  • NEEDS LOVE: 500-600
  • GOOD: 601-660
  • GREAT: 661-780
  • OUTSTANDING: 781-850

While the range is less important than the actual score itself, it serves as an indicator you can use to gauge where you’re at.

How Are FICO Scores Calculated?

Vantage Score 3.0 and FICO scores are calculated differently. This means that they assign different levels of importance to the varying factors that affect your credit score. The FICO score is calculated similarly to a Vantage Score 3.0, but the percentages look slightly different.

  • Payment History = 35%
  • Amounts Owed = 30%
  • Length of Credit History = 15%
  • Credit Mix = 10%
  • New Credit = 10%

When comparing your FICO score vs. credit score from another scoring model, you’ll notice that they look at the same areas. Payment history and the amount you owe on your accounts are usually the two most important factors, followed by the length of your credit history and credit utilization rate.

Why is Your FICO Score Important?

In general, credit scores are essential as they allow you to access not only credit cards and loans but also great rates on both. While you might be able to access a mortgage loan with a fair credit score, you’ll likely get stuck with a higher interest rate on that loan than you would if your credit score was excellent. That can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

And, because the FICO score is the most widely used in determining your creditworthiness, it’s important to pay attention to this score as part of your comprehensive credit monitoring.

Working towards improving your credit score can help you unlock better loan rates, higher credit limits on your credit cards, credit cards with better rewards, and even help you land a higher-paying job (yes, employers and landlords can check your credit score, too).

Learn How to Check Your Credit Score

Let’s recap what we learned about the FICO score vs. credit score. They’re basically the same thing. Your FICO score is a type of credit score, but there are others you can check as well, and lenders probably will, too.

Monitoring changes in your credit score is one of the most effective ways to see how the changes you make in your financial habits affect your credit rating. Not sure how to check your credit score?

Just download Float. We’ll never share your information with anybody you don’t give access to, but if you’d like to share your score or even credit range with a partner, family member, or friend, you can do that, too.

Share this Post