FICO Score Definition - Credit/Debt

Your FICO score (pronounced FY-koh) is a branded version of your credit score developed by and named after FICO (formerly known as Fair Isaac). According to FICO, the FICO score is score most widely used by the nation's largest banks to make credit and loan approval decisions for applicants. It sells 27.4 million FICO scores a day and 10 billion each year and is used for 90% of all lending decisions in the United States.

The most recent version of the FICO score, FICO 9, eases the impact of medical debt on consumer credit scores. Not all lenders adopt the latest FICO scores at the same pace, so there's a chance that a lender you apply with uses a FICO score that weights medical debt more unfavorably.

FICO scores range from 300-850 and are calculated based on information in all three major credit bureaus' individual reports. Therefore, you have three FICO scores, one for each of the three credit bureaus.

Your FICO score is based on five key pieces of information: the timeliness of your bill payments, your level of debt, the types of accounts you have, the length of time you've had credit, and the number of recent credit applications.

You can check your FICO scores from the three major credit bureaus by visiting myFICO.com. Some credit card issuers - Discover and Barclaycards, for example - include a free FICO score with your monthly credit card statement.

FICO is also the name of the company formerly known as Fair Isaac who developed the FICO scoring model.

FICO offers other industry-specific scores to help lenders make better decisions. These scores are not available for consumer purchase and include:

  • FICO Insurance ScoreĀ 
  • FICO Medical Adherence Scores
  • FICO Mortgage Score
  • FICO PreScore