Q: Does everyone have 3 different FICO scores, or is your credit score actually the FICO? Do I need all three FICO scores, or will they too be very close in range to matter?
A: Yes, everyone has three different FICO scores: an Equifax FICO score, an Experian FICO score and a TransUnion FICO score. This is because everyone has a credit report kept at each of the 3 different, privately-owned credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and Transunion – so you have a different FICO score for each credit report.
There are different brands of credit scores, and each one uses it's own formula to calculate your credit score. FICO is a branded credit score developed by a company called Fair Issac. It is a fairly popular credit score, and is often used by lenders. It is always good to know all three of your credit scores as they can vary substantially and you never know which one a lender might use, or they might use all three.
Unfortunately, the Experian FICO score is not available to consumers. The other two can be purchased through myfico.com. However, most other brands of credit scores are just about as good as the FICO brand. For example, the three credit scores you get from Identity Guard will very likely be extremely similar to your three FICO scores. And since these scores are based on the same three credit reports that your FICO score is based on, you can be fairly certain that any variation in these three scores will be mirrored in your three FICO scores. Regardless of what brand of credit score you are looking at, the key takeaway is the description given each score – usually these are excellent, very good, good, fair and poor.
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