What Is the FICO Score 8? (2024)

Key Takeaways

  • FICO Score 8 is a credit-scoring model developed by Fair, Isaac.
  • It is the model most widely used by lenders to help determine how creditworthy potential borrowers are and what interest rate they should be charged.
  • FICO offers multiple credit-scoring models, and there are many available through other companies as well, such as VantageScore.

Definition and Examples of the FICO Score 8

FICO Score 8 is one of many formulas created by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) to produce a credit score for individual consumers. Lenders and creditors will decide whether to loan you money or offer lines of credit and charge interest rates based on a number of factors, but the FICO Score 8 is widely viewed as a reputable source of credit assessment.

Even though it was released by FICO more than a decade ago, Score 8 is the version utilized most often by all three of the major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These for-profit companies, which are also referred to as "credit bureaus," compile credit reports on borrowers, and each one offers its own FICO credit scores based on the credit information it has available. Lenders look at a potential borrower's credit reports and credit scores to make decisions about mortgage, car loan, and credit card applications.


FICO Score 8 is a base score, which means that it is used to consider the risk of a borrower not making payments on any type of loan. Other types of FICO Score are used for a specific type of borrowing, such as an auto loan.

The FICO Score 8 model changed from the previous version in several key ways:

  • It pays more attention to high-use credit cards. If a borrower maintains a high balance and is close to reaching a card's limit, their score probably will be lowered more than under earlier models.
  • It is more forgiving of a single late payment in an otherwise solid payment history. However, it also penalizes more harshly for a pattern of late payments.
  • It minimizes any benefit from credit piggybacking or tradeline renting, the practice of paying a company to have yourself added to someone else's account—without actually gaining access to their account—in order to benefit from their better credit history.
  • It doesn't take into consideration debt collection accounts in which the original balance owed was less than $100.

How Does FICO Score 8 Work?

FICO doesn't reveal its exact methodology for determining credit scores. However, as with the previous version, FICO has said it gives the following percentage weights to the five credit criteria it uses in its Score 8 model.

  • 35% for payment history: Includes your record of payments on all types of loans and the amounts owed (and number of them) in any delinquent accounts.
  • 30% for credit utilization, or amounts owed: Includes such factors as the percentage of total available credit on all of a borrower's credit cards that is being used and the amount still owed on a loan paid in installments.
  • 15% for credit age, or length of credit history: Includes the age of your oldest credit account, the age of your newest account, and the average age of all of your accounts.
  • 10% for new credit, or recent applications: Includes the number of new accounts you have opened as well as the number of recent requests by lenders to review your credit reports or scores.
  • 10% for mix of credit: Includes whether you have different types of credit accounts, divided into revolving (such as credit cards and home equity lines of credit) and installment (such as mortgages and student loans).

Scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores being better. A score of 800 or more is considered to be exceptional. One from 740 to 799 is very good. One from 670 to 739 is good. One from 580 to 669 is fair. And a score of 579 or less is poor.

FICO and all three of the credit reporting companies can provide you with your FICO Score 8, though it's typically offered as part of a credit monitoring and reporting and/or identity theft protection service with a monthly charge.


Your credit card company or other lender may provide you with a credit score for free.

Alternatives to FICO Score 8

FICO Score 9 is a newer version of FICO's base scoring model. Lenders may also use a competing scoring model called VantageScore.

FICO released FICO Score 9 in August 2014. There are two big changes from Score 8: Model 9 ignores collection agency accounts that have been paid off and penalizes consumers less for unpaid medical collection agency accounts.


A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study found that consumers' credit scores had unfairly suffered from medical debt collections on their records, either because the consumers were still creditworthy despite the debt or because they had already paid off the debt.

The VantageScore model was jointly developed by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and released in 2006. VantageScore Solutions LLC, which is jointly owned by the three credit reporting companies, holds the intellectual property rights to the model and updates it regularly. The latest version as of August 2020 is VantageScore 4.0.

What Is the FICO Score 8? (2024)


What Is the FICO Score 8? ›

FICO® Score 8 is a base credit score that credit providers use to help figure out a potential borrower's credit risk. Your payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, new credit inquiries, and the types of accounts you have (your credit mix), are all factors that come into play within FICO® Score 8.

What is a good FICO 8 score? ›

FICO 8 scores range between 300 and 850. A FICO score of at least 700 is considered a good score. There are also industry-specific versions of credit scores that businesses use. For example, the FICO Bankcard Score 8 is the most widely used score when you apply for a new credit card or a credit-limit increase.

What is a good FICO 8 score to buy a house? ›

Generally speaking, you'll likely need a score of at least 620 — what's classified as a “fair” rating — to qualify with most lenders.

Is FICO 8 or FICO 9 better? ›

Which is better: FICO score 8 or 9? FICO Score 9 is slightly more forgiving than FICO Score 8 since paid-off debt in collections no longer factor in, medical debts are treated differently, and consumers get more help with their credit when their rent payments are reported to the credit bureaus.

Who uses the FICO 8 score? ›

And even FICO Scores come in different shapes and sizes. 1 Two of the most common are the FICO Score 5 and the FICO Score 8. Both are used by lenders to determine a prospective borrower's creditworthiness. But FICO 5 is commonly used in the mortgage lending industry, while FICO 8 is mainly used by credit card issuers.

How accurate is FICO score 8? ›

Lenders and creditors will decide whether to loan you money or offer lines of credit and charge interest rates based on a number of factors, but the FICO Score 8 is widely viewed as a reputable source of credit assessment.

What FICO score do car dealers use? ›

The base FICO score is also called FICO Score 8 or 9. It's not designed specifically for auto loans, but many lenders use it. It's a number between 300 and 850, and a higher score means that a person is more likely to make loan payments on time.

What credit score is needed to buy a $400,000 house? ›

Your credit score has less bearing on your ability to get a mortgage than you might think. The minimum FICO score for a conventional loan is 620. The best rate comes with a score of 740 or higher.

What credit score is needed to buy a $300K house? ›

What credit score is needed to buy a $300K house? The required credit score to buy a $300K house typically ranges from 580 to 720 or higher, depending on the type of loan. For an FHA loan, the minimum credit score is usually around 580.

What credit score is needed to buy a $500,000 house? ›

Mortgage lenders typically want to see a score of 620 or better before approving a conventional mortgage. There are government-insured mortgages if your score is lower, and if your score is 760 or higher you'll qualify for the best interest rates.

Which FICO score is most reliable? ›

The primary credit scoring models are FICO® and VantageScore®, and both are equally accurate.

What is the most common FICO score used? ›

For other types of credit, such as personal loans, student loans and retail credit, you'll likely want to know your FICO® Score 8, which is the score most widely used by lenders.

Is a 900 credit score possible? ›

Highlights: While older models of credit scores used to go as high as 900, you can no longer achieve a 900 credit score. The highest score you can receive today is 850. Anything above 800 is considered an excellent credit score.

What is the average FICO score 8? ›

The average U.S. credit score is 717 for the FICO 8 score and 700 for the VantageScore 3.0.

Which FICO score is used for a house? ›

While most lenders use the FICO Score 8, mortgage lenders use the following scores: Experian: FICO Score 2, or Fair Isaac Risk Model v2. Equifax: FICO Score 5, or Equifax Beacon 5. TransUnion: FICO Score 4, or TransUnion FICO Risk Score 04.

What does FICO score 8 mean on Experian? ›

The FICO Bankcard Score 8 is a FICO® Score that's created specifically for credit card issuers to help them understand the likelihood that a borrower will be 90 or more days late on a credit card payment in the next 24 months. The score has a wider scoring range—250 to 900—than the base FICO® Score range of 300 to 850.

What is a good FICO 8 score to buy a car? ›

There isn't one specific score that's required to buy a car because lenders have different standards. However, the vast majority of borrowers have scores of 661 or higher.

Why is my FICO score 8 higher than Credit Karma? ›

Why is my FICO® score different from my credit score? Your FICO Score is a credit score. But if your FICO score is different from another of your credit scores, it may be that the score you're viewing was calculated using one of the other scoring models that exist.

Is * 8 a FICO score of 600 considered good? ›

Your score falls within the range of scores, from 580 to 669, considered Fair. A 600 FICO® Score is below the average credit score. Some lenders see consumers with scores in the Fair range as having unfavorable credit, and may decline their credit applications.

Is a 699 FICO 8 score good? ›

Your score falls within the range of scores, from 670 to 739, which are considered Good.


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