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Everyone who uses credit knows what a FICO score is, but have you heard of a FAKO score?
FAKO scores are very similar to FICO stores in that they evaluate the creditworthiness of a person. But the term FACO (or FAKO) is used to indicate that the scoring system is not a Fair Isaac Corp (FICO) score, but rather a non-Fair Isaac Corp score.
In short, FAKO is a nickname that means fake FICO. Unfortunately, thanks to creative marketing, when people receive a credit score, they often don’t realize that the score they’re looking at in a credit report is actually a FACO score, rather than a FICO score.
Here’s what to look for, and how to tell if the credit score you receive is a legit FICO score, or a fake FACO score.
FAKO scores can come from several different companies such as TransUnion’s “TransRisk”, Experian’s “ScoreX” and ScoreX PLUS.
Those types of scores are less expensive to purchase than FICO scores.
TransRisk is a product of TransUnion, one of the major reporting agencies. According to the TransUnion website:
The TransUnion TransRisk Account ManagementSM Credit Score is provided to help you better understand how lenders view your credit report. It is not an endorsement or a determination of your qualification for a loan … TransUnion is not connected in any way with Fair, Isaac and Company; the credit score provided here is not a so-called FICO score. The credit scores of TransUnion may not be identical in every respect to any consumer credit scores produced by any other company.”
ScoreX and ScoreX PLUS by Experian promises to mimic the FICO information at a more affordable price. According to the Experian website:
These results demonstrated Scorex PLUS provided a stronger separation of good and bad accounts and classified more bad accounts into the worst-scoring ranges … Traditional risk models typically are unable to score a significant percentage of consumers due to insufficient credit information. With Scorex PLUS, almost all consumers can be effectively scored to rank order risk, thereby reducing the need for manual review.
It is hard to determine if FICO and FAKO companies score credit in the same way, as they keep their scoring rules secret. There must however, be some similarities in the way the scores are tallied because FAKO scores tend to be no more than 100 points off from FICO scores in either direction.
Which Companies Use FAKO Scores?
Landlords, employers, cell phone companies, landlords, and store credit card companies tend to use a local and inexpensive source to maintain a picture of your creditworthiness. Chances are they will opt for a FAKO score instead of the more expensive FICO score.
So, should you take the time to monitor my credit score with every single FAKO vendor plus FICO too?
I don’t recommend that you worry much about your FAKO score if you are already monitoring your FICO score.
FICO is your legitimate credit score delivered from Fair Issac. Most credit companies (such as mortgage and credit card companies) use this score to determine whether to give you credit or not.” ~ The Credit Forum
In fact, 90% of banks use FICO scores when determining loans.
How To Monitor Your Real FICO Score
The most reliable place to get your real FICO score is MyFico.com. In addition to offering free credit reports and credit monitoring services, MyFico.com also gives advice on monitoring and correcting your credit report.
The site also helps you determine which loan you should get, if you should consolidate credit cards, and show you how much money you save by having a good credit score. Users can also enjoy the FICO forums where people can share experiences and advice about maintaining credit.
I have been a certified tightwad striving for financial freedom since I became pregnant with my first child — and I decided to find a way to stay home with him full-time. I enjoy sharing my personal experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.