Credit Advice

The difference between FICO and Fast StartSM


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Credit Advice

The difference between FICO and Fast StartSM

Dear Experian,

Please tell me the difference between the Fair, Isaac score and the Fast StartSM score.


Dear PHI,

One of the greatest myths about credit scoring is that there is one score, and it is called "the FICO" score, or "the Fair, Isaac score." That misunderstanding causes a great deal of confusion.

Fair, Isaac Corporation is a company that produces credit scoring systems for lenders and other businesses. There isn’t just one Fair, Isaac score. Any score produced using a model developed by Fair, Isaac Corp. is generally referred to as a FICO score, and there are many.

There are FICO scoring models designed for use by many different kinds of lenders and for different kinds of lending, called generic scores. There are also FICO scores for specific kinds of lenders, such as credit unions, and there are FICO scores for specific kinds of lending, such as auto loans or mortgage loans. There are even custom FICO scores designed for use by only one lender based on its business model and customer experience. Some Fair, Isaac models have brand names such as NextGen and the FICO Classic Score.

Fair, Isaac has competitors just like any other business. One of those competitors is Experian-Scorex, a credit score developer owned by Experian Global, and a separate business from Experian’s credit reporting company. The scores it produces are generally known as Experian-Scorex models.

The Fast StartSM score is the brand name of a credit score developed by Experian-Scorex. The Fast StartSM score is used by credit unions and other lenders, just like lenders use FICO scores.

So, the short answer is that any score produced by Fair, Isaac Corporation is called a FICO score. The Fast Start score is one particular credit score produced by Experian-Scorex, a competitor to Fair, Isaac.

It’s a long answer to a brief request, but it is important to understand that there isn’t just one credit score or just one credit scoring company.

Thanks for asking.

- The "Ask Experian" team

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