FICO Score Vs FAKO Score: What’s The Difference?

If you spend any amount of time around the consumer credit community, you’ll hear the words FICO & FAKO a lot. But what’s the actual difference?

  • FICO Score: a credit score that usually ranges between 300 to 850 (for the classic score, industry specific scores such as bankcard enhanced are between 250-900), used in the majority of lending decisions (90+%)
  • FAKO Score: is the name given to any score that isn’t a FICO score. Usually not used by lenders and often vastly different to a persons FICO score.

Not all FAKO scores are created equally though, some are in fact used by lenders (VantageScore being the prime example with 4-6% marketshare in lending decisions). Knowing your FICO scores is important when you’re about to apply for a big loan (e.g mortgage or auto loan) as it’ll affect whether you’re approved or denied and also the terms (i.e APRs) you’re offered.

[Read: How To Find Out Your FICO Score For Free]

Knowing your FAKO score can be useful to see if your overall credit health is improving or declining. It’s never worth paying for a FAKO score, but there is nothing wrong with sign up for one of the free credit monitoring sites such as: Quizzle, Credit Sesame or Credit Karma. It’s always important to remember that this is unlikely to be the same score a lender sees when they look at your credit application.

Do you have any questions about the differences between the two? Ask us in the comments.

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Julia George
Julia George

Where can a real FICO score be seen?


A variety of card issuers provide their cardmembers with a free FICO score. For example, my American Express card allows me to view my Experian FICO score for free, and is updated once a month.