Types Of FICO Scores

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This article only refers to FICO scores.

You can view other credit score information in the relevant sections on our website. Click for more information on vantage scores or FAKO scores.

The FICO score is the most common credit score in the United States. It was first released in 1989 with FICO’s first consumer credit score in partnership with the credit bureau, Equifax and was branded as “Beacon Score” by Equifax.

Since then there has been four major revisions to the FICO score model. These are best known by the approximate years they were released: ’95, ’98 ’04 & ’08. Each of these revisions use a slightly different algorithm and thus produce different scores.

The ’95 model is no longer in use by any creditors but the other models are still used today (even though the ’98 model is 15 years old). This is because creditors don’t upgrade to the newer scores straight away, much like consumers don’t upgrade to the latest version of an operating system straight away with many windows users still using windows XP even though it’s three generations old (Vista, 7 & 8 all being newer).

Industry Specific FICO Scores

There are also several industry specific FICO scoring models that are released with each new classic or generic score. These are roughly known as: Bankcard score, Mortgage score, Auto score, Installment loan score and Personal Finance score. The main difference between these and the generic scores are the weighting they put on particular loan types.

For example an individual applying for a car loan will have their FICO auto score pulled by the creditor. This score will put extra emphasis on any previous auto loans.

Another key difference between industry specific scores and generic scores is the ranges they fall into. Generic scores usually fall between 300-850 whereas industry specific scores usually fall within 250 & 925.

To make matters slightly more confusing for consumers there are a total of three credit bureaus  (legally known as consumer reporting agencies) which all have slightly different versions of these models. This can cause consumers to have different scores from each of the three bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax & Experian) even though the data contained in the credit reports is identical.

In total each individual has a total of 49 FICO scores of these 5 are available directly to consumers , the full list can be found here. Below is a list of the generic/classic FICO scores, as well as if they are available to consumers.

Generic / Classic FICO Scores

FICO ’98

Transunion 1998 

  • Official Name: FICO Risk Score, Classic 98 (formerly known as EMPIRICA)
  • Common name(s): TU-98
  • In use: Yes
  • Available directly to consumers: Yes, through the myFICO website. Either through their FICO standard – TransUnion ($19.95 once off), FICO score 3 report view ($54.95 once off, also includes EX-08 & EQ-04) and FICO Quarterly Monitoring ($4.95/monthly, an updated score is provided every three months)

Experian 1998

  • Official Name: Experian, FICO Risk Model V2
  • Common name(s): EX-98
  • In use: No 
  • Available directly to consumers: No

Equifax 1998

  • Official Name: BEACON 96, this was developed in 1996 rather than 1998 like the other scores. Due to Equifaxs strong relationship with FICO after their initial partnership in 1989.
  • Common name(s): EQ-98 / EQ-96
  • In use: No, this version was officialy phased out by Equifax in 2005
  • Available directly to consumers: No

FICO ’04

Transunion 2004

  • Official Name: FICO Risk Score, Classic 04 (formerly known as Empirica)
  • Common name(s): TU-04
  • In use: Yes
  • Available directly to consumers: No, this product is not currently available directly to consumers.

Experian 2004

  • Official Name: Experian, FICO Risk Model V3
  • Common name(s): EX-04
  • In use: Yes
  • Available directly to consumers: No, this product is not currently available directly to consumers.

Equifax 2004

  • Official Name: BEACON 5.0
  • Common name(s): EQ-04
  • In use: Yes
  • Available directly to consumers: Yes, available to customers of PSECU for free.

FICO ’08/ FICO 8

Transunion 2008

Experian 2008

Equifax 2008

  • Official Name: BEACON 09 (named ’09 because it wasn’t adopted by Equifax until 2009)
  • Common name(s): EQ-08 / EQ-09
  • In use: Yes
  • Available directly to consumers: Yes, through the myFICO website. Either through their FICO standard – Experian ($19.95 once off) or FICO score 3 report view ($54.95 once off, also includes EX-08 & TU-98).

Which Is The Most Commonly Used FICO Score?

This depends on what loan type an individual applies for (e.g if somebody applies for an auto loan then the creditor is most likely to use the industry specific auto loan model whereas if somebody applies for a mortgage they’ll either use the generic score, installment loan score or mortgage score).

The most commonly used scoring model is the 2004 model (also know as BEACON 5.0 (Equifax), FICO Risk Score Classic 04 (TransUnion) and Experian, FICO Risk Model V3 (Experian). This is used by almost all mortgage lenders. In recent times creditors have been upgrading to the ’08 models with Citibank & American Express two well known credit issuers making the change.

We suggest signing up to myFICO’s score watch which will give consumers access to their EQ-08/09 FICO score for $4.95 as long as you cancel within the first 30 days. If you want access to one FICO score from each of the bureaus (TU-98/EQ-08 & EX-04) then their FICO score three report view for $54.95 is a great deal. You can also check to see if there are any promo codes currently available.

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Barbara Rearden
Barbara Rearden

what is a Fico V5 score?


First Premier gives TU 04 quarterly on statement


Two big mistakes in this article. There is no “FICO mortgage score” or “FICO installment loan score” in this world.


It is not true. There are both in this world.

Kristy Welsh
Kristy Welsh

This article is out of date. Myfico sells all FICO 08 versions of it’s score.




Equifax website offers Score Power ( Equifax credit report + generic FICO score, EQ-04) to consumers for a fee.


There are errors in this article. myFICO sells these generic FICO scores to consumers: TU FICO version 1998, EX FICO version 2008, and EQ FICO version 2004. 1/22/2014.