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Q: I’ve heard of a FICO credit score, of course, but I’ve also heard the term FAKO score too. What is the difference?
A: A FAKO score is a term for any credit score that isn’t a FICO score. It’s not an official name; it’s just a name that’s caught on in popular use. As you may be able to guess, it’s a combination of the words “FICO” and “fake.”
FAKO scores include the scores that the credit bureaus give you access to on their websites, either for a cost or with a trial enrollment in their credit monitoring services. FAKO scores are usually easier to come by than FICO scores, with some credit bureaus and sites like www.creditkarma.com offering them for free.
The different types of FAKO scores include Experian’s PLUS score, the Vantage Score, which is used by all three credit bureaus, and a few other types of scores. These scores come from the same information as FICO scores, which is found on your credit report, so they should be a good estimation of your FICO score, but due to slightly different methods used to determine the scores, there will be some differences.
FICO scores are the ones that banks and credit card companies look at when giving you a loan or a card. Usually FAKO scores will be somewhere near your FICO scores, so they can help you know what ball park your score is in, and there are many places where you can get these scores for free.
Unfortunately, however, sometimes your FAKO score will differ wildly from your FICO score, by as much as 100 points or more. FAKO scores may be okay if you are curious about your score, but if you are planning on applying for a loan, spend the money to check your FICO score at www.myfico.com.