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Credit Score Basics: What Is a FAKO Score?

VantageScore and FICO Score are commonly known terms in the world of credit score reporting. But have you have ever heard of a “FAKO” score? FAKO scores are credit scores from companies that don’t rely on the same information or use the exact modeling as those scores that banks and other lenders use. But there is more to them than just “entertainment value.” Here is everything you need to know about FAKO credit scores – and whether you should use them or avoid them.

What Does FAKO Score Mean?

“Credit score” is a very generic term. While you might associate the term credit score with a FICO Score or VantageScore, the fact is that there is a variety of credit scoring models – with an equally varying level of accuracy.

Each credit score is based upon information within your full credit report, but how accurate the score is depends on the available information to the credit scoring model. Each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), for example, offer VantageScore, which includes an accurate assessment of your credit based upon their uniquely weighted model. The Fair Issac scoring model (also known as FICO) is another example.

FAKO scores are several credit scoring models that mimic a FICO Score but aren’t exactly as accurate. These scores are typically found with credit monitoring or advice sites, like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.

How Do FICO and FAKO Scores Differ?

The major difference between a FAKO score and a FICO Score is that many lenders rely upon FICO to decide an applicant’s creditworthiness. Because of this reliance, FICO is by far the best way to judge your credit health.

FAKO scores, on the other hand, are based on a variety of information from credit reports to provide a guestimate of a user’s FICO Score or VantageScore. Because the formulas aren’t an exact match for other scoring models, FAKO scores typically state they are “for educational purposes only.”

Should You Trust Companies That Offer Alternative Credit Scores?

Just because a credit score is for educational purposes does not mean it provides no real value. Companies that offer free FAKO Scores can help consumers identify trends in their credit reports that, in turn, can help them boost their credit score.

Credit Karma, for example, uses information from TransUnion to help calculate their credit score. This information can help users see areas where their credit is improving – and places where they might need to do some work. And, since every lender uses a different scoring model, FAKO scores might provide some insights that you might otherwise overlook.

Related Article: FICO® vs VantageScore® – How to Differentiate Two Credit Scoring Models

Featured image by Ray_Shrewsberry / PixaBay
About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.