What happened to FICO 08?

Well, it’s 09. Makes me wonder what happened to FICO 08. Reminds me of the nearby dirt lot with a weary-looking sign that reads “Luxury Condos – Available Spring 2006.”

Here’s the background: In 2007, Fair Isaac announced that they were reworking the math on their scoring model to be more lenient on people who make occasional financial mistakes, but harder on those who make repeat mistakes. The new formula was also supposed to address the issue of “piggybacking.” Piggybacking is a form of fraud perpetrated by people looking to improve their credit standing by unscrupulously using the role as authorized user to piggyback on a stranger’s good credit.

Apparently, some people were unhappy that the new formula would also stop honest consumers from getting credit for being an authorized user on another person’s account. An example of a credible use for this practice would be when a parent helps their child to establish a good credit history by adding him or her to an existing account as an authorized user.

The debate held things up. However, according to VideoCreditScore.com, Fair Isaac believes that they can figure out when someone is trying to piggyback on someone else’s credit score and will not allow those types of authorized users to benefit. That way, they can address the issue of piggybacking without yanking all authorized user entries. For more on this, check out this video titled FICO 08 Update.

In addition to the piggybacking issue, there has been some legal action between Fair Isaac and the bureaus. Fair Isaac claims that the VantageScore (created by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) harms the FICO brand.

So, where does all this leave FICO 08? I found this explanation following a Fair Isaac press release: Fair Isaac is working with the credit reporting agencies to make the FICO® 08 score generally available to lenders as soon as possible. It is scheduled to be available at TransUnion for customer testing by the end of January 2009, and at Equifax by second quarter 2009. For information on availability at Experian, please contact your Experian representative.

Wonder if they'll change the name to FICO 09...


Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.