Posted by Admin on 29th April 2011

Auto Lenders Use Special FICO Scores

Yet Another Score

As a follow up to our previous post (FICO Scores and FAKO Scores) where we chatted about the difficulty consumers have distinguishing between authentic FICO scores and the scores peddled by the bureaus and their offshoots, we thought it would be useful to bring up another score; one that is a legitimate FICO score, is in common use, and yet may differ from the FICO scores you can buy from MyFICO.com.

The FICO Auto Industry Option Score

When a car dealer or auto finance company runs your credit, they pull a unique version of the FICO score, one that has been created just for them by Fair Isaac. This is usually called the, “FICO Auto Industry Option Score”, or more concisely, the “Auto Option Score”. The Auto Option Score is a version of the Classic FICO score (the one you can buy at MyFICO) with additional weight put on your auto loan history.

The Formula

As with their other products, Fair Isaac does not reveal the formula, but we speculate that the Auto Option Score (aside from putting extra weight on your auto history) also shifts extra weight to your other non-auto installment loans, and possibly even considers your revolving balances in a different way from Classic FICO; we have seen several cases recently where the Auto Option Score has varied from the Classic FICO – where there is no auto history at all.

No Access

The Auto Option Score is yet another score that affects your life that you do not have access too. It is not as bad as not having access to your Experian FICO score, but unfortunate nevertheless. Only the auto industry has access to these scores. So what does it mean to you?

No Worry

In our opinion it is no big deal. If you are part of the Sky Blue Credit Repair program, everything we do is designed to improve your FICO score. Whatever we do (or ask you to do) will help your case whether you are planning to buy a car or a home. Focus on the basics of credit improvement and you will be fine. Whatever helps your Classic FICO will help your Auto Option Score.

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    6 Responses

  1. John says:

    This is an interesting subject. I read a post on the myfico forum, where someone suggested checking your classic FICO before shopping for your car. And then when the finance guy runs your credit ask him what score he got. If it is higher than the FICO score you saw don’t say anything. But if it is lower, ask him if he has a choice of using the Classic score, which many car lenders can also use. Seems like a decent strategy and a way to use the information to your benefit.

    • Admin says:

      Hi John, very good point. I’m not sure how receptive a finance manager will be to running a second score at your request, but on the other hand you are the customer and they should be eager to do the deal, so it may be well worth trying – especially given the fact that a percent or two on your car loan can really add up over 3 or 5 years! Well done!

    • Dora says:

      THX that’s a great answer!

  2. marc butler says:

    I recently tried to Co-sign for my son with Roadloans.com to buy a car for him (part of the Santander Group) with who I already have a car loan since this feb 2010…they would not give us a loan even though according to CreditKeeper my Equifax score is about 640…Roadloans sent me a decline stating my score was only 530 !!!!
    i quite sure if more of us understood FICO, then a lot more of us would have better credit…i work for very large used car dealer and see people everyday who have no clue how they have good,bad credit, or even how to begin repairing the once good credit they used to have!
    FICO should be helping more people help themselves…
    FICO is overly complicated and ambiguous and has far to much influence over peoples life’s!!!

    • Admin says:

      Hi Marc,

      You raise a couple of good (and even philosophical) points. In a perfect world there would be a universal standard for credit scoring, along with clear dissemination of information about its workings. Alas, this is not so. Quite the contrary! New “consumer” credit scores seem to pop up everyday.

      Often referred to as FAKO scores, these “consumer” scores are professedly designed for “educational” purposes and have no bearing on the scores lenders use when making lending decisions. The creators of these scores make millions, while unaware consumers continue to be blindsided by shocking differences between the educational score they paid good money for, and the FICO score their lender pulled.

      CreditKeeper is actually the least offensive of the bunch, usually coming in at a close proximity to FICO. The Vantage score is the most deceptive, reporting a range of 501- 990. Many consumers with FICOs in the 500 range are thrilled to see a Vantage score in the 700s. Unfortunately, that is a score that they cannot take to the bank.

      The 110 point difference between your CreditKeeper score and the score pulled by Roadloans is a bit unusual, but is probably because Roadloan pulled the “Auto Industry Option” score designed by FICO for auto lenders. It is a FICO score, but it is re-worked for the auto industry. Just another twist in the complicated world of credit scores.

      Marc, I am in agreement! And sympathetic to boot! But for now it’s every man for himself.

      Learn more about how credit scores work!

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