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Speaking with my mother frequently provides me with inspiration in how to explain FICO® Scores to people who are not as familiar with it as I am. In a recent conversation, my mom mentioned that she saw FICO on the news and the story was related to our newest scoring model, with a headline that the newest FICO® Score version could result in consumer scores changing. During our call, my mother asserted that she checked her FICO® Score at her credit union and that it hadn't changed. She was satisfied with this conclusion, but I was not and was eager to share more about the impact of a new FICO® Score version.
When a new iPhone is released, and there's a significant improvement in the camera – that doesn't mean the iPhone in your pocket will also have that feature. You have to actively switch to a new model. Same rings true with FICO® Scores. If you want to see your FICO® Score calculated on the newest model – you'll have to get it from a source that has switched to the newest version.
Now, you may be thinking, there are some iPhone features that can be upgraded with operating system updates. This is also true for FICO® Scores. When underlying data at the credit bureaus changes – for example certain types of judgements were no longer reported – all FICO® Score versions were impacted. That's because that data (similar to the iPhone operating system) was changed and so the inputs to the FICO® Score changed.
But don't worry! Your "older" iPhone still works. Some people are early adopters, some fast followers, and some are in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mode when it comes to new technology. Lenders fall into these categories as well – for lots of reasons – when it comes to the newest FICO® Score adoption. Whichever FICO® Score version you have access to – from your bank, credit union or any other source is accurate and working still. The important thing is that you keep track of the data within your credit report and continue with positive credit behaviors.
My mother listened to my analogy but I'm not too sure it resonated with her. We concluded the conversation with her telling me that the newest iPhone is now available in green. I think I lost the argument this time. That's OK with me. I'll have plenty of discussions about FICO® Scores as soon as anyone learns that I work at FICO! I'll try the iPhone comparison on them too. While I thought my approach to compare FICO® Scores and iPhones was really clever – It was not all that unique, as the head of the FICO® Score research and analytic team also used the comparison in a recent blog as well. If you want to read his take on it – read on: https://www.fico.com/blogs/innovation-never-sleeps-why-we-redevelop-fico-score