FICO Score 9: what is it and where can I get it?
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FICO Score 9: what is it and where can I get it?

April 26, 2023
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In the world of finance, certain parameters come into play: lenders offer you a home or car loan, extend your line of credit, etc. These parameters let them know whether they trust you enough to grant you credit.

Borrowers have therefore developed several measurement systems to assess their risks. One of these is the credit score.

A good credit score can give many important financial benefits. For example, it can be used to buy a car or house, or simply to make payments at a restaurant or supermarket.

If you are looking for ways to improve your credit score, you have probably already heard about FICO scores. This article explains what a FICO score is, how it is calculated, and how to improve it.

FICO is a credit scoring model introduced by the Fair Isaac Corporation for consumers in 2016. The credit scoring model is updated from time to time. FICO 9 is one of the most recent scoring models.

If you want to get your FICO 9 score, you can get it directly from FICO. You can also contact some credit card issuers, lenders or credit counselors.

Understanding FICO 9

FICO 10 is the latest iteration, while FICO 9 is the penultimate version of the FICO scoring model. Its main function is to show lenders and homeowners, through scores, that you are able to pay your debts on time.

Although there are many credit scoring models, the FICO score is one to watch because about 90 percent of lenders use the FICO score to determine your creditworthiness.

FICO is calculated differently from typical credit report data, and some debts carry more weight than others. With its proprietary algorithm, it measures factors such as new credit, length of credit history, payment history, etc.

All these factors are fed into the FICO formula to produce a three-digit number, between 300 and 850, which represents the FICO score. For example, a score of 300 is the lowest. Therefore, it will not give you enough confidence to get large loans. A score of 850 is the highest, so being included in this category means getting the highest level of confidence from borrowers.

Therefore, the chances of getting a loan, even with high credit, are 100% guaranteed. Categories with intermediate scores are usually considered individually by borrowers, taking into account many factors, such as having already obtained a loan from a particular lender.

Because of different consumer trends and lending behaviors, the FICO scoring model has undergone several revisions, of which FICO 9 is one of the most recent. As a result, your credit score may be different depending on whether it comes from an earlier version of FICO or FICO 9. It is usually the lender who chooses which model to use.

Changes in FICO 9

FICO 9 was launched in 2014 and introduced significant changes in three main categories: rental history, medical collections, and paid collections.

While FICO 10 is currently the last FICO scoring product, FICO 9 will remain relevant for years to come, with key changes perfect for consumers. In addition, the FICO 9 score is a good starting point for those with low or no credit score.

Let's take a look at these differences and why they might be beneficial for you.

Rental history

If you rent your home, FICO 9 brings good news to your credit score! In previous versions, a good rental history did not change your credit score, but it maintained it. It simply maintained it. In contrast, negative elements of your rental history, such as unpaid rent, lowered your credit score.

People who pay their rent regularly and on time will see their credit score increase with FICO 9. As we said above, this is a positive thing. As we said above, this is an advantage for people who are just starting out, as it is a free credit score as long as you pay your rent on time.

Remember that landlords are not required to record your rent payment history with the credit bureaus, so you should talk to them about this change.

Consider asking your landlord if he or she can forward your rent payments to the credit bureaus. Make sure you pay your rent on time and in full. This will help you improve your credit rating quickly.

Collect medical bills.

According to a 2014 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), medical debt has a significant and negative impact on consumer credit. In the United States, medical debt is one of the biggest challenges, along with student debt for higher education.

According to the CFPB, 43 million Americans have unpaid medical debt on their credit report. With this information, older versions of FICO are putting more pressure on consumers to be less forgiving of unpaid medical collections.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pointed out that consumers can be held liable for medical debt as a result of billing disputes between the medical provider and the insurer.

This means that consumers may not be aware of their medical debt until they receive a call from the collection service. As a result, consumers have to worry about their credit rating, in addition to having to deal with annoying phone calls from collection agencies.

If you are facing this pressure, do not worry. Fico 9 will definitely help you solve these problems. Fico 9 aims to lighten your workload by focusing less on medical collections in determining your credit rating.

Keep in mind that this does not mean that you no longer have to pay past or present medical bills. They still affect your credit score, but not as much as non-medical debts, unlike previous models.

Paid collection accounts.

The old scoring systems were not very consumer-friendly with regard to debt in general. Even if you have already paid and cleared your old collection accounts, unless you have taken active action to clear your paid debt history or waited 7 years, these accounts continue to appear and negatively affect your credit score.

With FICO 9, on the other hand, paid debts will continue to appear, but they will be removed from your credit score as long as they have been paid in full. Suppose, then, that you have a low score because of your current debt. Once the debt is paid off, your credit score will have a chance to recover, unlike before.

This feature is also present in the newer versions, FICO 10 and FICO T. This makes FICO 9 more flexible and convenient for customers who have a high level of responsibility for their debts.

Responsible and forward-looking customers can therefore benefit from this change in two ways. First, even if they have debts due to unforeseen medical or other recorded financial emergencies, consumers have the opportunity to improve their FICO 9 credit score. Therefore, they are highly motivated to apply for a FICO 9 assessment.

In addition, customers are motivated to settle their outstanding debts because, by doing so, they can improve their credit score for a debt that was previously collected.

Of course, this can often seem like a difficult task, but a good debt collection history is what leads to a better credit score, thus offering a better chance of obtaining a larger loan at a lower interest rate.

Which lenders have adopted FICO 9?

Although FICO 10 is the most recent version, not all lenders have adopted FICO 9. In fact, most lending institutions are still stuck with FICO 8. However, Tommy Lee, senior scientist at FICO, predicts that FICO 9 will be the basic model for credit scores in the years to come. Therefore, it is essential to learn and understand FICO 9.

Those who have adopted FICO 9 are

The most notable omission from the list is mortgages that still use FICO scores 2, 4, and 5. Regardless of the credit score model used by the lender of your choice, remember to follow basic rules, such as paying monthly payments on time and reducing your debt balance as much as possible.

Some lenders may use their own credit score model, so check it before applying for a loan. If you cannot find their templates, ask them how to calculate FICO 9. In most cases, it will be easy to explain. In most cases, it will be easy to find a borrower who will accept this scoring model.

What the FICO 9 score tells lenders.

With the FICO 9 score, lenders are able to assess the likelihood of repaying a debt. It is a proven formula that helps them manage consumer credit behavior, improve operational efficiency and comply with regulations.

In fact, it is one of the key factors when lenders decide to offer you credit or a loan. The calculations are not difficult to understand and perform, even if you do not have a strong mathematical or financial background.

If you need a loan to finance the purchase of a car in the next two years, a good credit score will be of great help, as the bank will be more than happy to help you make this important purchase.

It is therefore important to check your estimated or actual FICO score before applying for a loan or credit card. Try to keep track of your credit score on a quarterly or even monthly basis. However, calculating your credit score annually is essential for understanding and planning for the coming year.

Where to get your FICO 9 score

There are several ways to get your FICO 9 score. Some are free, some are not. Some are free, some are not. Some are free, some are not:

  • Purchase it from FICO.
  • has a free FICO score estimator; you can also get your actual FICO score for about $20 per report.
  • Check to see if your credit card company or bank allows you to view your FICO score. Keep in mind that only some banks offer this service for free.
  • You can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to obtain your FICO score for a small fee.
  • The open access FICO program: you can get your FICO score through a lender and/or credit counselor.

Try to do the calculations regularly. As mentioned above, this will save you time when planning your budget for the following year.

How to improve your FICO score 9.

Whether or not you are a reliable and responsible debtor, there will be times when you need to improve your credit score. Getting married, having children, going on vacation, and other things we usually enjoy require more spending from year to year. Do you want to improve your credit score? Don't worry. Here are some tips that will help you reach your goal:

  • Avoid late payments - Your payment history is critical in determining whether you are at credit risk. If possible, pay your debts on time. The later you pay, the more your credit rating will suffer. Schedule payments, keep track of expenses, and monitor your budget.
  • Reduce your use of credit - The regularity with which you use credit is also a factor in your score. If you can, try to maintain a credit utilization rate of 30 percent or less, as Experian recommends. Check your credit card balance each month. Compare how much you have spent with what is available on your accounts.
  • Keep track of your credit report - Keep an eye on your credit habits to know how to improve your spending. Also, pay attention to any irregularities so that they can be resolved quickly and do not cause your score to drop again.
  • Report rent payments - If you report rent payments, it will help you build your credit, even without a credit card.
  • Improve your spending habits - Try to pay the "right" debts and checks, including those for medicine, care, rent, utilities, education and other payments that are vital and a priority for banks and other borrowers.
Irene Scott
Written by
Irene Scott
I’ve worked for more than 5 years as a Credit Analyst and more than 4 years as an Internal Auditor for one of the leading global financial institutions. I have been exposed to the credit review process, various banking products, financial security topics, corporate governance, operational risk, and the internal control framework of a complex, multinational organization.