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Your Burning Credit Score Questions: Getting an 850, Women vs. Men, Why is it Called FICO?

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Flame_Giacomo_Carena_CCFlickrIs it really possible to get a FICO score of 850?

I must admit that I have personally never seen a credit report with a FICO score of 850, which by default means my own credit score is less than this highest score.  However, I do know that it is mathematically possible.  If you don’t have an 850 score, don’t sweat it (I don’t), since lenders don’t require an 850 to give the most favorable terms.

Who is likely to have higher credit scores—women or men?

This question surfaces quite frequently—but more in the form of healthy competition between spouses for bragging rights for the highest score.  The usual assumption is that the person with the highest income has the highest score (not true, by the way).   To be honest, I don’t know the answer to this question, since gender isn’t considered when developing or generating a credit score.  A key reason is that lenders cannot discriminate based on gender.  Interestingly, gender can be used in credit scoring models in other countries and it can be predictive of future risk.

Why are they called FICO scores?

The company that creates the FICO score was founded in the 1950s by two gentlemen named Bill Fair and Earl Isaac and the company was called Fair, Isaac Company at the time.  The FICO score was created in the late 1980s and eventually became known as FICO scores within the industry (the “F” from Fair and the “I” from Isaac and the “CO” from company or corporation).

Just imagine if they had named the company Isaac, Fair Company instead.  Would you instead have an IFCO score today?  Sounds strange to me!

Got a question about credit scores?  Send them in (light-hearted or serious), and we’ll address them as quickly as possible.

Image: Giacomo Carena, via Flickr.com

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