A credit score is a general term used for a number assigned to you based on your credit report. A FICO score is one of these scoring models and is a brand of credit score. What that does for the consumers is sometimes increase confusion. There are some things to understand.
The first thing is, if you are talking about credit scores, you are talking in general. It is a myth that there is only one credit score. There are several different scores that are available. Each of the three credit bureaus has their own. There is also a joint project called a VantageScore that was developed by all three bureaus in conjunction. These are only two of what could be a thousand different credit scores in use today by lenders.
If you are talking about a FICO score, you are talking about a type of credit score. It was developed by Fair Isaac and they have been in the credit scoring business since the 1950's. It is the most recognized face of credit scores. The history comes from the recommendation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to use FICO scores in mortgage lending.
To further complicate things, there are different versions of the FICO score. You will find you also have a Beacon score. This is specific to Experian, the largest credit bureau. This is the marketing name they use for the FICO score.
The scale of all these credit scores can also differ. For example, the VantageScore uses a credit score range of 501 to 990. The FICO score uses a range of 300 to 850. Your credit rating could vary based on the scale. Meaning, you could have a good rating with one and an average with the other.
The question for consumers is which credit score should I worry about. It could be a question of what model is the lender using, but the starting point is your FICO score. This is the market leader and is often used in the majority of mortgages. It could also be the basis of many of the other scores. You should also get a score based on all three credit reports. You will find that the scores are different on each. This is because of reporting by your accounts to one bureau and not the other. If you want your FICO score, you need to go to the source and visit Fair Isaac credit score website, MyFICO.com