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(score lore) Credit score myth 9: 1956

Urban legend that FICO credit scores have existed since the 1950s

| By Greg Fisher

MYTH: "FICO scores have been around since the 1950s." - Chicago Tribune (amplified by Seattle Times)

TRUTH: "Since the first FICO Score was released in 1989, we've validated various versions of the score." - Frederic Huynh, Fair Isaac

Happy Birthday, FICO scores, and Happy #EquifaxMonday, too! Everybody's watching, so celebrate, you two! How about a lost statistic: The median Equifax Beacon 5.0?

The Real, Big Credit Score: Is its median average some kind of big secret? After all, Beacon is the original FICO score brand, and that's what this 'big' event is all about!

California has joined the party, everybody. #FICO25Years The company now named Fair Isaac was started in 1956. It introduced a credit bureau risk score named FICO in 1989.

Some people who should know better conflate those two dates. They are old scores, but they aren't that old. Put numbers in your scribblings and you sound smart. But, 1956? Come on. Let's not get carried away. Did we even have computerized credit records then?

This page is one, big punch line. And, at the risk of creating more confusion, here's the sad list for the newest myth. If you're on it, say hello. What happens to your error?

And, don't worry. There's enough blame to go around.

Myth 9

FICO credit scores were introduced in 1989, not in the 1950s.

The statements below are false.

"The FICO score, last overhauled in 1989... Fair Isaac's basic approach to credit-scoring hasn't changed much since 1956." - Businessweek

"Since the 1950s, the FICO score has been the most common credit score." - Livestrong

Answer: The FICO score was developed by Fair, Isaac and Co. in 1956. - Los Angeles Times

"The FICO score has been around since 1956, and was the only credit score available until 2006." - Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (amplified by FASFAA)

"Most lending institutions continue to use the FICO Score as it has been around much longer, since 1956." - Investopedia

"FICO, which has been around since 1956, 'is still the most commonly used scale or scoring system,' says Steve Brobeck, executive vice president of the Consumer Federation of America." -

"Back in 1956, Fair Isaac and Company (hence, FICO) developed an algorithm to determine how risky it is to lend a person money. While the exact nature of the algorithm is proprietary, it is based on five categories in roughly these proportions: payment history (35 percent), amounts owed (30 percent)... " - U.S. News & World Report

"The oldest model, established in 1956 and updated many times since, was created by FICO." - ReadyForZero (amplified by LifeHacker)

"But is the FICO system fair? Can software developed almost 60 years ago accurately determine our ability to repay our debts?" #1501h - Forbes

"A: FICO is the brand name of a credit score calculation created by Fair Issac & Co in 1956." - NextAdvisor

"Fair Isacc developed the FICO credit score in 1956; it plays an important role in creditors' determination of your credit worthiness (and thus their willingness to extend credit to you)." - NOLO

The FICO score was created in 1956 by engineer Bill Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac. - Patch

"The score will reflect a consumer's frequency of borrowing, delinquency of paying bills, and other 'file content' similar to the components of the FICO model in use since the 1950's." - Iowa State University

"The FICO score was developed in the 1950's as a tool lenders can use in determining the creditworthiness of the prospective borrower." - New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority

"A FICO Score or credit rating is a scoring method of determining the likelihood that credit users will pay their bills. Fair, Isaac and Co. (FICO) developed this in the late 1950s. Since then, the FICO score has been used widely as a reliable means for lenders and creditors to evaluate credit risks." - State of Ohio

"Developed by Fair Isaac & Company in the late 1950s, the FICO score has become almost universally accepted by lenders as a reliable means of evaluating a borrower’s credit worthiness." - Severn Savings Bank, FSB

"One company in particular, Fair Isaac and Company, saw the business potential of scoring and developed scoring products for sale to business beginning in 1950." - World Privacy Forum

Also, see

"Happy Birthday, Sandy Patterson" and "Credit scores in popular culture, Identity Thief"

"Two and Two: Credit scores fall story, July, 2010"

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