Do the Credit Bureaus Own FICO?

This is a very common myth and misunderstanding.  The credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, do not own FICO or the FICO scoring models.  They instead have an agreement with FICO, formerly Fair Isaac, to calculate credit scores using FICO’s scoring software and then sell and deliver them to lenders and whomever else has purchased them.  The perception is that because the credit bureaus deliver the scores to lender that they somehow own the FICO system.  FICO is actually a publicly traded company traded under the stock symbol FICO.  So, technically, you, me, and anyone else who owns FICO stock own a piece of company and the assets of the company, such as the scoring system.

The credit bureaus only wish they owned the FICO score.  If they owned it then they wouldn’t have to pay FICO a royalty and they wouldn’t have had to credit VantageScore as an effort to replace the FICO scoring system.

John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education for and owner of  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, credit score ratings, and identity theft. Formerly of FICO and Equifax, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  He is a weekly guest on FOX’s The Willis Report and is the credit blogger for the New York Times and  He has served as a credit expert witness in more than 65 cases and has been qualified to testify in both Federal and State court on the topic of consumer credit.

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