Beacon Scores are a perfect example of how confusing credit scores can be and just how many of them we have. Introduced in 1989, “Beacon” is the brand name for certain types of FICO scores based on Equifax credit reports. And there are at least seven versions:
- Beacon 5.0 Base
- Beacon 5.0 Auto
- Beacon 5.0 Bank Card
- Beacon 09 Base
- Beacon 09 Auto
- Beacon 09 Bank Card
- Beacon 09 Mortgage
Beacon 5.0 Base is one of the three types of credit scores that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac accept. So it’s the most common model for home loans. Beacon 5.0 scores are based on the FICO Score 5 model, which makes sense. But the Beacon 09 scores, which are only used in Canada, are actually based on FICO Score 8.
The real story, however, is the fact that we get as many as seven different credit scores from one credit bureau and one credit-score provider. And their nondescript names don’t tell consumers much about which companies are behind them. Further muddying the waters is the fact that Beacon scores have been replaced in recent years by new FICO score models that aren’t named for whichever credit bureau is used, particularly FICO Score 8 and FICO Score 9. Beacon scores are still common in Canada, though.
At the end of the day, all of this goes to show why trying to check a specific type of credit score is such a waste of time. There are a ton of different types out there, whose names may change depending on the marketing priorities of their providers, and it’s very difficult to tell which one(s) a given lender may use.
You’re much better off finding a reputable free credit score service, such as WalletHub, and devoting the lion’s share of your time and effort to actual credit improvement. That’s what will actually save you money, not a credit score with a certain brand name.
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