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Americans’ Credit Scores Are No Longer Totally in the Toilet — Dollars and Sense

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Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

The economy may still be trying to get back on its feet, but new data suggest that while it was down, some people actually took the time to get their financial act together by tightening up their credit scores.

As it stands, the American population now has 1.4 million fewer people taking up residence in the bottom tier of the scoring range, with only 14.2 percent of would-be borrowers hanging out in 300-549 credit purgatory range, according to FICO, the godfather of credit scoring.

Financial experts say the reason for this upsurge in responsible consumer finance is likely twofold. One reason is because those who were buried in debt before the economy buckled are now armed to the teeth with cautionary tales and newfound financial wisdom, with fear of the bottom dropping out completely helping to refurbish their scarred credit scores.

The second reason is many people just gave up trying to borrow money during the recession because they grew tired of being turned down by idle creditors. In turn, there was not much new consumer credit information reported, and therefore, no new credit scores produced by FICO. People just sort of became ghosts in the system.

Experts say that the majority of those currently dealing with poor credit are those with extensive credit issues like bankruptcy, defaults and high debt.

However, more of the population has joined the ranks of the near-perfect and perfect score club, with nearly 19 percent of consumers currently having scores between 800 and 850.

Overall, experts say that consumer credit scores are getting better across the board simply because more people tightened up the majority of their financial shortcomings during the recession and learned to live without overextending themselves.


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