According to a recent survey by American Consumer Credit
Counseling, a small percentage of Americans have consumer credit scores high enough to be considered for important purchases such as mortgages.
Specifically, 18 percent of the more than 800 consumers polled said they had credit scores above 700 - creditors typically reserve the best deals for people with scores above 720. What's more, about 40 percent reported subprime scores - or those below 620 - making them more susceptible to high interest rates. About 20 percent had scores below 580, which would make it difficult for them to qualify for any sort of loan, mortgage or line of credit. "Nearly four years of economic sluggishness has taken a toll on people’s household finances, and it shows in their credit scores," said Steve Trumble, president and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. "Banks are lending again ... But the lending standards are tougher than ever, so having a clean financial profile and a good credit score is critical." Researchers also found that 17 percent of those polled didn't know what their credit score was. This may mean they're unaware of what could hurt their score as well. According to the Fabulous & Money Savvy blog, poor behaviors include opening a pre-approved credit card, missing a payment, closing a card and using a card as an emergency fund.