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More Americans' Credit Scores Sink to New Lows

Americans' credit scores are getting worse.

The latest analysis by FICO Inc., based on consumer credit reports as of April, shows that millions more Americans have credit scores that could prevent them from getting credit cards, auto loans or mortgages under the tighter lending standards banks now use.

Restricted access to credit is one reason for the slow economic recovery.

About a quarter of consumers - 25.5 percent, or nearly 43.4 million people - now have a credit score of 599 or below, marking them as poor risks.

That's a big jump over the historical rate of 15 percent of the 170 million consumers with active credit accounts (or 25.5 million people) falling below 599.

Yet, the number of consumers who have a top score of 800 or above has also increased in recent years.