Fed Study Estimates 60M Can’t Get Credit

The New York Federal Reserve reported yesterday that as many as 60 million Americans — possibly twice the number previously estimated — struggle to qualify for credit. Unlike the "credit invisible" population that often resorts to payday lenders and pawn shops, these individuals have adequate credit files but are turned down because of low credit scores, a maxed-out credit card, or late payments. According to the New York Fed, these borrowers tend to be rural residents with lower income and higher rates of joblessness. African Americans and Hispanics also reportedly have, overall, a tougher time qualifying for loans.

American Financial Services Association member companies offer safe, affordable forms of credit to all consumers, especially to those with damaged credit scores. Traditional installment loans, for example, provide a responsible form of credit for consumers whose only other option may be the local loan shark or payday lender. Installment loans offer defined payments, low fees and report to credit bureaus. Those who use traditional installment loans appropriately can effectively increase their credit score, and AFSA members are pleased to work with consumers to develop better credit.

The Federal Reserve has often noted the importance of financial education as a tool to help consumers lift themselves out of poverty and to qualify for better and more credit. The AFSA Education Foundation (AFSAEF) is committed to providing students of all ages with the fundamentals of money management. AFSAEF offers its free MoneySKILL program to students and consumers in all 50 states. Students at the elementary school level access grade-appropriate content in subject areas, such as income, expenses, saving and investing, credit, and insurance. The high school and college courses are designed to be integrated into course work on economics, business, math or personal finances.