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Consumer Briefs / LENDING

Credit scores are mystery to many

July 29, 2007|From Times Wire Services

A new study by the Consumer Federation of America and Washington Mutual Inc. found that fewer than 60% of Americans had obtained their credit scores, and half of those surveyed considered their understanding of the scores to be "fair" or "poor."

The credit score most people encounter is a FICO score, ranging from 300 to 850. A borrower with a score of 700 to 759 could qualify for a 30-year fixed-rate home loan with a 6.6% interest rate. A person with a score of 620 to 659 would get a 7.7% rate on such a mortgage.

Consumers can obtain their credit reports for free at www.annualcreditreport.com, but they usually have to pay for credit scores -- generally $10 to $15 -- from major credit agencies.

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