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Nonprofits innovate to help low-income people establish credit

In the past 15 years the ramifications of poor credit have grown, as credit score "mission creep" has set in, said Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst with the New York-based think tank Demos and author of the recently released report "Discrediting America." Credit scores determine not just the interest rates paid on material goods, such as a cell phone or car, but also the pricing of utilities and insurance. Approximately 60 percent of employers use credit reports to screen job applicants.