Millions more Americans moved into the ranks of those with the lowest credit scores recently. According to FICO, 25.5% of consumers -- roughly 43.4 million people -- have a credit score below 600, making them a poor risk for lenders, the Associated Press reported. That makes it hard for these consumers to get credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.

Historically, this group has made up around 15% of consumers with active credit accounts.

FICO's analysis is based on consumer credit information as of April. It shows an increase of 2.4 million people in the bottom credit category over the last two years.

The top category has also grown. About 17.9% of consumers have a credit score of 800 or above, compared with a historical average of 13%. This is partly because the recession sparked some consumers to cut back on spending and pay down debt.

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w_diago

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