If you've been rejected for a car loan due to poor credit, you might want to apply again. The automotive credit industry increased the share of new car loans going to credit-challenged borrowers by 12.7% in the third quarter, a sign that lenders are loosening their credit criteria.
Millions of Americans are seeing their credit scores plunge. 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, and making it hard for those consumers to get credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.
How important is your credit score? Important enough, but some industry analysts worry that consumers focus too much on credit ratings when they have other, larger financial issues to consider first.
A new Federal Trade Commission rule is now in effect that will protect consumers who sought to take advantage of offers for "free credit reports," but were often misled into signing up for credit monitoring services or other products.