A good credit history is crucial in today’s economy. Far more than just a number, a good credit score is a prerequisite for every day financial products and services like a low-cost credit card, a bank account or a car loan. Renting an apartment, paying for home insurance, signing up for utilities and even landing a job can also be affected by a person’s credit history – or the absence of one. A good credit score also makes the difference in accessing affordable financial products necessary to build assets such as getting a college degree, buying a home, or starting and growing a small business.

Credit building is a powerful strategy to help individuals and small businesses take control of their financial lives. It is critical to financial health, economic mobility, and sustained wealth creation. Although credit building is not always an obvious solution for people experiencing immediate financial stress, lack of or poor credit are drivers of financial hardship exacerbated by expense inequality. In addition to the implications for individuals, families and small businesses struggling due to no or poor credit, the health of a city depends ultimately on the financial health of its residents. The impact of credit stress on individuals affects their personal situations as well as those of their communities. Conversely, more financially stable households contribute to and are a source of strength for their communities.