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Abstract

For most Americans, access to credit is an essential requirement for upward mobility and financial success. A favorable credit rating is necessary to purchase a home or car, to start a new business, to seek higher education, or to pursue other important goals. For many consumers, strong credit is also necessary to gain access to employment, rental housing, and essential services such as insurance. At present, however, individuals have very little control over how they are scored and have even less ability to contest inaccurate, biased, or unfair assessments of their credit. Traditional, automated credit-scoring tools raise longstanding concerns of accuracy and unfairness. The recent advent of new "big-data" credit-scoring products heightens these concerns.

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