What's Your Worth? : Throughline The credit score: even if you don't think much about it, that three-digit number can change your life. A high score can mean the keys to a new apartment or a new car, while a low score can keep you locked out of the American Dream. Around 40% of people in the U.S. have a low credit score or no credit score at all. So what happened? Today on the show, we talk with media historian Josh Lauer about credit's origins as a moral judgment, and how a tool intended to level the playing field has instead created haves and have-nots.