KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (7/21/11)--Starting today more consumers will have free access to their credit scores. New rules require credit unions and banks to tell consumers their scores if their credit applications are denied. They will also have to explain other factors considered in the decision (WBIR July 18). Financial institutions will automatically send out "Risk-Based Pricing Notices” to members and customers who were denied loans. The notices will provide members with their credit scores, the agency that provided the score, how to contact the agency, and factors that may have contributed to a low score said Kimberly Bohannon of UT FCU, Knoxville, Tenn. Bohannon told WBIR that credit scores are somewhat proprietary, depending on the agency doing the scoring and the factors considered in compiling the score. Those are among the reasons they haven’t been easily accessible to consumers. The guidelines are meant to help consumers make better educated decisions about their finances, according to experts. All U.S. credit scores fall somewhere between 300 and 850, according to the credit information group Experian. The average American has a score of around 678. Most lenders consider anything below 620 to be subprime, or below standard.