Your Facebook friends could kill your chance of getting a loan

Lenders can at your social interactions to determine your financial risk level.


Kris Holt

Internet Culture

Published Aug 27, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 8:05 am CDT

Think the National Security Agency is violating your online privacy? Consider for a moment Lenddo, a micro-lending firm that announces to your friends and family on social media when you’ve defaulted on a loan.

Lenddo, in fact, is just one of several lenders experimenting with social media as a tool for analyzing your credit risk, according a CNN Money report.

“It turns out humans are really good at knowing who is trustworthy and reliable in their community,” Lenddo CEO Jeff Stewart told CNN. “What’s new is that we’re now able to measure through massive computing power.”

Other companies roll in data from eBay, Amazon, and PayPal. German firm Kreditech also tracks whether you’re actually reading information about the loan on its site. If you do, you’re a little more likely to get a loan. On the other hand, if you fill your application in all caps or with none at all, you’ll have a lower chance of getting credit.

Lenders use social data to figure out whether to dish out loans to businesses, too.

“Someone who’s paying attention to Facebook and Twitter channels to deal with customer service is more likely to be on top of other parts of their business, too, like inventory and shipments,” said Marc Gorlin, chairman and co-founder of Kabbage. That company provides cash advances to small businesses after first examining their online sales and delivery stats.

Various industries are crunching huge amounts of data to find out more about you. Barack Obama‘s 2012 election campaign team used big data to figure out campaign strategy and target voters, for instance. But not everyone is convinced it the practice effectively determines someone’s credit worthiness.

One credit expert said a person’s online activity doesn’t necessarily indicate whether they’ll pay back their loan in good time. Savvy loan seekers could also game the system by exercising tight control over their Facebook and Twitter activity.

Tricking a credit score is much harder. That rating involves a number of factors calculated over a long period. Still, for those struggling to find a loan, it must be heartening to know that you can better your chances by just dumping some Facebook friends.

Photo via thomashawk/Flickr

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*First Published: Aug 27, 2013, 12:11 pm CDT