News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Jan. 20, 2014: You know that a picture of you doing a keg stand or holding onto your favorite bong could prevent you from getting a job, but many millennials are surprised to hear that their social media friend list can also compromise their chances of getting a loan. In cases of identity theft, your so-called friends could destroy your credit rating using just a couple of details from your profile, and a new spate of lenders are even using your friend list to determine your creditworthiness.
Working from the premise that humans tend to surround themselves with like-minded people, lenders like Lenddo (Lenddo.com) offer loans based on a special score, derived in part from your social network. If your friends have successfully borrowed money from and repaid money to Lenddo, it will boost your Lenddo score and make it easier to get a loan. If your friends tend to ignore their Lenddo bills, your chances of getting a loan funded decrease. While this gives youngsters without credit history a leg up in the lending market, it could set a trend that may make it harder for some consumers to get loans.
Companies like the German-based Kreditech (Kreditech.com) have taken the loan application process a few steps further. Rather than simply looking at your credit score and your application, this company uses thousands of different data points to build a comprehensive picture of your financial responsibility. The company weighs everything from whether or not the applicant uses all lowercase letters to fill out their application to the number of hours the applicant has spent researching the loan on the application site.
A purveyor of cash advances for small businesses, Kabbage (Kabbage.com) leverages the social media accounts of small businesses in a positive way. If you link your business’s Facebook or Twitter accounts to your Kabbage account, you get a bump in your credibility score. According to the founder of Kabbage, business owners who are on top of their social media networks are 20 percent more likely to repay their loans as required, and that rationale fueled the company’s decision to make this connection.
Even if you’re not working with a lender who looks at your social media profile, your social media account could have a stunning effect on your credit applications. According to the BBB, identity theft can occur easily over social media, and once you’ve been victimized, it can become almost impossible to get a loan. According to LifeLock, the effects of identity theft can include false imprisonment, incorrect medical records, and other drastic effects. You can address this issue by leaving your name and date of birth off of your profile, or you can just keep a close eye on your friends list and keep your privacy settings high.
Beyond the Network
According to CNN, many lenders aren’t convinced about the new trend toward loan approval or denial based on social media contacts. These lenders claim that the information provided by FICO is enough to determine credit worthiness. While savvy consumers could manipulate their friend list to look more financially stable, it is very difficult to manipulate a FICO score. Whether your loan applications will be based solely on your FICO score, your friend’s list, or other criteria, still remains to be determined.