There are a number of valid reasons why you need to keep watch of the people you add and keep on Facebook. While keeping your social media sanity intact is certainly numero uno on the list, a new cause for extra caution on the Facebook friend front has been discovered – according to CNN, more lending outlets are turning to checking social connections online to evaluate people’s loan eligibility.
Companies like Lenddo and Kreditech are now fully equipped to screen loan applicants through their social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. They keep a critical eye on the people you interact with online, and if any of your social circles are inhabited by delinquent debt payers, your credit score is significantly affected.
“It turns out humans are really good at knowing who is trustworthy and reliable in their community,” Jeff Stewart, a co-founder and CEO of Lenddo, told CNN. “What’s new is that we’re now able to measure through massive computing power.”
With the way most people overuse and abuse the likes of Facebook, it makes sense for these financial institutions to look at the readily available social data to vet their applicants – why not, when most of these profiles are available for free (and most of them have lax privacy settings)? One quick look into someone’s Facebook account can establish history that essentially takes a lot of time to build, and results come a lot quicker than your average credit check, which usually takes hours or even days.
Lenddo’s loan process takes only 10 minutes and promises to have a response within one business day, provided that the applicant submits a complete and detailed application that includes third-party access to social media accounts.
On top of using social media data, Kreditech also analyzes your geo-location, the amount of time a user spends to read loan information as well as how they fill up the application form – using all caps can apparently cause you to lose points.
The notion that your social media use (and that of your friends) can greatly affect your monetary endeavors is not a new one. Bill Clerico, CEO of payment processing service WePay, believes that with the massive amount of information to be had on various social sites infiltrating the Web, one’s influence and behavior online can not only greatly affect your credit score, it may even displace the current standards of computing it. “Many have argued that sharing so much personal info in such a public forum can leave users open to identity theft and fraud, but I’d argue that it may also help prevent it,” wrote Clerico. “Each year, fraudsters attempt to steal billions of dollars online. In today’s technology-fueled world, we can be smarter about the information we use to assess risk potential. A traditional credit score only shows a sliver of a person or business’ risk potential, but an online profile shows a more accurate personal history of verified social data.”
So what specifically are the types of things you need to be wary of? If you have any friends who’ve been in legal trouble, that won’t automatically hurt you – but if you’re often interacting with them it could. Obviously tweeting or Facebooking about drug use, booze bingeing, or unsafe driving isn’t going to make you look good, either. Making updates about money woes or poor financial choices (please don’t tweet about the child support you’re not paying or Facebook about the shoes you bought instead of paying your rent) won’t earn you any points.