What you like and who you “friend” on Facebook may influence your ability to get a loan — that is, if you apply at some of the newer online loan services.
As CNN Money reported Monday, loan startups such as Lenddo are beginning to use social media to assess an individual’s reputation, believing that who and what one likes might be an indication of their ability to pay back a loan.
“Little by little, the loan possibilities are shrinking for those without a large income or a loan credit history,” a video produced by Lenddo says. Which is why these companies are taking what they call the “old-fashioned techniques” of relying on the reputation of an individual’s social relationships to create a credit score.
But while Lenddo focuses on branding itself as a loan company willing to take chances on those who have proven themselves trustworthy to their friends, their ratings policy comes across to some as a flawed way to assess credibility.
“If you're friends on Facebook with someone who was late paying back a loan to Lenddo that's bad news for you,” CNN Money’s Katie Lobosco wrote on Monday. “It's even worse news if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with.”
Other startup lending companies, such as the German-based Kreditech, are looking at various indicators the Internet provides about a person’s reliability, including an assessment of social media relationships, PayPal histories and eBay user scores.
Possibly the oddest red flag that Kreditech looks for, according to CNN Money, is its unease for those who write in all caps. Filling out a loan application in either all caps, or all lowercase, apparently indicates to Kreditech that you’re less likely to pay back a loan on time.
“For now, many of these tech startups attract a niche group of borrowers,” Lobosco said in her article. But if the trend catches on, social media users will have to watch their posts more carefully. Whether or not you can afford a new car may depend on it.
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