NEW YORK (MainStreet) We all know that employers may cyber stalk you, but now creditors may do so as well. For a small percentage of lending companies, your Facebook status could be a great indicator of whether you are worthy enough to get a loan approval. And while every company has not jumped on the bandwagon, your social media interactions could play a large part of not just how popular you are, but how creditworthy you may be.
Who do you 'like'?
Companies such as Lenddo believe that social media tells a broader picture. Lenddo, a company based in the Philippines, provides loans to middle class individuals based on their social media interactions, such as Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. The company offers loans for education, healthcare, home improvement and for the purposes of funding a small business.
Using a Lenddo score, the company utilizes your social media connections to determine whether strong relationships exist. The stronger the connections, the better your Lenddo score and the more likely you are able to get a loan.
"In the emerging markets, where we operate, your social circle, educational, geographic, occupational and family is great predictors of both income and expenses," says Jeff Stewart, CEO of Lenddo. "We also ask them their income. We go to great length to avoid over indebtedness."
But all aren't convinced
While the trend is a growing one, many aren't jumping on the bandwagon. John Ulzheimer, a credit expert at Credit Sesame, says many mainstream lenders are not using it for credit purposes.
"There has been some noise that obscure lenders like LendUp and Kabbage are using it as a secondary tool behind other more traditional tools, like credit reports and credit scores, but they're extending tiny loans and not solely basing their decisions on social media," says Ulzheimer.
As of now, most creditors utilize the FICO score, which is derived from a person's payment history, amounts owed, debt to income ratio and other factors. Many argue this is the way it should be.
"Several things would need to happen before FICO would consider social media data," says Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer specialist at FICO.com The data would need to be objective. Most social media data today is subjective. Second, it would have to be verifiable and correctable by consumers."
Written by Kemberley Washington for MainStreet