Social media is becoming more and more a part of our everyday life, but could your social media life start to impact your financial life? It is starting to look that way.
Small start-up lenders that lend out smaller amounts of money are starting to look at different social media profiles to see if credit applicants are credit worthy enough, according to the Wall Street Journal. Even FICO, which is the company that supplies credit scores that are used for a majority of lenders, is starting to figure out how social media profiles can factor into your credit score, although they haven’t started using it as a factor yet.
Related: Best Credit Cards for 2014
So what exactly will the lenders be looking at to see if you are worthy of a line of credit or not? At this point, it could be anything you post to social media, but here are a few areas that they are already using:
How Lenders Could Use Social Media for Credit Decisions
Linkedin: Lenders can use the social network to check to make sure that you supplied the same employment information on your credit application that you have on your Linkedin page. If the application and Linkedin don’t match up, it can raise a red flag for lenders.
Facebook/Twitter: If you give away any information about your finances in a post, it can help lenders determine if you can handle a loan or not. If you are complaining you can’t afford something, it can send up a red flag. On the other hand, if you are bragging about a promotion or raise, it can actually help you get the loan you applied for.
Klout: If you have a high Klout score in financial categories like credit, credit cards or other lending categories, lenders might view you as a worthy candidate for credit.
Is Using Social Media for Credit Approval Legal?
Sadly, at this point in time, there is no law that says credit lenders can’t use the information at their disposal to determine your credit worthiness. Everything that you post to your Facebook page or Twitter feed is public information, which is also a good reason to keep your social media profiles as private as possible. However, as social media becomes more of a determining factor in our overall lives, there is no guarantee that social media companies will not grant access to companies like FICO to your personal information to help them determine your credit worthiness.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Credit Score?
On Social Media: First and foremost, make sure that all of your social media profiles have all of the privacy setting set as high as possible. This includes your Twitter feed, Pinterest page and even Instagram account. Any personal information that lenders can access could be used to determine your credit worthiness.
Know Your Credit Score: Keep track of your credit score. If you get denied for a line of credit or a loan, but you know your credit score should be high enough to qualify, you can ask the lender why you were denied and what outside factors were considered. You can access your credit score for free (seriously, you don’t even need to give your credit card information) at a site like Credit Sesame, which will track your score each month.