Pros and Cons of Social Media Credit Scoring
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: September 26, 2017
While there is no universal credit score based on your social media presence, your activity on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms absolutely influences your creditworthiness.
This is not to suggest that social media influences your FICO score; it does not. (Though the folks at FICO have hinted the day could come.) However, there are a number of lenders that do, indeed, rely heavily on social media signals.
Bottom line, social media credit scoring is alive and well. Weigh the pros and cons, and choose the level of participation that works for you.
Pros of Social Media Credit Scoring
Alternative to Conventional Credit
If you have an excellent credit score, you may feel no need for other options. However, if you have a bad or limited credit history, social media credit scoring is a helpful alternative.
There are a number of lending websites that use a social media credit scoring model to make lending decisions, including Kabbage, Kreditech, Lenndo, Moven, and Zest Financial. Granted, your social media credit score may not be the only factor in their lending decisions, but you can be sure it weighs heavily.
You Have Absolute Control Over Your Social Media Profiles
Though the listings on your credit report are determined by your credit activity, you have no direct control over what actually gets reported to credit the bureaus and what does not. Plus, while there are steps you can take to have erroneous and negative listings removed from credit reports, you have no direct control over that either.
Your social media profiles are absolutely your domain. You have complete control over what they say, and what they don't.
It's your profiles that determine your social media credit score, so make sure you pay attention to what lenders want to see -- elements that speak to your character:
- Complete Profiles
- Job History
- Quality Connections and Posts
The lenders who want to lend you money based on a social media credit score must receive authorization from you before they can access your accounts.
Cons of Social Media Credit Scoring
Unlike the credit bureaus that are required to verify information that influences your Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax credit scores, the same is not required of lenders utilizing a social media credit scoring model.
Because the three major credit bureaus share their information with third parties. Lenders using social media credit scores do not, using them only in-house, so to speak, to make lending decisions.
Finally, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) states that a lender cannot make a lending decision based on a scoring model that is not "empirically derived [and] demonstrably and statistically sound." It is probably safe to say social media credit scoring has not met this criteria. However, lenders utilizing these scoring models seem to be flying under the radar because they do use other scoring models in their lending decisions as well.
Do lenders (and employers, for the matter) go too far digging through our private lives, publicly-viewable or not?
Pressure to Participate
Choosing to engage in social media is a choice, and not one that everyone wishes to make. If and when social media credit scoring goes go mainstream, it may demand your attention.
So, what's the verdict? Social media credit scoring— yea or nay? You decide.