Do you ever look at people’s ever-growing number of Facebook (FB) friends or your own pile of online family and acquaintances and wonder what their purpose is?
You hear from only handfuls of them at a time, and your news feed is cluttered with folks who update far more than most of your friends. Unless you’re trying to get them interested in your day-to-day minutiae or some project you’re putting together, you’ve just been stacking those friends in a scarcely visible trophy case. Even with thousands of Facebook friends, it can get awfully quiet in the social networking world.
Maybe that’s part of the reason why some credit groups are trying to raise the stakes of your “friends” lists a bit. As reported by CNNMoney, lending companies including Lenddo and Kreditech are using the credit histories of your Facebook friends to judge just how likely you are to pay your debts on time.
While traditional lenders lean more heavily on credit scores based on payment history to determine an applicant’s worth as a borrower, that leaves out millions of people who don’t have credit scores at all. Your Facebook friends — whom Lenddo scans for payment and default data, which is then used to judge you by the company you keep — are just one of the thousands of points lenders are now using to give folks without credit scores access to the credit market.
Kreditech, for example, uses up to 8,000 data points when assessing a loan application. The German company culls data from Facebook, eBay (EBAY) and Amazon (AMZN), clocks the amount of time people spend reading over the application on its website and judges applicants harshly if they fill out the form in all-caps or no caps.
Kabbage, an online service that offers cash advances to small businesses, weighs applicants’ credit scores along with data such as PayPal and eBay order histories, checking the latter for just how long it took them to close a sale and complete payment.
That “big data” approach to credit is gaining some momentum. CNNMoney pointed out that Kreditech already sells its technology to national lenders in Russia and the Czech Republic. However, until the industry finds a way to stop social media users from gaming the system by unfriending deadbeats and stockpiling “friends” with sparkling credit scores, these new credit points just encourage users to keep padding their friends list for minimal payoff.
Story provided via MSN Money