Social media, credit scores link overblown

Email to a Friend

You might have heard that a few lenders and credit-reporting agencies now evaluate your social-media activity to determine your creditworthiness, but credit experts say such headlines aren’t likely to apply to you.

Three lending startups—Kabbage, Kreditech and Lenddo—say their software evaluates creditworthiness by finding out whether you use social media to associate with people who have a low credit score. However, the startups have little to do with everyday consumers; according to their own descriptions, they primarily lend to small businesses and people who are outside of the United States.

Consequently, Gerri Detweiler, who is the director of consumer education at Credit.com, which is a credit education site, says the evaluations are unlikely to affect your credit scores. John Ulzheimer, who is a consumer credit expert at CreditSesame.com, which helps consumers to evaluate credit and lending options, agrees. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act requires U.S. lenders to use information that’s derived empirically and is statistically sound, he says. “I think a bank would be out of their mind to use social-media data for anything other than marketing” because of the penalties that it would face, Ulzheimer says.