How your social media and contacts could cost you a cheap loan

Sarah Coles
Social media used in credit scoring
Social media used in credit scoring

Loan companies are keeping an eye on your social media accounts, call history and even your browsing history, and you might be shocked to discover the things that could deny you a loan.

See also: Are Sunderland residents the worst in the UK with their money?

See also: How under-30s are ruining their credit score

Loan and credit cards companies are interested in building as complete a picture as possible, so it was only a matter of time before they started to snoop into your life online. has been investigating common snooping techniques, and has produced an online tool so you can explore how you are being monitored.

"The way the credit industry uses data is changing," says, Alastair Douglas, CEO. "We believe everyone should have the best information available when it comes to credit eligibility scoring – and that means staying on top of the latest methods and technology."

Seven groundbreaking kinds of checks revealed by the site include:

1. Using social media updates to assess your personality
Hello Soda sells its analytical services to finance companies. It will look at your social media to better understand what you do for a living, your interests and your personality traits - in order to assess the kinds of risk you might pose. They're not only interested in what you say, but how you say it too, to assess the kind of person you are - and whether you're a good person to lend money to.

2. Social media mining into pay
The likes of Moven and Lenddo will go through social media to check your employment status, and when payday is - to assess your likelihood of being able to pay back loans.

3. Social media keywords.
Companies like Score Assured will look through your social media for keywords like 'party' 'trashed' or 'wasted', and can flag them up to lenders.

4. Your contact list and call log
These will be used by loans company Branch and Tala Mobile to see if you are regularly calling other finance companies.

5. Your purchase history
Branch will also check out your spending history, for irresponsible or impulse purchases - as well as assessing your daily spending to see if you are living beyond your means.

6. Web searches
InVenture will look at your web searches - alongside a host of other things. If, for example, you search for payday loans or debt information, it could ring alarm bells.

7. Friends
Vouch can search your friends and connections, and discover if you are friends with people who have had trouble paying loans in the past. This will count against you.