While I’ve shied away from giving out my phone number at stores, I’ve never thought too long or hard about rambling off my zip code at the checkout. It always seemed like kind of a non-issue and that there was nothing too revealing or too personal there that couldn’t be shared. Truth is, it’s actually pretty personal and reveals a lot more than you might think.
Based on your zip alone, retailers can begin to build your profile, which reveals demographic information, like median income, and, in conjunction with more detailed marketing data, can determine your spending habits and your consumer behavior, like if you stop shopping at Williams-Sonoma and start stocking up at Walmart instead. From this alone, a credit card company might cap your credit limit or even close your account.
To find out what creditors are learning from Facebook, keep reading.
So, imagine what creditors can learn from your Facebook profile? Apparently enough to “predict which individuals might be a credit risk by virtue of who they’re friends with on Facebook,” according to San Francisco-based data mining company, Rapleaf. In the wake of the new CARD Act, creditors are using the same tools you might employ on a job search, relying on your Twitter and Facebook accounts to assess your shopping habits and the shopping habits of your friends. What’s more is that if your Facebook friends aren’t paying their bills on time, your credit card company might assume that you can’t either — guilty by association. What do you make of this practice? Fair to use Facebook or is this out of line?