A company that's given itself the name FriendlyScore to fend off accusations before they arrive has come up with a new form of credit checking, one that claims to use social media posts and some 800 other internet data points to calculate how trustworthy you might be and if it's therefore OK for you to be allowed to have that new phone or not.
The FriendlyScore system was dreamed up to help offer those without credit records -- like the young millennials or the immigrants fresh out of the back of the Parmigiano Reggiano lorry -- get their names down within the financial system. Because credit agencies don't like giving money to people without any history showing an ability to repay, this can be a crucial first step in building an unsustainable debt mountain that will hang over you like a fog of despair for the next 20 years.
Founder Gideon Valkin said of his crowdsourced credit check idea: "When I first moved to London, it took me months to receive a credit card or cell phone contract due to a lack of credit history there. Even with a prestigious university degree, a job at a top bank and a clean credit slate in two other countries, it was extremely difficult and time consuming. The world needs a way to verify creditworthy individuals without having localized credit history. Particularly, in countries where vast portions of the population would otherwise never have access to financial services."
The complete methodology is a bit secret, but the company explained some of it with: "Everything ranging from data points that reflect the quality of someone’s social and professional network, online interactions, behavioral and communication habits, to verified data about basic education, employment, and residential history. For example, there are strong correlations between hours of activity online and creditworthiness, as is there between level and quality of interactions with friends and creditworthiness."