Livin' on the MDedge

Common brain parasite linked to attractiveness, new study


Post your way to financial hardship

After you pump your gas at the gas station, how do you pay? At the pump or inside? How frequently do you post to your social media pages? What kind of content are you posting?

That kind of nontraditional credit data hasn’t been considered by lenders and credit agencies, but that is changing. The reasoning? It’s opening more opportunities for those without much credit history. But according to a paper published by Janine S. Hiller of Virginia Tech and Lindsay Sain Jones, a financial regulation researcher at the University of Georgia, this just opens a can of worms.


Why is this so dangerous? Well, alternative credit scoring isn’t covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act or Equal Opportunity Act, so the consumer doesn’t have the ability to dispute any data the credit agencies or lenders receive. Then there’s the “credit boost,” which some companies offer to gain access to the consumer’s data. Often there are no limitations on how long it’s kept. That purchase you made 2 years ago can come back to haunt you.

It also creates a cause for the possibility of discrimination based on “lifestyle-related data points,” which some lenders use to determine creditworthiness: zip code, age, gender, race, socioeconomic status. Even where the consumer went to college is a factor taken under consideration.

“There are all kinds of factors that can be correlated with creditworthiness, but that doesn’t mean they should be used,” Ms. Jones said in the EurekAlert statement.

Let’s say someone applies for a loan needed for a medical procedure. They could be denied because the lender or a credit-reporting agency didn’t like the data they received (most times without the consumer’s consent). Talk about a broken system.


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