How credit card companies are using Social Media data to score/profile you

Home How credit card companies are using Social Media data to score/profile you

Many people have heard about companies utilizing social media to screen potential employees and fire current employees. Perhaps your company has even started this practice. But what you may not know is that some major corporations are utilizing social media to profile their current and potential customers, possibly including your business and you. Companies utilizing social media to profile their clientele include those in the auto, travel, retail, and even non-profit and political industries. Financial services also fall into that list, with credit card companies mining data daily.

Here are some of the ways that credit card companies have started utilizing social media data to score their customers. Knowing these factors will help you shape your social media strategy so that your business can benefit with its marketing and the credit cards that are made available to you.

For future offers
The most widely known usage of social media by credit card companies is for marketing purposes. Instead of relying solely on geographic demographics as they have had to do in years past, credit card marketers can now look at the information on your social media networks to help narrow in on your potential needs. As reported in a recent article the companies aren’t just looking at what we publish on our companies’ Facebook pages or our LinkedIn page; they are also looking at who we’ve added as ‘friends’ and who we have recommended.

Some credit card companies have developed their own algorithms and others are turning to the services offered by aggregators like Rapleaf Inc. Rapleaf collects and sorts information about individuals and then sells it to companies who are looking for information about what those customers do online. According to Rapleaf CEO Auren Hoffman, businesses turn to services like Rapleaf to help personalize the customer experience.

Others, like MasterCard, are utilizing social networks like LinkedIn to gain customer data through polls. As Torrey Lincoln, the director of West Coast advertising sales at LinkedIn discussed with, MasterCard has found that it’s “a great way…to ask a question, get extensive feedback and then analyze the audience and review those results.”

If you have been getting offers for credit products that seem like an unlikely match for you or your business, you may want to take a moment to review your social media profiles. The algorithms may be picking up on a detail that is causing these unlikely offers to be sent your way. And because you are the person maintaining the profiles for your company, you may find that the information about your company is influencing the personal credit card offers you receive in the mail (as marketers, we truly can never leave our work at work!).

For lending decisions
The use of social media for profiling is going beyond simply which offers to push out to your business. Some credit card companies may even be using these networks when determining whether to extend credit to your business or scale back your credit limit.

Take this scenario, for instance: a credit card company conducts a search on Facebook of individuals and companies that list bungee jumping and skydiving as interests. That company can then filter through the results to locate current cardholders who they then label as risk takers. If those cardholders already have a high debt-to-limit ratio, they may scale back that card’s limit or cancel the account altogether as a high-balance, risk taker is a greater risk than the credit card company wants to take on. While this scenario is a little improbable, credit card companies do have these capabilities, so you will want to take the moment to review what you and your employees are posting online before you apply for a new business credit card or request a limit increase.

According to, you may also want to review who your business is linked to online, as credit card companies may be looking at your friends and the colleagues you’ve recommended for an indication of your character. If it looks like you’re associated with ‘deadbeats’ than you (and your company) may be one as well. This makes it important to be picky with who you accept as ‘friends’. If you get a lot of requests from people you don’t know, it could be risky to accept the request.

This, of course, becomes complicated when you are a marketer. Chances are, you do your fair share of networking at business events. The people you make connections with are likely to seek you out via LinkedIn and maybe even Facebook or Twitter. If you are worried about their influence on your chance at a credit card, take a couple of minutes to research them online to determine if they are who they say they are.

For fraud prevention
Others have also stated they use the information available through social media to help mitigate fraud. Rob Garcia, the senior director for Lending Club, a peer-to-peer lending service, uses tools and software to mine social media for this type of information. Garcia says the information they uncover is used solely to protect their investors and prevent fraud.

Fraud prevention is accomplished by comparing the information that is contained in the social media networks with the information provided by the applicant to ensure they are who they say they are. This means that you will want to carefully review your online profiles to make sure your information adds up. Otherwise, future credit card and other credit applications may receive a red flag, slowing down the approval process.

Not limited to credit card companies
Other companies within the financial services sector are also turning to social media data to assist in their business practices. One main industry that could affect your business is the insurance industry. As reported by Fox Business, insurance companies are already scanning social media websites when investigating insurance claims they deem to be suspicious or expensive. This fact was shared by Craig Beattie, an insurance agent for Celent, a research and consulting firm.

Not a reason to leave
These uses of information from social media shouldn’t completely deter your and other businesses from participating in social networking. As Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites become increasingly popular, it will become even more important for businesses to maintain an online presence. However, business owners and marketers should be purposeful with the information they are releasing to public through these sites as more businesses start to incorporate social media data mining into their operational practices.