Banks may request access to Google search history before granting loans


In the future, your credit score may be influenced by your search history on Google, your mean tweets, and your social media connections.

By analysing your browsing, searching and purchasing history, lenders may soon be able to build more accurate credit scores. Some banks have already started refusing loans based on people’s social media activity and relationships. An increasing amount of private data is being used in financial services, raising questions about customer safety and privacy.


According to a Yahoo Finance report, the amount of housing you can afford to purchase and the interest rate on your next vehicle loan may be determined by your Google Search History in the near future. Something like this isn’t too unheard of as some banks are already denying loans based on people’s Tweets and online connections. It seems absurd, doesn’t it?

As things stand right now, your credit score — that three-digit figure that shows lenders how responsible you are when it comes to making payments — is based on basic financial information such as your payment history and debt level.

Your Google search history could determine your credit score. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Your Google search history could determine your credit score. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

However, according to research published on the website of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), corporations will soon be looking at a lot more data to create an accurate picture of the risk you pose as a borrower.

Researchers predict that lenders will soon be able to construct a more accurate credit score using information from your browser, search, and buying history.

While most of this data is available to the public, credit bureaux may require some of it. The sum total of all of this information is what is known as a “digital footprint.”

The working paper mentions earlier research that “enhance loan default forecasts” by integrating credit information and your internet footprint.

There isn’t going to be a full-time sleuth following your every move. Instead, it would need the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to extract this data and apply it in a credit report.

Makes may request very personal information before granting loans.
Makes may request very personal information before granting loans.

There are a slew of new privacy and consumer protection concerns raised by the growing usage of private data in financial services, according to the working paper.

The study cites fair lending laws in the United States, which prevent lenders from utilising gender or racial information to make loans. So, how much of your digital footprint can lenders use to determine how trustworthy you are as a borrower? There are several ways in which your personal information might be harmed by hackers.

Governments will need to adopt new legislation to ensure that Big Tech is held to the same data privacy standards as banks, according to the academics. Governments may not be able to keep up with the rate of technological change, and it may be some time before they do.

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