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COLUMN: How to avoid social media from nixing your loan

By Steve Schwartzman
On January 14, 2014

As a rule, banks are scary. Few things come across more harrowing than sitting inside a dimly lit building entirely encapsulated on the frightening idea that you need money and they are the people who have it.

For those who find themselves jittery at the thought of financial interaction, the potential for situations to get worse could possibly be found no farther than your Facebook timeline.

By now, a grand amount of society is very aware of employers and otherwise human resource organizations monitoring social media activity as a determining factor for employment or termination. Seminars abound on the subject of using social networking accounts wisely so as to not jeopardize employment. As it turns out, financial organizations could be seeing to it that your credit value could be jeopardized as well.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a spread about banks and loan entities monitoring social media accounts to determine a loan applicant’s actual financial needs. The overall message of the report claims more can be said about an individual’s social media activity than they may realize, and it’s much more than posting an Instagram of a four-course meal.

More particularly toward the end of their degree, college students are far from exempt to those looking into loan opportunities, and if you fall under that umbrella, here are a few things to keep in mind if don’t want your finances nixed by your Twitter feed.

 

— Keep posting from mobile devices to a minimum. According to several reports, one of the first things a social media-savvy financial institution will look at when monitoring an account is where posts are coming from. When an individual posts from a smartphone, it can easily be traced — Facebook even labels it at the bottom of the post even being as specific as displaying which exact phone was used. The mentality with banks is if someone can afford a high-end smartphone, perhaps borrowed money isn’t in their best interest.

— Avoid “checking in.” For fans of reward-yielding locations platforms such as Foursquare, checking into spots locally can reveal a big give and take. Where certain amounts of checking in can lead to certain rewards and discounts, it also gives the notion of where you are spending money and how often. Most banks will generally assume you check in to Starbucks four times a day for much more than just using their free Wi-Fi.

— Keep up-to-date with your job history. This is actually one to keep as detailed as possible, but be smart. If institutions see you have a well-structured job history and not just a chain of freelance hours at snow cone stands every two months, it will show a strong financial status and keep you in the clear.

 

— Be mindful of when you post. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy amount of posts and links on any profile, but remember that when you post can generate assumptions. Posting a heavy ratio of your time during typical working-man’s 9-to-5 hours may not necessarily prove your work schedule, but banks don’t know when you work and can only go from what they generally see.

 

As a whole, the infancy of this information shows there is no real go-to when it comes to proving financial stability online, but above all, always be aware of what I call the “financial mindset.” In all things, do your best to look organized and in control. Think of what financial-savvy parents would say if they saw your activity, and you’ll have a great chance of signing on the dotted line.

 

– steve.schwartzman@aggiemail.usu.edu

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