[LIFE AND TECH] Is Twitter Killing Your Credit?

In this golden age of oversharing, a lot of people have ruined their relationships, friendships, or even their jobs by what they post on social media. Giving up too much information online can have a disastrous effect on your real life and now you can add one more potential pitfall to the list – your credit. As lenders look for different ways to screen applicants, your social media behavior is becoming fair game in their search. So what can you do? Here are some ways to keep your tweets or status updates from costing you money.

Keep your baller-status quiet: If you’re in the market for a mortgage or other type of loan, you probably don’t want to be bragging online about how you made it rain at the club last night. Keep those shopping sprees quiet as well, especially if you maxed out the credit card buying that pair of ‘red bottoms’ you just had to have. Lenders may consider your spending irresponsible, which in turn could affect your ability to get a loan or the interest rate you end up paying.

Handle your (small) business: For all you budding entrepreneurs out there, make sure your status updates aren’t contradicting the information on your small business loan application. If you’re claiming some kind of hardship, lenders shouldn’t see pictures from your latest vacation on your Facebook page. And if you’ve claimed to own multiple locations on your application, a lender shouldn’t see announcements about a store closing sale on Twitter. Also, even though social media can be a valuable tool in advertising, you don’t necessarily want to broadcast the fact that your business is struggling.

Be careful of the company you keep: Not only are lenders checking you out, they’re also checking on your friends’ pages as well. The idea here is “birds of a feather”, so if your friends have frivolous spending habits, lenders will assume you do too. Also, don’t let your friends post on your page asking you for money or asking you to repay money. If your ability to repay even a friend comes into question, lenders will think twice about your willingness to pay back a loan.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – what happens on the Internet stays on the internet -- forever. At a time when lenders are using social media to determine your credit-worthiness, even checking out your Facebook page for debt collection purposes, you have to constantly be aware of what you post. Privacy settings will only get you so far and sometimes you just have to learn to keep your business to yourself.

Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.