Would you let a company see your text messages to get a loan?

Some loan companies in India and Kenya are using contact details, text messages, and call logs to decide who makes the cut

You might think that your text message and phone calls have no bearing on your financial future, but you could be wrong. Some companies are using their customers’ smartphone habits to decide whether or not they should be granted a loan, according to a report by campaign group Privacy International.

The report looked at the way tech-savvy loan companies work in India and Kenya, finding that they’re turning to increasingly intrusive sources of information to make decisions about their customers.

“Decisions that seem irrelevant, such as how you have arranged your phone book, how often you call your parents, and how many social media apps you have, are now factors to determine someone’s trustworthiness and credit score,” says Tom Fisher, who wrote the report.

One example is an app called Tala. Headquartered in California, Tala is used to give small loans of up to $500

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