In the third season of Black Mirror, an episode titled “Rate Me” imagined a future where people rated others just as they might a restaurant. Black Mirror takes the use of technology and the darkest parts of human nature, blends them, and takes them to some wild, and frequently extreme, places. But in “Rate Me” the show explored an idea that seems like it could happen at any time. In fact with the app Peeple, that was exactly the goal, rate others, called “Yelp for People.” You didn’t even need their permission, as by rating someone it would create a profile for them. One UK-based site called it “slander-as-a-service,” and when the idea (before it launched) reached the public consciousness, the backlash was enough to guarantee that its moronic founders had to tuck their tail, reimagine their idea, and basically launch a total dud app. Now, what does this have to with credit trade lines? You might think, not much, but the truth is that credit is increasingly becoming relied on more and more as a social tool rather than a strictly monetary one.
What else is my credit used for…besides getting credit?
You want to borrow money in some capacity (credit cards, mortgage, auto, etc) and you will need to have good credit, or at least sufficient to get approved. That’s common knowledge. It’s big business. Why do you think we have tradelines for sale? Because people like things quick and tradelines provide a shortcut, sometimes a year or more, of time you can cut out of the time it takes to put your plans in motion. But what else could you utilize authorized user tradelines for? How about renting? Most places worth renting a unit from will check your credit. That’s not a far stretch really. Your ability to pay back lenders is a direct correlation to how you’ll be as a renter. After all, it’s pretty much the same thing as a loan on your credit; it just doesn’t show up there, though that may be changing, and there is at least one company that will put rental history on your report (though it only shows to one bureau, and in our experience doesn’t do much to help scores).
How about dating? Can working with a “best tradeline company” really impact your love life? Can your credit really have that much to do with finding a significant other? Around 42% of adults said knowing a person’s score would influence their decision to date someone according to a poll at bankrate.com. Think about it, people can do a lot of things to make their exterior attractive: nice watch, nice clothes, shoes, fancy hair, earrings, lipstick, makeup, etc, but that stuff can be accomplished in a very short time, as long as we’re disqualifying fitness (why do you think fit people are considered “hot”? Because that takes effort and discipline, and this is attractive. Knowing someone’s credit would allow you to see a deep, very important aspect to how someone handles their finances.
There are two things you don’t ask someone about, sexually intimate things, and their finances. There is no other more personal thing you can ask someone. Just imagine a stranger walking up to you and asking what your credit score is. Likely your immediate reaction, if you’re feeling tame, would be “None of your business,” and if not tame, you’d toss that mostly-done latte right in their face, but in this scenario, if your score is excellent, you probably go with the first option. After all, if the question reminds you how awesome your score is, well then you can just be politely refuse to answer, but if your score is bad, then you’re probably a bit more salty. So, in this example, having good credit saves you the price of the remainder of that latte.
Never waste a good latte!
Okay, so now is when you say, whatever, my credit isn’t that big of a deal. I just need it for lending. Well, that’s not the case in China, where they’ve come up with an app that warns people if they come within 500 meters who is in debt. And they are identified in some way, because with China’s new “social credit” policy, calling out and publicly shaming these people is the entire point. But that could never happen here…right? Considering the state of things, and if the government or private businesses like Amazon and Google found a way to monetize it, you can bet that this kind of thing can happen here. Better to be in a place where you are selling your authorized user tradelines vs having to buy them.
Just in case.