People Are Plenty Willing To Share Personal Data To Get A Better Loan

The mass collection and sale of personal data is an increasingly sensitive topic for consumers and business leaders. Promising technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning depend on gathering lots of data. But as people have seen their data misused by some tech firms everyone within the industry is struggling to locate the line between reasonable data collection and invasion of privacy.

The whereabouts of that dividing line depend on what’s at stake. New research suggests that people are surprisingly comfortable sharing their data as long as it’s being put to good use, especially in the world of lending. A recent Harris Poll found a surprising consensus among American adults — 71% of those surveyed said they would be willing to share more personal data with a lender if it led to a fairer loan decision. (The survey was commissioned by my company, ZestFinance.)

More significantly, the Harris Poll shows that the majority of consumers feel unfairly treated by the current system. More than 80% of African-Americans and Hispanics – and 7 in 10 of all adults – say they wish there were a better way to prove themselves to lenders. Why is this? Broadly speaking people seeking a credit card, auto loan, mortgage, or any number of products are judged by one simple number: their credit score.

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