Banks, mobile networks and insurance companies browse customers' social media profiles before deciding whether to offer mortgages or other deals.
Lenders have long used financial data maintained by traditional credit reference agencies when assessing applications for loans, mortgages and credit cards.
These reports, produced by companies such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit), show whether customers keep pace with repayments on existing debts and other contracts such as gas, electricity and telephone bills.
Credit profile agencies have raised privacy issues after claiming that social media can be used to verify a customer's identity and to predict whether to pay back loans on time
But new high-tech credit profiling agencies have raised privacy problems after claiming that social media can be used to verify a customer's identity and predict whether they will repay loans on time.
FriendlyScore has worked with banks, car finance companies and mobile phone companies, including iD Mobile from Carphone Warehouse.
Before it can dig up your social media profiles, you must agree to grant access by creating an account online or downloading the mobile app.
For example, if you give access to your Twitter account, it will view your followers and what you publish online to understand your interests.
With access to your Gmail account, it can check the email receipts you receive when shopping online to see how you spend your money. From LinkedIn you can check whether you have been honest about your employment history and qualifications.
Sign up for the mobile app and the company can also track your stay via its GPS tracker to view the places you visit and where you live and work.
The app also has access to your contacts and only advises you to store the details of creditworthy friends and family on your phone.
How robots can find top loans
Would you let a robot choose the best mortgage deal for your home?
A new generation of online mortgage brokers does exactly that with the help of artificial intelligence to arrange home loans.
The companies, nicknamed "roboadvisers", collect information from borrowers via online chats before they use technology to find the market for the best deal.
Companies such as Mojo, Trussle, Habito and Hooski offer this service. Andrew Hagger, financial expert at MoneyComms, says: "All providers are still using people's service to help potential borrowers complete their mortgage transaction, which will be a relief for many people as this is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. & # 39;
But Mr. Hagger warns that it is essential for the use of a broker, whether face-to-face, over the telephone or over the internet, to check that they cover the entire market and do not exclude some lenders from their searches.
& # 39; Choose the friends and family that you keep in your contacts book, & # 39; it says in the app.
Another company, Hello Soda, has been working with payday lender Peachy.co.uk, Visa Europe, debt collectors, banks and insurers on new ways to verify the identity of customers online and to predict whether they will repay loans.
When promoting a separate service called & # 39; The Online Me & # 39 ;, the company says: & # 39; Every time you apply for a loan, a home or a job, someone checks your social profiles. . .
Companies in all sectors continue to use social media and use your online information to make (often incorrect) assumptions about you. & # 39;
Hello Soda says it will produce a report that states which predictions companies are likely to make about you based on the data available online.
It claims: "You can then use this report to manipulate your online profiles to project the desired image, so that social media does not interfere with your applications."
But if companies make false assumptions about what you publish online, this can lead to unjustified rejection of loans.
Andrew Montlake, director of mortgage broker Coreco, says: & # 39; I would worry about lenders denying borrowers home loans based on what they posted online.
Just because a computer algorithm says that someone who likes a certain TV program or stores in a certain supermarket is less inclined to repay their loan does not mean that it is true in all cases.
& # 39; It would be wrong to reject people for loans based on drastic decisions. & # 39;
So what can you do to protect yourself against this rising trend?
Think carefully before giving companies access to your social media profile to calculate your credit score. These companies can say that their services can help people who do not yet have a detailed credit history because they have not previously borrowed, such as young applicants and people new to the country.
Stay safe: keep your Facebook settings private so that only good friends can see what you post
However, do not forget that what they reveal from your social media habits may not put you in a good light, so you may also get a loan. Also watch websites that allow you to log in with your Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts.
You may be able to unknowingly grant them access to all types of personal data and contacts stored in those accounts.
Keep your Facebook settings private so that only good friends can see what you post. Make sure that nothing you say online contradicts something that you have mentioned in a loan or insurance application.
Lenders and insurers publicly check visible profiles to ensure that you have not lied about your job, income, marital status or details of a claim.
Neither Hello Soda nor FriendlyScore could be reached for comment. Visa and iD Mobile say they no longer work with the companies and Visa says it does not provide a credit score.
Earlier this year, Loubna Bazine, FriendlyScore's chief executive, told Money Mail: "All data analysis is done by machines. No man looks at it. Then we give the company a score and a short report of our findings. & # 39;
Trade body UK Finance says: "Companies use different techniques to determine the identity of their customers and are constantly looking for new ways to make this easier, within the very strict privacy laws regarding the use of personal data.
Companies are committed to borrowing in a responsible manner and will consider alternative data that can improve lending decisions by complementing the existing credit repayment history. & # 39;