The rise of the internet has given lenders access to significantly more information off which to base lending decisions. Gone are the days where credit scores are limited to payment histories and credit mixes.

Alternative lending data allows modern lenders to make more informed decisions about who to lend to and at what rate, while doing so in just seconds. Here are a few areas where we see these new data sets playing a huge role:

1.Peer-to-Peer Lending

From lending sites like Prosper and LendingClub which focus on personal loans, to others like FundingCircle and Kabbage which focus on business loans, P2P lending companies are giving traditional banks a run for their money by offering more convenience (easier to use platforms and faster credit decisions), better interest rates, and the ability to access creditworthy lenders who banks aren’t lending to.

Incorporating social media data into lending decisions allows these community-focused businesses an opportunity to add a social component to their decision-making. It also gives lenders deeper insights into thin-file borrowers who might be more comfortable borrowing from a new online platform, but have a limited traditional credit history.

2) Academic and University Lenders

Students are another set of borrowers likely to have limited — or even no — traditional credit history due to their age. However, students are also likely to have much richer data available on their social media accounts which can be used to determine creditworthiness by saying information on their interests, who they are connected to, and how they behave online.

While we can agree that access to an education is a obvious win, rising tuition costs can keep that from becoming a reality for young people. Using alternative data, education lending institutions could dramatically increase students’ access to financing and ensure that opportunities for education are shared more equally.

3) Alternative Education

Alternative education and skills-training providers are becoming a great way for people to change or accelerate their career paths. Oftentimes, these courses come with a high pricetag that students may not be able to afford until securing a job or promotion after the course.

Some training providers are offering financing or deferred payment plans while others are partnering with third-party lenders like Climb, who offer such financing and focus on coding bootcamps.

4) Property Rental

In addition to asking for bank history or information from employers, property managers and landlords stand to make more informed decisions on whether or not to accept applications from prospective renters.

5) Auto Leasing

While a reliable mode of transportation can enable people to save time and earn more money, the cost of buying or leasing a car can be prohibitive without financing.

Auto financiers would be wise to incorporate rich social data into their lending decisions, allowing access to transportation for many more creditworthy people.

These are just a few of the ways in which alternative data can be put to use in assisting lending and credit decisions. We believe that by providing such additional information we’re helping build a more inclusive global financial system for everyone.