In China The World Bank estimates that 79% of the population above the age of 15 have bank accounts, but only 10% have ever borrowed from the formal financial system. This is creating an arms race to crack the credit code.
To fill the gaps, one upstart lender, China Rapid Finance, supplements data analysis with on-the-ground spade work. The company’s investigators, in more than 90 cities, check for the number of toothbrushes or towels to determine how many people are living in a house. They look for dirty dishes in the kitchen. They take photos of a potential borrower at work to confirm employment status.