We’re all familiar with ‘credit scores’, where financial institutions track how responsible you are with your hard-earned money to assign you a value determining the loans and cards you are eligible to apply for.
However, a new scoring system being trialed in China (set to become standard practice by 2020) and currently under consideration in Europe is far less discussed despite the fact it may eventually become an integral part of our day to day lives.
HOW WOULD THE SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE AFFECT ME?
This system monitors a lot more than your financial saviness. It involves governmental and financial institutions ranking your everyday behavior – both online and via CCTV monitoring – and has been dubbed the ‘social credit score’.
Essentially, everything from the way you spend your money and behave on social media to the people you associate with would affect your score and whether you are rewarded or punished.
To find out how well you would rank under these conditions and whether you would be eligible for rewards or social restrictions, take our Surviving the Social Credit Score quiz.
IS THE UK READY FOR A SOCIAL CREDIT SYSTEM?
We conducted a survey to find out how Brits viewed the idea of social credit scoring. Our results showed that the social credit score is a concerning concept, with 66% of respondents stating that they would change their day to day behavior (both on and offline).
This even extends to who people associate with, as a staggering 75% said they would cease contact, or at least think about doing so, with someone that would negatively affect their social score.
REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS: CONCERNS OVER SOCIAL CREDIT
Over 1/3 of people surveyed believed that their social credit score would either be average or bad – meaning that they would likely face negative consequences. So, it’s no surprise that 78% viewed the idea of being scored on their value as a good citizen with strong negative emotions.
To gain more understanding of what would sway people either way, we asked which existing rewards and punishments from the Chinese system would have the biggest effect on their opinion of social scoring.
Interestingly, the incentives most likely to make Brits welcome the social credit score were priority healthcare, discounts on energy bills and better interest rates on loans. This tells us that financial rewards and access to premium medical care are more likely to change people’s opinions than the quality of their children’s education.
But what would make us push back? According to our survey, the potential punishments that would have people resist this system are: being publicly named & shamed (how very British!), being prevented from applying for credit cards and a restriction on the type of jobs people could apply for.
HOW HEALTHY IS THE UK’S SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE?
Aside from how people felt about this method of societal ranking, we asked the British public a series of questions to determine how they would perform if the social credit system was brought into force.
To achieve this, we looked at what is considered to be ‘bad behavior’ under the current Chinese system…
- 25% of those surveyed said they spent more than 4 hours a day on streaming television, films and video games.
- 30% said that they had criticized the government on social media.
- 25% of people admitted to sharing articles online that they weren’t sure were factual.
- 35% of Brits confessed to disobeying traffic laws when driving.
- 54% of respondents said that they had crossed the road without looking both ways.
- 64% said that they would refuse to sign up for military service if it was asked of them.
- 41% of Brits consider themselves to be bad or not great at saving money with almost 25% admitting that they regularly go on ill-advised spending sprees.
- 41% of respondents admitted they’ve been late paying bills.
In each of these scenarios, at least a quarter of the people we surveyed would be penalized under a social credit system operating under the same principals as the scheme active in China and the one being proposed in Germany.
Using these figures as a basic indicator of performance, the average amount of UK residents currently making choices that would land them with a bad social credit score would be 40%.
TAKE THE SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE TEST
Now that you know a bit more about what to expect, why not take our Surviving the Social Credit Score quiz to find out how high your score would be. Would you be eligible for the benefits or be left missing out on things you take for granted?
Answer the questions honestly for the most accurate results and find out how you compare to the rest of the UK.