Safeguarding Your Financial Information and Identity
Your Credit Card Is Turning You Into Open Book
Whether you like it or not, your credit card use places you squarely on the grid for everyone to see what you do, where you shop, what you like to buy, and even predict what you might want to buy. Every swipe of your card unleashes a stream of data that is used by your bank and your retailers to build a profile of your shopping habits that can then be used to target you with ads, offers and discounts you are likely to want to see. The grocery chains have been doing this for some time with their club card programs which is how you end up with a coupon at checkout based on your preferences. Now the banks are working with retailers to do the same on just about any other type of purchase.
The major banks are now tracking your purchases and spending habits and creating shopping profiles that they sell to retailers who can then target customers based on those profiles. For instance, Bloomingdales would be interested in shoppers who frequent Nordstrom, so they can glean from the profiles Nordstrom shoppers who would be more likely to act on an offer from Bloomingdales. Consumers will then receive offers through the mail, email or even through text messages.
It's perfectly legal. We are assured that bank customers should not be concerned with privacy because the banks don't share any personal data. They only respond to a retailer's request for a certain profile. In the age of Facebook and Google, which have mastered the technology for harvesting your online information for advertising purposes, this new bank initiative is nothing new. In fact, for consumers who find themselves inundated with offers and ads, they may even find it more beneficial because, at least, they'll receive more relevant promotions.
Just thought you'd want to know.