Consumer Alert: Study finds that MasterCard is selling lots of info about its customers

If you have a credit card, you likely have a MasterCard in your wallet. And that means your data is for sale. That’s what a study by the Public Interest Research Groups or PIRG found.

MasterCard makes lots of money through the interest and fees it charges you and more money from the fees it charges the retailer. But PIRG found it has another huge revenue stream. Credit card data is extremely valuable to companies trying to sell products to you. That data tells them where you shop, when you shop and how much you spend. And the study revealed MasterCard is selling your data on third-party sites, like the Amazon Web Services Data Exchange.

But it also has its own data services sales division, raking in big bucks by selling information about how you spend your money. The investigation gives the following examples:

  • Intelligent targeting: MasterCard sells companies data that enables them to target “high value” customers, otherwise known as customers who spend a lot of money.
  • Dynamic Yield: MasterCard uses the data gathered when you spend money online, then uses AI to predict where you’re likely to spend again.
  • SessionM: It enables companies to combine data to create consumer profiles that can be updated in real time based on what you buy.

Certainly, MasterCard is not the only company selling your data, but the PIRG studied it because it has access to such vast amounts of data.  Here’s what you can do about it.  With the help of PIRG. here’s Deanna’s Do List:

  • Use the opt out form on MasterCard’s website.
  • Create an account on MasterCard’s data portal to access your data.
  • On that portal, ask MasterCard to delete your data.

Consumer advocates say besides the fact it’s really creepy, collecting and selling our data is dangerous because the more companies that hold our data, the more vulnerable we are to a data breach.