Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Banks Find Way To Sell Consumers' Shopping Data

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the milo-minderbinder-comes-to-mind dept.

Advertising 195

nonprofiteer writes "Banks plan to compete with Groupon and LivingSocial by targeting coupons and deals at credit card holders based on their shopping habits. They found a way to do it without violating financial privacy laws: 'They're "selling" shopping habits the same way Facebook "sells" personal data about its users: in-network. It's a clever privacy work-around. Just as Facebook allows advertisers to specifically target certain kinds of users based on their profile information (without actually providing that profile information to the advertisers), banks plan to allow advertisers to send deals and coupons to their customers based on what they've bought before. That way, no user data actually leaves the network — instead, deals just enter the network. Each time a customer cashes in on one of those deals, the bank gets a commission.'"

cancel ×

195 comments

Of course. (-1, Troll)

dottpot (2366362) | about 3 years ago | (#36728196)

Citibank even says that openly [thoughts.com] when you create an account (and you can opt-out, but that wrong anyway)

Re:Of course. (1)

cvtan (752695) | about 3 years ago | (#36728366)

Citibank deserves to go out of business in the most horrible way possible.

Re:Of course. (0)

Flyerman (1728812) | about 3 years ago | (#36728568)

thoughts.com? is it goatse?

Re:Of course. (0)

Duradin (1261418) | about 3 years ago | (#36728672)

Pretty much. I've seen that link now in two other stories today.

What is "user data"? (1)

plover (150551) | about 3 years ago | (#36728216)

If "I am defined by what I consume" (from 'you are what you eat') then my shopping history is user data. And as far as my bank is concerned, that's a pretty good definition of their customers.

Re:What is "user data"? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728258)

I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me and she becomes me. I cease to exist. No one else exists either. Buffy is all of us. We think. Therefore she is.

Re:What is "user data"? (1)

pluther (647209) | about 3 years ago | (#36728268)

Huh.

Re:What is "user data"? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728378)

It's a line from a bad '90s television show aimed at teenagers. Leave it at Score:0 and carry on.

Re:What is "user data"? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#36728514)

A bad 90s show with more episodes in the 2000s than the 90s...

This is slashdot, you can't lie Firefly without liking Buffy surely?

Re:What is "user data"? (1)

pluther (647209) | about 3 years ago | (#36728828)

I like that he hates the show, but yet knows it well enough to immediately recognize the line.

Re:What is "user data"? (1)

green1 (322787) | about 3 years ago | (#36728960)

how much effort is it to recognize a quote as being from a specific show when the name of the show is in the quote? I've never seen a single full episode, but even I could tell that it had to come from that show.

Re:What is "user data"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729496)

This is slashdot, you can't like Firefly without liking Buffy surely?

Not that I am by any means dissing Firefly, I love the show and own the series on DVD, but the best episodes of Buffy were far more powerful than the best episodes of Firefly.

Re: (1)

michiko (2270072) | about 3 years ago | (#36728844)

ow.!!! get this service in future u must need this http://goo.gl/P5L2h [goo.gl]

Hello porn coupons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728232)

Bring it on!

Of course (-1, Troll)

dottpott (2366452) | about 3 years ago | (#36728238)

Citibank even says that openly [thoughts.com] when you create an account (and you can opt-out, but that wrong anyway)

Of course (-1, Troll)

dotttpott (2366458) | about 3 years ago | (#36728250)

Citibank even says that openly [thoughts.com] when you create an account (and you can opt-out, but that wrong anyway)

Of course (-1, Troll)

dotttpottt (2366466) | about 3 years ago | (#36728276)

Citibank even says that openly [thoughts.com] when you create an account (and you can opt-out, but that wrong anyway)

A Technicality: (2, Interesting)

Hartree (191324) | about 3 years ago | (#36728292)

So, I send a bank a deal aimed at consumers who (for example) bought alcohol and restrict the geography to an overwhelmingly Mormon neighborhood and get back a list of names. I cross reference those with church memberships. I now can target the backsliders.

I have somehow magically not violated anyones privacy.

Re:A Technicality: (5, Informative)

Radres (776901) | about 3 years ago | (#36728340)

But the bank didn't sell you the list of names. The only way to get a list of names is if someone from the community you are targeting actually clicks-through on your ad and places an order. I'm sure there are other existing ad networks that would allow you to do the same.

Re:A Technicality: (1, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#36728434)

But the bank didn't sell you the list of names.

You just need to know who to talk to.

I'm sure that for their biggest and best customers, the bank will be happy to provide names.

Plus, if you get the right information, the name gives itself up.

I think you have a much too high opinion of banks' intention to act ethically, which is surprising given the news of the past ten years or so.

Anyway, banks aren't even banks any more. A bank is a place that takes deposits and then lends those deposits out to collect interest, a portion of which is paid on the original deposits. I don't think any of the banks we're talking about still makes a significant portion of their income that way. So, by my lights, they are not banks, they are just crooked hustlers that can act with impunity because they have exploited a weakness in our system by which their profits are kept private, while their risk and losses are socialized to the citizenry.

Re:A Technicality: (3, Informative)

n8_f (85799) | about 3 years ago | (#36728662)

You just need to know who to talk to. I'm sure that for their biggest and best customers, the bank will be happy to provide names.

No, they won't. That would be breaking the law and the whole point of this approach is to avoid breaking the law.

Re:A Technicality: (0, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#36729712)

No, they won't. That would be breaking the law and the whole point of this approach is to avoid breaking the law.

I think you missed some of the important changes that took place to the biggest banks' charters after the TARP bailouts.

The "law" is just an outdated formality to them now.

Remember when you got the email saying that by continuing to do business with the bank you are automatically agreeing to the changes in their online customer agreement?

Re:A Technicality: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728682)

Giving out a list of customers is in violation of privacy laws. If the bank is going to be breaking the law for their best customers, they're going to be breaking the law for their best customers. That's orthogonal to this discussion, which is about a way the banks can make money bending but not breaking those laws in the same way Facebook does.

Re:A Technicality: (0, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#36729740)

If the bank is going to be breaking the law for their best customers, they're going to be breaking the law for their best customers.

So? Who's going to do anything about it? The Justice Department?

Did you read the article in Sunday's New York Times about the offer that's been made that if they pay $30 billion there will be no criminal prosecutions? Of course, the profited close to a trillion dollars when they brought down the US economy, so paying the $30 bil is a no-brainer. Anyway, the $30 billion would just be money we as taxpayers gave them in the bailout anyway.

Do you honestly believe the 3 or 4 largest banks in the US give a flying fuck about "the law"? Do you have any evidence of that?

Re:A Technicality: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728976)

Anyway, banks aren't even banks any more. A bank is a place that takes deposits and then lends those deposits out to collect interest, a portion of which is paid on the original deposits.

That would be a very specific kind of bank called an investment bank. The definition of a bank is just a place where a deposit of some value is kept. The bits about loaning at interest and paying some back is an additional service that modern banks claim to provide but actually don't (if they did, you won't be able to access your deposits 24/7 like you can now).

Re:A Technicality: (0, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#36729696)

That would be a very specific kind of bank called an investment bank.

There is no longer a distinction between a bank and an "investment bank" in the US.

Citicorp, Bank of America, Chase, and others were given dispensation to become bank "holding companies" which allowed them to become investment banks. This was done at the time of the TARP bailouts.

The only real banks left are very small local banks. And if you look at their reports many of them are also involved with some very shaky investments.

Re:A Technicality: (3, Insightful)

n8_f (85799) | about 3 years ago | (#36728614)

But the bank didn't sell you the list of names.

Trivial. The Mormon Police just have the bank send all of those people a bogus prize certificate for a free motor boat and then when they show up to get their boat, the Mormon Police arrest them and beat them to the full extent of the law.

Re:A Technicality: (3, Informative)

Ruke (857276) | about 3 years ago | (#36728344)

You don't get a list of names. You send the bank a deal aimed at customers who bought alcohol, and restrict it to a Mormon neighborhood, and the bank sends out your offer. You don't get to know who was sent these deals; the best you could do is know who took advantage of them.

Re:A Technicality: (3, Informative)

Ruke (857276) | about 3 years ago | (#36728376)

Citation: [chicagotribune.com] (emphasis mine)

Here's how it works: Say you use your Citi-issued debit card to buy a pair of shoes at Nordstrom, and then Citi sells that information to a series of retailers. As a result, you receive a coupon from Macy's for a 20% discount on shoes at its store. The coupon is delivered by Citi, however, not from Macy's.

Re:A Technicality: (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 3 years ago | (#36728726)

And that coupon contains a unique code. When purchased, Macy's now has the name, address, and credit card of someone who bought at Nordstrom. Or, for the Mormon one, you give a coupon for 50% off Domino's pizza sent to alcohol purchasers in MormonTown and when those coupons are used, you then get the names and addresses. It adds a step, but it is a vector for "attack" for getting unrelated information from customers. It isn't delivered by the bank, but via the bank, and that apparently makes the leak legal.

Technicality Busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729730)

Ok so the retailer generates 1 million codes, hands them over to Citibank whom only gives out 10,000 of them because they only have that many matched. At what point does a specific code link to a specific user, the only person who knows that is Citibank?

Re:A Technicality: (1)

canajin56 (660655) | about 3 years ago | (#36729842)

And that coupon contains a unique code.

Nope. Macy's never sees a coupon. There is absolutely no way for Macy's to ever know who got the offer, unless the offer is so good and the item is so bad that almost all purchases would be using the coupon. In the examples of the shoes, or the pizza, that's absurd. Even if Macy's was giving a -100% coupon, how could they weed those out from the normal shoe purchases? It would only potentially work on items that are so shitty that nobody (literally nobody) buys them. The privacy concern is not that a merchant could ever find anything out (they absolutely cannot) but that to allow for verification, the merchants would have to send more information to the bank than just the total bill. (Right now some do, I know on my Mastercard some department stores have subtotals per department on my bill). So that's more information than your bank had before. But the law still prevents them from giving it out to anybody other than certain trusted third parties, same as always. I don't know if the same API can be drilled down to an item-by-item bill, or if it can only use broad categories of merchandise (like the "ALL SHOES" in the article's example).

Re:A Technicality: (2)

antonyb (913324) | about 3 years ago | (#36728980)

This isn't the whole story.

Your bank only knows that you spent money at Nordstrom. It doesn't have an item level transaction history, so it cannot know that you bought shoes unless it has access to Nordstrom's transaction logs. Therefore, for this to really fly, the retailer has to share their t-logs with the bank. So the banks aggregate t-log data from a number of retailers, and then resell that information back to the retailers.

Ant.

Re:A Technicality: (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 3 years ago | (#36729168)

Some merchant API's allow you to detail exactly what was purchased in the transaction, I haven't come across any payment gateways that make these parts of the payload compulsory (yet), but they definitely seem to be available for use. If the bank offered a bit of an incentive to include this information (lower fees) I can well imagine the bean counters would be entirely okay with selling customer souls to make a bit more money.

Re:A Technicality: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728362)

Read the summary again. You, the hypothetical advertiser, never get your hands on the custom distribution list. In order to communicating with this small cross section of the bank's customers, you must hand your message over to the bank, whom then does the communicating for you.

Re:A Technicality: (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 3 years ago | (#36728736)

You, the hypothetical advertiser, never get your hands on the custom distribution list.

Send them a coupon for a free something, or for a free entry into a contest, and you'll get a sizable portion of the custom distribution list. Sure, you won't get 100%, but there are ways to get customer data from the bank now that weren't possible before.

Re:A Technicality: (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | about 3 years ago | (#36728372)

So, I send a bank a deal aimed at consumers who (for example) bought alcohol and restrict the geography to an overwhelmingly Mormon neighborhood and get back a list of names. I cross reference those with church memberships. I now can target the backsliders. I have somehow magically not violated anyones privacy.

... What does mormonism and alcohol have to do with each other? Sure, the mormon faith says you can't drink. So does the muslim faith, and catholics aren't supposed to use contraception. How many muslims do you know that drink, and catholics that take the pill?

Exactly. Now grow up and stop viewing the world in black and white. That's just immature and not how things actually are.

Re:A Technicality: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 3 years ago | (#36728748)

Oh, get off your high horse. I was raised a Methodist and they aren't supposed to drink either. Didn't stop quite a number making the pilgrimage to the Pink House bar a few miles aways. ;)

It was a somewhat whimsical example made to not be taken seriously save for the demonstration that there could be a leak of info.

Even given the safeguard of having the bank send the coupon, when the coupon is used info is given if that style coupon was given only to the bank to forward.

I don't think you know any mormons. (1)

raehl (609729) | about 3 years ago | (#36728878)

Mormons operate much more like a cult than most major religions. There are significant consequences to not behaving the way the church wants you to behave.

Most of that is based on extensive social pressure. The Mormon church tries very hard to narrow your social existence down to just other mormons. They have special fellowship groups for mormon singles to make sure you're meeting and marrying other mormons. They have their own TV channel with programming they expect you to watch - and if you don't watch it, everyone at church will admonish you when they talk about what was on and you don't know what they're talking about. There is tremendous pressure to conform, and there is lots of programming that starts early. You know how women dream of the "perfect wedding"? Well, in the mormon church, they program you from a very early age to really want to be married at the mormon temple in Utah. Don't behave the way the church wants you to? No perfect wedding for you!

So, if you're a single woman and tell your catholic priest you're using birth control, he'll probably tell you the pope doesn't like it and suggest something else. If you tell your mormon church official that you're using birth control, they will require you to go to counseling about the evils of premarital sex and if you don't go, they will toss you from the church, which may very well result in all your friends and family refusing to continue to associate with you. And don't think that's limited to severe behaviors - I knew an (unmarried) couple pushed into intensive religious counseling because the church officials found out they were both laying horizontally on the same bed at the same time! (By, I believe, basically suggesting to the female half that she better be honest or god was going to smite her.)

Now, I have not interacted much with mormons in the past 10 years, so maybe this has all changed since then, but I doubt it.

So yeah, as far as the Mormon church goes, it is a totally different animal than most of the rest of your garden variety religions.

Re:I don't think you know any mormons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729686)

You definitely don't know any Mormons. You got things as correct as if you'd been writing about Methodists, Catholics, Muslims, etc. ...not even close, unless you treat gossip as truth.

Re:A Technicality: (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | about 3 years ago | (#36728374)

You missed the point, but still have the right argument.

When you pay the bank, you don't get back a list of names at all. The bank would be sending out junk mail, SMS, or email based on your chosen demographics. It would be a 3rd party offer.

Most websites, companies, etc. allow you to specify that you don't want to receive it, but they also specify that affiliates and subsidiaries get access to to the data. The banks don't get that loophole in this case.

In your example, what you are really pointing out is that whatever percentage of customers click on the links, or even view the email with downloaded pictures, are revealing themselves and losing their privacy. In order for the bank to receive a commission it needs to admit that particular customer was indeed part of the chosen demographics.

It violates customer's privacy in spirit, in actuality the customer is mislead at best, and worst responsible for losing their own privacy through their own actions.

In other words, the customers are being tricked into confirming purchasing habits outside of the bank.

Very dirty and hopefully there will be an opt-out option for this voluntarily, or by law.

Re:A Technicality: (1)

cvtan (752695) | about 3 years ago | (#36728640)

It's OK if banks violate customers in spirit as long as no laws are broken. It is almost impossible to keep making laws to prevent bad bank behavior. They have lots of people sitting in meetings trying to figure out ways to vacuum money from the public.

Re:A Technicality: (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 3 years ago | (#36728768)

"Banks shall not share any customer data with outside entities, except in cases where the information shared and with whom was explicitly approved by the customer." But make that into a law, and it will be 300 pages long and allow sharing for everything possible and allow the practice of requiring waivers before opening accounts allowing them to share data with anyone else.

Re:A Technicality: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728950)

The technique mentioned would meet the requirements of that simple sentence, since they really aren't sharing any data. The third party could of course include tracking codes/whatever and hence link the criteria they used to anyone actually using the offer (with some bad data slipping in when people hand one over to a friend) but the bank isn't the one doing the sharing.

Re:A Technicality: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728790)

Its not impossible, what the US is lacking is a data protection authority as is recommended by the OECD privacy principles as used by most EU countries, with one of the best examples being the Norwegian Data Inspectorate. This kind of breaking the spirit of the law would never get far when your right as a company to deal with private information is dependent on both following the letter and spirit of the laws and regulations.

Re:A Technicality: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728870)

Opt out....

I'll keep changing banks until I find one that doesn't pull this garbage.

Sure, what I posses doesn't add up to a huge fortune, but then again they do call me once in a while to see how I'm doing.
eric

Re:A Technicality: (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 3 years ago | (#36728964)

Yeah, the customers are being tricked into releasing their information. Yet, that is a completely different situation from their information being released by the bank. I'm not claiming it is moral, but there are two points to consider...

One is that you can simply not use the service, you'll receive spam but you can just ignore it. If it was so easy to protect our personal information at every situation, most of the people concerned would be quite glad.

The other is that this method takes away the economical incentive for corporations to use that information in worse ways. They'd hardly simply sell your information if they can get the same amount of money (or maybe even more, since they are actualy renting) with much less PR and legal repercussions.

Yet, it is dirty. Worse yet because it comes from the banks, a kind of business that everybody has to deal with.

Re:A Technicality: (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 3 years ago | (#36728994)

There's a further effect related to increased phishing risks.

If the bank sends spam to their customers, then the customer (or his spam filter...) learns to associate non-banking related communications with his bank. This in turn makes phishing easier, since the small clues that normally make the fake banking emails stand out are no longer that clear.

Banks should never send email to their customers, it should always be the other way around.

It's still spam (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 3 years ago | (#36729676)

I do not agree to be spammed by a bank. I'll go to another one if they start.

Side channel information leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728596)

This is a side-channel leak of private information. The consumer gets targeted coupons delivered by the bank. At this point, no information has leaked from the bank to the retailer. The consumer decides to use the coupon. Now the retailer knows something new: This consumer is highly likely a match for the target demographic. The retailer did NOT have this information before. The coupon identifies the user as matching the criteria the retailer gave the bank.

Private information WAS LEAKED from the BANK to the RETAILER via the coupon delivered by the bank => consumer => retailer.

How is that NOT sharing information? Somehow because the consumer chose to use the coupon, does that constitute agreement by the consumer to share this information with the retailer? Will a disclaimer to this fact be included with the coupon?

Re:Side channel information leak (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 3 years ago | (#36728722)

Exactly. My example was spur of the moment, so not all that well formed. Given some thought, you can come up with more effective scenarios.

But regardless, you give information on at least some of the customers to the retailer (or whoever the retailer is fronting for).

Re:Side channel information leak (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 3 years ago | (#36728800)

Somehow because the consumer chose to use the coupon, does that constitute agreement by the consumer to share this information with the retailer? Will a disclaimer to this fact be included with the coupon?

I would hope that to be legal, the coupon would have (in lettering the same size as the details of the coupon) a statement that "using this coupon will share information with the retailer that includes your shopping habits, account size, payment history, address, credit score, and any information we have about other accounts under your name or address." Short of that, this type of leak should be a felony landing the CEO in jail.

sounds great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728308)

sounds like a great way to lose customers
i dont want any offers or coupons from my bank, ever.

look after my money and in return you get to invest it
and i want a cut of the profits if you do, anything else and you are not a bank. not my bank anyhow.

Not the same space as Groupon (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | about 3 years ago | (#36728352)

I'm taking my daughter powerboating thanks to a good Groupon deal. We don't normally do that kind a thing, but a good deal caught my eye and it sounded a blast. There is no way could anyone have seen that coming from my purchase history. This isn't the first time Groupon has appealed to the random in me either, and from what I gather from talking to other people this isn't uncommon.

Re:Not the same space as Groupon (1)

Ruke (857276) | about 3 years ago | (#36728426)

The problem with this, at least from the company's point of view, is that you're not terribly likely to go powerboating again. I mean, certainly there's the possibility that you fall in love with it, and go every week, but the company is likely losing a good deal of money on the initial 50% off. There are too many people who just follow the Groupon deals, rather than following the companies who put out one Groupon, in order to draw people in. The end result is that Groupon can be disastrous to the companies who use it as a means of advertising; they lose significant money on the single biggest boom they've ever seen, and then their demographics shift right back to where there were in the first place.

With the credit-card-based system, the company knows what you're likely to spend money on over and over again. It's a much safer bet, at least from their point of view. They don't need to shift behaviors, only brands, which is a significantly easier marketing task.

Re:Not the same space as Groupon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728786)

And that is up to the companies to actually figure out if the deal will be profitable for them or not. Think of Groupon as advertising for your company and proceed accordingly.

Re:Not the same space as Groupon (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 3 years ago | (#36729032)

Yep, I'll second AC here. It is up to the company to decide if they'll have profits for that sale or not, the GP didn't set the price. It can very well post some offers that just take away part of their profits, keeping them positive, as they can bet that a highter yeld due to the offer will make the reduced price lucrative. Or maybe it did hope that the GP would like so much that he would return, paying the full price. If it made the wrong bet, well, that happens a lot when betting.

Personaly, I don't see much utility at ads targeted at buying history. The time somebody is less willing to buy a car/house/television/plain ticket/phone/whatever is just after that person has brought a car/house/television/plain ticket/phone/whatever. Buying habits are much more dependent on the nature of the good than the nature of the buyer, and the dependence on the buyer is actualy much harder to discern than such kinds of schema would imply.

That depends. (1)

raehl (609729) | about 3 years ago | (#36729190)

Did you know that movie theaters give away half-off tickets to... anyone who goes before 5 PM?

It doesn't seem that you understand price discrimination very well. Often times the best way to maximize profits is to find a way to charge lots of people what they're each individually willing to pay instead of trying to maintain the same price for everyone. Even if none of your groupon customers become repeat customers, you still upped your revenue. And you may have upped your revenue by a lot more than the cost of the groupon - that's why, for example, theme parks often practically give tickets away. Even if you don't pay them a thing to get in the park they'll still make money when you buy concessions.

Groupons won't work for every business, but anyone who insists that groupons are bad for businesses has a very limited understanding of business.

Re:Not the same space as Groupon (1)

John3 (85454) | about 3 years ago | (#36728620)

You are exactly the people that Groupon wants to reach. A business wants to appeal to a new customer with the deal, but not give away a super deal to existing customers. They want you to try a powerboat adventure, hoping you'll come back again at full price.

If you just go once, you'll have fun and save money.

Guess it's time to ditch the bank then (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728384)

There are many credit unions ready to accept me with open arms, and there are way more benefits when doing business with them.

Go fish? (1)

KreAture (105311) | about 3 years ago | (#36728390)

Isn't this like the game "go fish"?
Have any cat fanatics? 10!
Have any porn addicts? 10000!
And every response or query about more information, or even downloading of image-data for the ad, outs the users targeted by the bank on behalf of the banks spam-client.

If you can be accomplice to murder, you can sell private information by proxy too.

And the wheels of the greed bus... (1)

_0rm_ (1638559) | about 3 years ago | (#36728396)

go round and round... will someone please flatten the bank's tires already?

Banks plan to... (2)

Godman (767682) | about 3 years ago | (#36728428)

I love the sentence banks plan to..... it always fills me with hope for how their service is going to benefit me even more...
 

Uh. So? (0)

wasabii (693236) | about 3 years ago | (#36728430)

I fail to see any issue with this. The bank that owns my credit card has a list of the transactions I've made on it. And they are now going to send me spam targeting me based on those transactions. The bank has always had the information. The bank still has it. There is no privacy issue here.

What there might be is banks annoying their customers. That shouldn't be illegal. It should result in customers finding banks that don't annoy them. Or, if customers don't care, then whatever.

Another thing that puzzles me: I work in the credit union marketing industry. We sell insurance to members of credit unions. The credit unions send us a list of their members names and account numbers, we mass snail mail them enrollment forms for free offers (with potential to buy in for more.) We don't get transaction history. But that doesn't matter. We buy the user's profiles from Experian and other companies. I'd be amazed if banks didn't already do this, since we've been doing it for a decade. And we have lots of competitors. So... maybe their user profiles are going to be better and they'll not annoy people with products they definitely don't care about. Beats the status quo.

Re:Uh. So? (2)

Carnildo (712617) | about 3 years ago | (#36729140)

I fail to see any issue with this. The bank that owns my credit card has a list of the transactions I've made on it. And they are now going to send me spam targeting me based on those transactions. The bank has always had the information. The bank still has it. There is no privacy issue here.

Let's say I want to know who in your town has purchased pornographic videos. I go to the bank with a "buy one get one free" deal for my pizza parlor and have them send it to everyone who's purchased one or more porn videos. As people redeem those coupons, I build up a pretty good idea of who's watching movies they'd rather I didn't know about.

I can repeat this sort of thing with different deals and different criteria, and get a pretty good idea of what sort of information the bank has. Since the bank is kindly hiding the link between my coupons and your habits, you don't have any idea that I'm doing this.

Re:Uh. So? (2)

wasabii (693236) | about 3 years ago | (#36729732)

I got a free pizza out of the deal. I'm cool with this.

One company doing this... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728578)

See Cardlytics at:

http://cardlytics.com/

cash is king (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728592)

it really is

I chose to opt out (3, Insightful)

blindseer (891256) | about 3 years ago | (#36728626)

I place a certain value on my privacy. I had one of those "loyalty cards" years ago at the nearby grocery. I'd use it to get the cheaper price on the stuff they sold me. In return I got a bunch of junk in the mail trying to sell me more stuff. When I stopped using the card I got less junk in the mail.

I had a credit card. In exchange for using the credit card the credit card company sent me stuff in the mail trying to sell me more stuff. They would also call me at home. How far and wide this information on my buying habits went hit me when I used my credit card at a gas station I don't normally visit and a couple weeks later I got a credit card advertisement in the mail from the gas station. I pay for my fuel and groceries with cash now excepting rare occasions when I forget to stop by the bank before my wallet gets too thin, then I pull out my debit card.

Not only does using cash prevent banks from selling my buying habits it also avoids the threat of my bank account information from being stolen with those hidden card readers that are popping up on gas pumps and the like. I don't even like to use ATMs any more. Not only is there a threat of my card getting copied by a hidden card reader the ATMs spit out only $20 bills. With a tank of gas costing over $60 and a grocery cart filled with food typically costing around $100 I prefer to see a real live teller so I can get $50 and $100 bills, that way my wallet doesn't get so fat and I can still buy what I need.

Now, I just wish those vending machines would take $2 and $5 bills. With a bottle of soda costing around $1.50 it makes sense to me to take the larger bills. This is also because I've had to not buy a drink because my wallet is full of $5, $20, and $100 bills.

All the crap in the mail, and the phone calls interrupting my supper, stopped for the most part once I got rid of my credit cards. Not using a debit or credit card for most purchases does mean a few more trips to the bank and having to pay for gas inside the station but that is a minor inconvenience. The bank is within walking distance of my house, and I'll often go into the gas station anyway when I travel to get a snack or use the restroom. It keeps the junk mail and cold calls down.

Re:I chose to opt out (2)

green1 (322787) | about 3 years ago | (#36729056)

I have to admit that I use my credit card for pretty much everything, they pay me a cash dividend, and as I always pay my balance in full on the due date, they never charge me a penny of interest or other fees. It's convenient, and it saves me money.

I have received a total of 2 phone calls from the credit card company since signing up for the card 10 years ago. The first was them trying to sell me on a "premium" card with yearly fees. I declined and asked to stop receiving such offers. I've never been called for one again. The second was their fraud department, and they had legitimately flagged a purchase I didn't make, they refunded the purchase, cancelled my card, and couriered me a new one right away.

I have received 7 pieces of mail from the credit card company since signing up, 4 included new cards (initial card, replacement for the fraud case, replacement for expiry, "upgrade" to chip) the other 3 were offers to increase my credit limit (with no catch other than the responsibility that comes with being able to borrow larger amounts of money at a time)

I have never received a single ad by phone, mail, or email, that I have any reason to suspect has had anything at all to do with my credit card usage. The most I have ever had was the small box at the bottom of my monthly bill suggesting I upgrade to one of their "premium" cards with yearly fees, it's unobtrusive, and it's from the credit card company themselves, I always decline.

I don't know if Canadian privacy laws are just that much better, or if my bank is just a little less corrupt, but that's been my experience so far.

Re:I chose to opt out (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 3 years ago | (#36729474)

I must use a respectable bank (local Credit Union) because I never see any correlation between junk mail and the stuff I buy with my card, I don't get a whole lot of junk mail and cold calls on average once a month. I buy EVERYTHING with my card and get annoyed when stores don't accept cards and will actively avoid such stores where possible. I hate change as it usually gets put by the side until you either lose it or get it together and put it in one of those automated counters that spews out a gift certificate.

I do get more calls whenever I use my Bank of America card (only use it for online purchases from shady sites since I can dispute online as well) but I prefer not to use their services for anything else.

Re:I chose to opt out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729784)

Paying the cash is great, even if inconvenient to cards, but I use a Visa Check Card all the time, and I don't see any of this, I even use the godless Bank of America, and we can all agree the biggest companies are the biggest abusers. In fact the majority of my financial junk mail comes from my mortgage company... Citibank.

Despite, the real reason you don't get calls at dinner time is mostly because that type of cold calling is illegal these days, not because you stopped using your CC. Not to mention, if you just add yourself to the DO NOT CALL registry and then add a credit alert to your account (it blocks random CC mailings and requires all companies to do extra checks before assigning lines of credit).

Another reason to get rid of the mailbox (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 3 years ago | (#36728644)

It has become little more than a source of paper spam.

Re:Another reason to get rid of the mailbox (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 3 years ago | (#36728694)

You can request that bulk rate mail go to the round file at the post office. I did that and now only get real mail.

Re:Another reason to get rid of the mailbox (1)

or_is_it (1123093) | about 3 years ago | (#36729774)

wow. does that really work? i can just go to the post office and tell them to not deliver bulk rate mail? color me curious.

What's the difference? (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#36728654)

Marketer: What did blair1q buy last week?
Bank: I would be breaking the law to tell you that.
Marketer: Did blair1q buy a toilet brush last week?
Bank: I would be breaking the law to tell you that.
Marketer: If I were to send an email to blair1q asking him to buy my toilet brush, and cut you in if he does, would that be worth anything to you?
Bank: No.
Marketer: What if it was a turnip peeler?
Bank: Put the coin in the slot, please.

Rubbing your pencil over the pad to mark it with lead and expose the un-marked indentations that were left by writing on the previous sheet is about 150 years old as an intelligence-gathering trick.

This isn't really new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728676)

There is very little that is new about this. I used to work for a credit card company and we had over 100 marketing campaigns per cycle. Inserts were placed in your bill based on your habits. It wasn't a coincidence that if you bought a camera one month, there was a coupon for lenses next to your bill the next month.

Chase Bank (4, Interesting)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 years ago | (#36728724)

did this to me at the ATM today. I COULD NOT complete my ATM transaction without agreeing or denying a 2% cash back on my card if i went to a certain local italian chain (i refuse to give them more advertising). I went in and asked for a feedback form. No point in yelling at a teller for something that she has no control over. I will also be sending a formal typed and mailed letter of complaint to Chase headquarters.

Re:Chase Bank (2)

stephathome (1862868) | about 3 years ago | (#36728888)

I like that way of handling it. I pay no attention to the ads that come with any statements I get, not that I get many since paperless makes so much more sense. ATM ads are just annoying. Give me my cash without insisting I view a commercial - that's not why I put my money in a bank.

I also shop at a grocery store that doesn't have any of those obnoxious club cards. Funny thing, they just give everyone the discount and it works. They have better prices than the other stores around. Rare time that I want something from a store with a club card, I mess with their data and use my sister's number, my inlaws' number, whichever I have for that location.

Re:Chase Bank (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 3 years ago | (#36729066)

I also shop at a grocery store that doesn't have any of those obnoxious club cards. Funny thing, they just give everyone the discount and it works. They have better prices than the other stores around.

That's rare. My experience in New England has been that the chain without the loyalty cards (Market Basket) is the cheapest - even factoring in loyalty discounts and they've been kicking the asses of all the other chains that do push the loyalty cards (opening new stores while the others have been closing stores).

Same thing in the South where Publix has been kicking Winn-Dixie's ass for prices and customer satisfaction ratings (and profits).

I don't have the link handy, but there was a pricing survey conducted a few years back with one particular chain, in Arizona I think, of prices before they started pushing loyalty cards and then a year afterwards and they found that on average - even with the loyalty discount - prices were substantially higher.

Re:Chase Bank (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 3 years ago | (#36729494)

I don't have those types of stores here (except Wal-Mart). But usually you can fill out all types of false information on those club cards, they'll give them to you regardless. You get the discounts and/or points but nothing in your mailbox.

Re:Chase Bank (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729136)

You know what chase is going to do, don't you? Absolutely nothing. You'll be lucky if anyone even glances at your comment before summarily discarding it.

Re:Chase Bank (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729248)

Good call. I was thinking I would definitely cancel any account that did this to me, buy you're right; it's only fair to give them one chance to promise never to attempt that scam on you again.

Post offices need to get smart (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | about 3 years ago | (#36728744)

And offer spam filtering services for regular mail, this is getting ridiculous. I can't imagine banks getting away with this in Ireland for long. One thing to be said for the parish pump politics.

Simple problem, simple solution... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728756)

1) Customer does stuff
2) Bank notes this
3) Advertiser asks bank to send coupon to people who did that sort of stuff
4) Bank sends customer coupon

Up to this point, the banks' lawyers are right - there's no information going anywhere bad.

5) Customer uses coupon

Now, we are giving information to the advertiser about the customer. This is BAD, and possibly illegal.

Note on the one hand that it was the customer's action that led to the information leak.
Note on the other hand, however, that the customer does not know what information was to be leaked, and so cannot be said to have given consent. Consider if Macy's asks that a normal-seeming coupon be sent to people who shopped at kinkysextoys.com, using that coupon is in no way tied in the mind of the recipient to the information at stake.

So that's the problem. The solution? Include the relevant information with the coupon. That way, the customer knows what information they are giving to the advertiser, and can absolutely be said to be opting in at that point. This does run some risk of others reading the coupon, and so these coupons must therefore be treated with the same respect given to any other form of transaction history until the customer decides to disclose them publicly by using the coupon.

Re:Simple problem, simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36728900)

So that's the problem. The solution? Include the relevant information with the coupon.

No, the solution is to throw the ads in the trash (or shredder, if that's your thing) where they belong.

Re:Simple problem, simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729124)

If that's what you're doing to ads anyway, then this isn't a problem for you in the first place.

Simpsons, err, Offermatic already did it (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 3 years ago | (#36728912)

Summary says:

Banks plan to compete with Groupon and LivingSocial by targeting coupons and deals at credit card holders based on their shopping habits.

Offermatic already does this. Yes, it could arguably be "easier" if the credit card companies do this, but then one would have to go to different sites (if they have cards through multiple banks).

Okay (0)

MattW (97290) | about 3 years ago | (#36728920)

In the grand scheme of things, I'd rather get offers for stuff I want than stuff I don't. The world is filled with crap that wants my attention, and I generally ignore all of it.

So if you can target me, then that leaves even LESS attention for spammy untargeted stuff. If the net result is that:

- having me as a customer (as the bank) is more valuable because they can sell me for more and
- consequently spammy untargeted ads are less useful

I'll call that a win-win. The bank isn't getting any information about it they didn't have before. (And frankly, Groupon/Livingsocial already irritate the shit out of me with offers for facials/pedicures/tanning/teeth whitening, and other personal cosmetic garbage I don't want, and will never want.)

Tossing Technology Back (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 3 years ago | (#36728966)

With technology trying to progress to 'moneyless payments', this'll throw it back a few years.

I'm sure lots of people won't want to get bothered with advertisments for using their bank card to pay for something. Instead they'll just draw the money and pay with cash. I know I would do that. This'll move the whole aim at using mobile payments or whatever back quite a bit.

When advertisers trust, it's all over (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#36728968)

So far, what has enabled nice things like adblock to work is that advertisers don't trust the people who host their ads. But in the case of facebook and apparently the banks now, advertisers are more willing to trust leaving people fewer options if they want to stop being a marketing target.

Sounds more like banks getting into marketing biz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729020)

Using your existing purchase history, the bank sends you an offer for one of their partnered businesses. The information does not leave the bank, unless you use the discounted offer.

Google (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 3 years ago | (#36729036)

How is this anyway different from what Google does?

Re:Google (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | about 3 years ago | (#36729270)

Google isn't a bank.

I Found A Vendor Who Does One Better (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 3 years ago | (#36729044)

I found a vendor online who seems to consistently manage to allow my credit card data - including my name, mailing address, and CVV number - to be compromised virtually every time I buy something from them. All kinds of worthless shit has been purchased in my name as a result, and my check card has been replaced no less than 3 times as a result.

To top it off some of the shit gets sent to me. Anyone want "Chinese" weight-loss green tea? Yeah, me neither. Although that wasn't as much of a pain in the ass as the time I had to call a Jewish dating site and tell them I did not want to run a personal ad on their site. They were at least willing to cancel the ad and refund the money, there was a different site who did neither, and none of the sites would give me the information that was on the ad that I was charged for.

On that note, I give Kudos to Blizzard software. One time my card was used to buy a bunch of WoW credits from their webserver. I contacted them, they immediately reversed all the charges and placed my card on the "do not accept charges from this card, ever" list; which is great as I have no interest in WoW.

Re:I Found A Vendor Who Does One Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729566)

Why are you still buying from them? Why did you continue buying from them?

Two Words (3, Insightful)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | about 3 years ago | (#36729170)

Credit Union.

Please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36729630)

Would yall please stop fucking us?

Thanks,
      The Credit Card Holders

Where's the data being sold? (1)

wealthychef (584778) | about 3 years ago | (#36729702)

I think there is no data being sold. As the article itself points out, no data leaves the network, only ads go IN. I do see one bit of data has to leave the network: the user must have a cookie set or something that identifies that they are responding to the ad. The advertiser then connects the ad to your data -- but you are the one that gives your personal data. I just don't see a privacy breach here.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...