Banks Are Now Making Money Off Your Shopping Data

by Justin Weinger on July 7, 2011

bank fees, shopping data, atm fees

Some dude using an ATM. Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Apparently since banks are no longer allowed to charge astronomic ATM and general banking fees, they’ve become creative in trying to find new ways to generate revenue streams. And, as one would guess, this stream comes at the expense of their customers, albeit somewhat indirectly.

According to an article on CNN Money banks are now using your shopping and spending habits as a way to generate revenue for themselves:

Many of the nation’s leading banks are using information about their customers’ shopping habits — how much they spend, where they shop, what they buy — to make money.

Print Based on that data, retailers are offering targeted discounts via the banks through text messages, email and online bank statements.

The banks don’t actually hand over your data to retailers. Instead, retailers describe what type of customer they’d like to target and the bank then sends the deal to customers who fit the profile. When the customer cashes in on the deal, the bank gets paid a commission.

While this seems relatively unobtrusive – it’s not coming directly out of your pocket after all – the whole thing still makes me feel a little uneasy since it feels a big Big Brother-esque. I don’t need everyone to know everything about me, sharing stuff back and forth for mutual gain. It’s just not my thing.

But, for those a little less concerned than me, the article goes on to state the benefits of programs like this:

“It’s better than Groupon and LivingSocial,” said Aufseeser. “Consumers are now going to see offers they’re actually interested in because they’ll be based on spending behavior.”

What do you think about this program? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts after you enjoy this clip from Louis CK.

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