By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Every time you use your credit card, your bank or credit card company is watching and taking notes. “It looks at where you shop, how often you shop, what you’ve purchased,” explained Mark Johnson of the Loyalty Marketers Association.

Experts say all that information is worth big money. According to Johnson, some banks make deals with certain retailers in an effort to get you to try their products by tracking what you are interested in.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

“What that allows banks to do is amalgamate all this information. [They] cross-reference it with what we know about your income, your lifestyle, life-stage,” he explained. The result is marketing offers specifically tailored to you.

Some banks and credit card companies are now embedding ads directly into their online statements. Oren Milgram found discounted tax software and deals on entertainment on his latest bill. He believes it is not necessarily a bad idea, depending on what the ads are. “I’d like to see relevant offers,” he said.

See: Consumer Articles

A great marketing tool for banks and the retail partners, but it is a practice that worries some privacy experts. “It’s just another potential point for someone to lose information or for hackers to get it,” explained Justin Brookman of the center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, DC.

If you don’t want banks to share your information, you can usually opt out. But Brookman believes that won’t protect you entirely. “They can share with affiliates or share with other companies under the same corporate control,” he said. “You can’t stop them for using it for other purposes you might not expect.”

Oren says he’s OK with the ads, at least for now. “Like most consumers, I’m concerned about my privacy and as long as I have a way to opt out or opt in; I’m comfortable,” he said.

Comments (6)
  1. h. wilson says:

    Who cares ? If you’re straight and not doing bad stuff, what the Hell. There are worse things being done to you every day by your elected and appointed officials. If you live in Mass, this outrage is way down on what should be getting your attention; $500,000 unused “sick pay” upon retirement, some old bum in Lawrence making $145,000 a year and spending 15 hours a week working for it, state cops getting $100,000 pensions, and the list goes on and on aided and supported by what we call a legislative body. We live in a state that will make the Greek economy look good in a couple more years.

    1. Barrie says:

      state cops getting 100,000$ pensions? wow, you don’t think that’s even a LITTLE bit deserved for putting their lives in danger every single day they do their job? besides, in about 2 years, because of the mismanagement in the MA budget, there won’t be any more pensions for anyone.

      i could care less if my credit card company knows where i get my gas. that’s the only thing I use my credit card for anyway. if you don’t want them to know, DONT USE ONE. it’s pretty simple.

  2. Jax Riley says:

    Who cares? I care…if you understood the overall picture…this is just another way that is being used to eventually control us and very well could be used against you in the NWO. Wake up and open your eyes.

  3. Mike L says:

    Oh No Jax! Someone’s going to find out I shop at best buy and get coffee at Starbucks! My privacy’s ruined!! I’m going to lose sooo much sleep. It’s your uber privacy libs that whine about everything that are hurting this country.

  4. Mary. L says:

    they are just taking advantage of the people in ma, and since the people like to stay drunk most of the time they dont care.

  5. CEO says:

    It’s simple, pay cash for everything. You’re only helping the banks by using your credit or debit card. They collect a fee from the merchant on every transaction. They may even charge you a fee or interest, even if you’re using your own money. Then they sell the data they collect from your buying patterns to marketing companies to exploit you.

    Cash is king.

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