Credit Cards - what exactly happens when you use your credit card in a shop

  1. Hey

    I have to make a small presentation on how credit cards are part of a system that enables to file you (like see what your tastes with what you buy, ect).

    So, anyone know any good websites or can give me any information on the technical parts ?

    Like how services or organization , can find information about you (from your credit card) ?
    Like what exactly happens when you use your credit card in a shop, or on internet ?
    ect ect
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    I googled for a bit and couldn't find anything, sorry!
     
  4. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I believe credit cards are protected by privacy laws that prevent third parties from looking at your purchases and targeting you with ads.

    "Discount cards," on the other hand, like those used in most grocery stores, have no such legal protection (in fact, the agreement you sign permits them to do anything they wish with the data).

    - Warren
     
  5. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    I was thinking the same thing about department store credit cards.
     
  6. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's probably also true, Greg. However, that's an agreement you make with that one specific store, because your transactions go through it's computers. The general public doesn't have access to that data.

    - Warren
     
  7. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
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    Indeed, that's the whole point of those discount cards. Since anyone and everyone can get one, and there's no fee to get them, it would have been cheaper for the store to just put stuff on sale without spending so much money on printing cards...if they weren't using the data to track people's buying habits to better tailor their advertising.
     
  8. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Well, they also encourage repeat customers.
     
  9. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Needing to buy groceries does that. :biggrin: It might have worked that way when they first came out, but when every store has a card, and everyone has a keychain full of them, I don't think it's particularly effective at that anymore.
     
  10. Hey, and can welfare agencies use them ?

    like if someone who had a heart problem had a heart attack, and the angency sees that that person has purshased 20L of beer in one week, and so decides not to pay because that person acted irresponsibly
     
  11. I was a network consultant at one of the two big Credit Card companies for a while. You wont find this information easily because Credit Card companies are tied by strict banking laws. It Doesnt matter if its a "branded" credit card or not. Visa, MasterCard Amex ,etc actually only sell a connectivity and consolidation service. The Banks hold most of the information on you. The Banks actually own the Credit Card companies as well, which prompted MasterCard to go Public (only a proportion of its shares) as they are all treading on legal issues with regards to colluding. (How can competing banks own both the largest credit card companies and expect fair competition). So to increase consumer confidence in the brand they went public and opened their financial records.
     
  12. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    There was a case when i lived in the US, a customer at a big name store slipped in the store and was suing them for $<very large amount> from their loyalty card system they found he had bought a large amount of alcohol and threatened to use that in court if he sued.
    His lawyers "took the store to the ****ing cleaners" (to use a legal phrase) for threatening this.
     
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