MasterCard, the world's second-largest processor of debit and credit card payments that handles roughly 34 billion transactions per year, will soon begin selling information on customers' purchasing habits to targeted advertisers.
The company acknowledged it has had the plan in place since February, and will begin selling ad companies information about consumers who are more likely to buy luxury items or big-ticket electronics, according to a report from the Financial Times
. However, the company says that it is "committed" to protecting the privacy of individual people, and that advertisers will have very limited access to consumers' information.
For instance, MasterCard will only collect transaction data that includes credit card numbers - not that this data will be shared with ad companies - and neither will cardholders' names nor other personal details, the report said. Other payment processors, such as Visa and American Express, engage in similar programs, but with different protocols. Eduard Goodman
, the chief privacy officer for IDentity Theft
911, has a blog about the ways in which consumers can do more to protect the privacy of their personal data.
© 2003-2012 IDentity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved