NEW YORK (Credit.com) — Many consumers use their credit and debit cards on a daily basis to make all sorts of purchases, and now it seems one of the world’s largest processors of those purchases is willing to sell consumer data to advertisers.
MasterCard – the world’s second-largest processor of debit and credit card transactions, handling 34 billion per year – is working toward a deal with targeted advertising firms that will give those companies access to its customers’ transaction histories, according to a report from the Financial Times. In particular, these data will be used to allow marketers to more effectively identify and target consumers who are more likely to buy the products they offer.
The company has looked into such a decision in the past, but last year decided there were too many legal and regulatory pitfalls to navigate to truly be worth the trouble of entering into these partnerships with targeted advertisers, the report said. MasterCard already has the capability to use transaction histories to determine which consumers are more likely to buy certain items and is pitching that as a selling point to marketing firms.
MasterCard confirmed it has been working on the initiative in earnest since February, the report said. It also says it is committed maintaining consumers’ individual privacy, though, and that the data sold to marketers would remain anonymous and aggregated into groups, rather than identified individually. It claims the transaction data it collects is tied to credit card numbers only – though it does not share those with the advertisers for obvious reasons – and not consumers’ names or other data.