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Visa and MasterCard Tracking Your Online Purchases

People that are concerned about their online privacy are not going to like this one bit. The two largest credit card networks, Visa and MasterCard, are now embarking on a new technology whereby they can target card holders for advertisements based on past purchases.

So every time a credit card transaction takes place for an online purchase that information will be tracked and stored for that particular individual. Visa and MasterCard will then sell that information to companies that specialize in targeted advertising.

So let’s say for example you use your Visa card to buy a new lamp online. Now you will see other related merchandise popping up as advertisements on the sites you visit. So for our lamp example you could see, for instance, ads for other housewares related items such as lightbulbs and lampshades.

Make no mistake about it folks, this is a very effective way of reaching target markets. There are no better prospects on the planet for goods and services than those that have already purchased similar ones. They are the most valuable consumers of them all because they are the most likely to buy again.

Visa has already applied for a patent whereby they will collect personal details on individuals and store them on databanks. It is, plain and simple, profiling. A very common practice in the retail world. After all, the first law of selling goods and services is to know your market.

This is the very information that companies such as Google, which earns billions every year selling targeted ads that appear on their search results, are absolutely and single-mindedly searching for. Gathering as much information as possible on potential consumers is almost incalculable in value.

You can bet that other credit card companies including American Express and Discover are well aware of their older and larger counterpart’s activities in this area and are scrambling to come up with ways to track the spending habits of their respective cardholders as well.

To track the spending habits of cardholders, however, isn’t nearly as easy as one might think. New and different methodologies to accomplish this in a cost-effective manner are currently being developed in earnest. The credit card network that comes up with the best and most efficient tracking system will have a big head start.

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