Fact Check: Do JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, And Other Big Banks Sell Spending Data To Advertisers?

Fact Check: Do JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, And Other Big Banks Sell Spending Data To Advertisers?

spending data

Fact Check: Do JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, And Other Big Banks Sell Spending Data To Advertisers? Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr

Everyone by now knows that social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and search engines, such as Google, tailor ads based on your online behavior. Add big banks to the list of companies that sell your spending data to advertisers.

Chase Bank, and others, use data from bank card purchases to pitch similar products, and in the process receive kickbacks by selling your information to merchants. 

Back in November 2020, Wells Fargo started customizing retail offers for individual customers, joining JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, PNC, SunTrust, and several smaller banks, Courthouse News reported.

“Some banks use your data to market to you directly, or through affiliates. Some, including major players such as Bank of America, Citi, Capital One, Chase, Discover Bank, and HSBC, allow non-affiliated outside companies to market to you. These banks allow customers to opt-out of such marketing – but you have to know it takes place and then go through all the trouble of figuring out how to opt out,” Forbes reported.

While Google or Facebook attempt to figure out what you’re interested in buying based on your searches, web visits, or likes, “banks have the secret weapon in that they actually know what we spend money on,” said Silvio Tavares of the trade group CardLinx Association, whose members broker purchase-related offers. “It’s a better predictor of what we’re going to spend on.”

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Consumer advocates aren’t too happy about this development.

“Ten years ago, your bank was like your psychiatrist or your minister — your bank kept secrets,” said Ed Mierzwinski, a consumer advocate at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Now, he says, “They think they are the same as a department store or an online merchant.”