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What Happens With Your Personal Shopping Data?

Stocks in this article: V MA GOOG

NEW YORK ( LowCards.com) -- Think twice about what you buy with a credit card because your personal shopping information is collected by Visa (V), MasterCard (MA), banks, credit card issuers and smart wallets, then sold to advertisers and marketers.

Like it or not, advertisers and businesses want to know about your spending habits so they can target you to buy their products and services. Credit card networks and issuers have enormous databases of purchase and shopping data which they aggregate, package and sell.

Think twice about what you buy with a credit card if you don't like information about you being sold to advertisers.

Every purchase you make says something about you. This data are collected and you are grouped with others who have similar interests and spending patterns. Businesses then deliver ads aimed specifically to your group.

For years, "cookies" have been used to gather information about your online behavior to create a personal profile and target ads based on that profile. Access to transaction data from your debit or credit card fills in the gaps with purchases you've made in the offline world.

Your name, Social Security number and bank account are never disclosed to the business or merchant. Customers are represented by numeric codes so individuals remain anonymous.

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