Last month I wrote a guest article for PTMoney.com on the state of privacy versus frugality. Basically, I asked the simple question: What information would you voluntarily give up to save a buck? The fact is that we are bombarded with offers, coupons, and savings. The paper (if you get one) has a coupon section, there are tons of sites for freebies, and coupon sites are a dime-a-dozen. Amidst the swirl of opportunity are privacy sacrifices. Sometimes you can’t even realize what you give up to save. But did you know you can limit sharing of private information and still get a great deal?
Rather than a debate or structural question/answer to the problem of privacy concerns, this article will help you take action. We may be living in a state of Total Information Awareness on a societal level, but there are steps you can take to limit the sharing of certain banking information.
Each time you apply for a credit card, information is sent to the bank. From your social security number to date of birth, the data is highly important and needs to stay relatively private. We entrust our banks with these details. Thankfully, they keep their servers encrypted and have a direct interest in limiting breaches (it’s bad for business).
It’s An Opt-Out World
But much more nefarious are the detailed disclosures you’re likely voluntarily sharing. By sharing your transaction history, credit worthiness, and other personal, banking details, the bank you use can profit off of your account (to any even greater extent). There’s nothing inherently illegal about this behavior, but nowadays, you can limit much of the sharing.
Regrettably, the credit and banking organizations force consumers to opt-out, rather than opt-in to targeting, marketing, and information sharing. Until federal laws change this behavior, we must be critical consumers and do everything we can to be empowered.
How To Limit Affiliate Sharing
Reducing your information footprint with the banks and credit companies can be challenging. As mentioned, by default, you’re sharing more than you have to. It’s important to realize what you can limit and who you have to contact.
Each company operates on a different set of standards for information sharing (or privacy leaks). Read the documentation carefully, and look for a phone number on each notice to limit disclosures. The following are 5 popular companies that people bank with and links to their privacy notices:
These are just some examples. My recommendation is to search for “privacy notice (insert bank name here)” on any popular engine. Click on your bank and they should (are legally obligated to) tell you how to opt-out of secondary information sharing. If all else fails, call the number on the back of your card.