Monday, April 19, 2010

Credit card companies know you pretty well, may even troll your Facebook "friends"

Today (Monday April 19), AOL offered its visitors a “Daily Finance” article by Betsy Schiffman, “Who knows you better: your credit card company or your spouse?”, link here.

Data gathering goes on all the time, even when a cashier asks for a zip code at a supermarket and you pay by check. But, as noted before, credit card companies may be looking at the “poverty level” indicators of stores where you shop, or changes in patterns, for use of porn, etc. They also look for evidence of divorce (surprisingly, single people may look better in their eyes in many scenarios).

There’s the question of legality, and what they can get away with given recent laws in Congress. Another likelihood will be fees. Will they penalize customers who pay balance in full and don’t give them interest income (the “freeloaders”?) If so, that’s a problem, because cancelling credit cards to avoid fees will lower a FICO score even for someone who pays all bills on time.

There is even a rumor, maybe an urban legend, that some companies are using the bill paying habits of your Facebook “friends” to help score you, as if your “Friends” could help predict the level of your own financial responsibility. It sounds pretty unfounded scientifically.

I wrote about data collection on my “BillBoushka” blog (see Profile) on Feb. 29, 2008.

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