Whatever Is Next: Credit Profiling

'Whatever Is Next' has begun. The shock and horror is hitting that credit issuers are finding new and exciting ways to screw with cardholders. Who would have thought?! When the Mrs. had a card so many years ago (I'm thinking 7 years ago), we were out doing some holiday shopping and spent more money than usual and at stores that we didn't usually shop at. It was at our last stop of the night that they shut us down.

The card swipe came up with an odd message and a phone number for the clerk to call. It didn't "deny" the purchase, just stopped it and prompted the clerk to hold the card. They had flagged her account for the reasons I stated above - more money than usual and at stores we didn't typically shop at. After the Mrs. spoke with the Fraud department and verified who she was and that she had made the purchases, we were back on our way. Everybody thinks it's cool when they use this info to "protect us" (it's really to protect them and limit their liability, but it sells better when they say that they are protecting you). They wouldn't use that same info against cardholders, would they?

The FTC claims that CompuCredit didn’t properly disclose that it monitored spending and cut credit lines if consumers used their cards at certain places. Among them: tire and retreading shops, massage parlors, bars, billiard halls, and marriage counseling offices. "What they didn’t say was that you could be punished for specific kinds of purchases."

BusinessWeek says the worry is that companies may use race, gender, or sexual orientation to rank borrowers, and since companies never disclose their formulas for determining creditworthiness, consumers will be in the dark on what's being collected about them and how it's used.
Yes. yes, they would. Sounds about right, really. They are just following in the footsteps of the insurance industry.
  • Red sports car is riskier than grey sports car.
  • Male driver is riskier than female driver.
  • Mold claim in neighborhood is riskier than no mold claim in neighborhood.
  • Having 3 alcoholic drinks per week is riskier than 1 alcoholic drinks per week.
The underlying theme here is that they look a lot more than you think they do, and they find all kinds of ways to use it against you. The precedent has been set, and they've gotten away with it for years! Why did you NOT expect this from a credit card company?


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