Whenever you use plastic, you are creating a data trail for others to follow. (This can also include debit cards, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll mainly address credit cards.) Whenever you use your credit card, what you purchase goes on record. And it may start affecting your credit score. At the very least, some credit card issuers might use the information to decide whether to or not to cut your credit line. Here is something from CreditCards.com that addresses this issue:
As credit card companies continue to tighten their lending standards on card users, some are using purchasing data — gleaned from millions of card transactions processed daily — to weed out who may or may not be good credit risks.
Have you used your credit card at merchants specializing in secondhand clothing, retread tires, bail bond services, massages, casino gambling or betting? Your credit card issuer may be taking note — and making decisions about your creditworthiness based on your purchasing behavior. The reason: Buying used clothing or retread tires may be an indication of financial distress and a preamble to missed credit card payments or defaults.
Now, you may not be a credit risk, but instead may be a frugal shopper. But that won’t matter to issuers. Other things that credit card issuers might take note of include increases in spending, and even activity on other cards and other loans.
The positive side of this is that credit card issuers can use the information to monitor your account for suspicious activity and notify you if something looks suspicious. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of the benefit to you stops. For the most part, card companies just want to be able to make sure you aren’t a big credit risk.
Obviously, the only way to avoid such scrutiny is to use cash, which can’t be tracked in the same way. In the end, if you choose the convenience of plastic, you are giving up some privacy.
Image source: Daylife