News & Resources

Financial institution selling consumer data to merchants

Aug 08, 2011 Brian Bradley

According to a recent study by an industry group, the retail sector is seeing its lowest rate of job applicants in years. The most recent Kronos Retail Labor Index showed that the ration of hires was at 3.7 percent in the month of June. And while it was higher than the 3.2 percent in May, it was still a cause of concern. One of the most important aspects for any retailer these days is knowing the behavior patterns of its customers. By studying the what the customers want, merchants will be able to better position products and services. According to CNN Money, some of the biggest financial institutions, including Wells Fargo, Sovereign Bank, Citi, USAA and Discover, have begun selling data indicating the habits of customers to retailers for money, letting them know what types of items are being bought and how much is being spent. After getting the information, the companies will target the customers to give them deals on items they may want. In some cases, customers will have to seek out short-term financing to purchase these products or services, but will be aided by having a customized offering. Merchants pay banks an average fee of 10 percent to 15 percent of the purchase price of a product each time a customer uses a discount that's generated from the bank's data, according to Cardlytics, an intermediary that works with both banks and retailers.