MasterCard Wants To Know What You Drive, How You Drive It, Using Card Data

In our view, modern corporations all strive to emulate Santa Clause the best they can; they’d like to know when you’re sleeping, when you’re awake, what you do, who you see, where you go – basically, everything. Information is power, and with more data collection and analysis tools at their disposal than ever before, the average 21st century business entity is poised to use that power to target and exploit consumers like never before.

On that note, information about our cars and our driving habits is in danger – not only from the sort of telemetry made possible by things like GPS and “safe driving” insurance discounts, but from how and where you use your credit card, as well. As Autoblog reports, MasterCard International is seeking a patent for technology that can scan a user’s purchasing habits in order to surmise what sort of car they drive, and how they drive it.

The data collected from MasterCard customers could include the locations and brands of gas stations visited, the amount spent on fuel (and ergo, a rough estimate of miles travelled in a given span), the quantity and sort of repair or parts purchased, and of course, vehicle-purchasing information. All of this information is of course quite valuable to advertisers and insurance companies, and MasterCard claims that collecting such data in this way would be far less expensive than conducting surveys. Indeed, that’s most likely the case on MasterCard’s end; the credit card company might even turn a profit selling customer information.

We rather doubt that would be reflected in your interest rate.

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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