| October 25, 2011

Credit card purchases used to create targeted ads

If the world’s two largest payment processors have their say, consumers’ credit card purchases may soon be used to create targeted online ads.

Both Visa and MasterCard are now working to develop technology that will allow them to use the credit card purchases consumers make to create targeted online ads, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The companies store lots of data about consumers’ shopping habits both in the real world and online, and believe they can profit heavily from selling them to advertising companies.

However, there are still significant technological hurdles that would stand in the way of creating the ideal ad creation system, the report said. The biggest obstacle would be linking online ads to real-world purchases in relatively short periods of time. For instances, the companies hope to one day create a system that sends weight loss ads to consumers who just bought fast food.

Targeted ads are becoming quite popular online but leading to a pushback from privacy advocates who want consumers to have the ability to opt out of having their browsing and purchasing habits tracked.

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