How to Increase Value in Credit Card Transaction Data

Dec 18, 2007 1:53 AM  By

Nearly one in three consumer purchases in the U.S. is made with a payment card—credit, debit or prepaid. And $40 of every $100 spent by shoppers is in a form other than cash or check.

That means you can learn a great deal about your customers at the point of sale.

They are already aware of your brand and know you exist. But you can build the relationship by getting insights into their interests and preferences.

The magnetic strip on most cards contains multiple lines of information. This may vary with the financial institutions that issue the card cards, but most contain the card holder’s name and address—at the least.

But your use of this data depends on your contractual agreement with the card issuer. The service agreement will detail what can be collected from the magnetic strip, how it is used, and for what duration.

What do you do if the agreement limits the use of data to customer name only? Third-party data service providers can fill in the gaps with the customer’s address, shopping preferences, annual income, etc.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to review state laws governing the collection and usage of information. Several states have passed bills restricting
the manner in which credit card data can be obtained at point of sale. Some also prohibit companies from holding on to the data maintained on the card’s magnetic strip, known as track data, shifting the burden of credit card breaches from banks to merchants.

Denise Hopkins is the vice president of marketing and product development for Experian Marketing Services and can be reached at