back to article Visa to tell shops where their punters' wallets went next

Visa has become a minority partner in Beyond Analysis in order to better exploit the 11 billion transaction records it has knocking around on its servers. Visa handles a quarter of the money we spend in the UK, and has detailed records of what we spend it on, which it reckons is ripe for better exploitation. The company isn't …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I buy my ticket to the policemans's ball I don't want them to know that my next purchase is a bag of sweets from the shop next to the local primary school...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Silly fool

      Police don't have Balls.

    2. cs94njw
      Thumb Up

      I think what they're saying is that 100 people visited your shop today. 25% bought a ticket at the station. 10% bought lunch at the pub around the corner. And 65% charged up their Oyster Card. So they won't know you're buying sweets next to the primary school (although I'd expect you'd be buying them for your little one (How much do you need to buy to justify using a debit card?!?!)), but will know that 50% of the people who boughts drinks at the ball, then paid for an escort for themselves and their blue friends afterwards.

  2. Piloti
    Thumb Down

    Opt in or opt out.....

    ... or no choice at all ?

    And can one complain to our Bank as it is the bank with whom we are a customer, not visa...!!???


  3. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    That's cash all round for me then

    Holy cow, when will these companies understand that they only get to handle our data on the understanding that its confidential! Isn't there some kind of law against it?

    If cash isn't an option, get as many cards as you can, and use them randomly, or in a pattern that defeats analysis (one per shop, perhaps).

    1. John G Imrie

      Small shop keeperes would love you

      They get stung for each transaction + rental of the scanning equipment + the cost of the phone call to connect the equipment to Visa.

      Pay cache and all those costs disappear.

      1. Hayden Clark Silver badge

        Section 75

        ... is a winner, I'm afraid, especially for the more curmudgeonly retailers of expensive kit.

        1. Piloti

          Explain ?????

          1. Hayden Clark Silver badge

            Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act

            ... makes the Credit Card company jointly and severally liable for the completion of the contract formed by the purchase.

            When you buy something with your card, effectively the card issuer buys it, and you buy it off them, by repaying your balance.

            In the event of the retailer failing to uphold their part of the bargain (e.g., not honouring a warranty, or failing to deliver at all) you are entitled to redress (a refund, usually) from the credit card company. It's then their problem to get a corresponding redress from the the retailer.

            Very useful - especially if the retailer goes bust.

      2. Tom Wood

        "Pay cache [sic] and all those costs disappear."

        And are replaced with the cost of paying someone to cash up, bank deposit charges, charges for withdrawing coins for change, insurance/security costs for keeping large quantities of cash on the premises, secure cash collection services or the risk you will get robbed on the way to the bank, etc...

        1. Starkadder
          Big Brother

          It is worth it

          Ever since the banks transferred the risk in card based transactions from themselves to me, by insisting on insecure PINS rather than secure (from the customer's point of view) signatures, I have moved to cash. It has the disadvantages you mention, but the huge benefit of anonymity. I am not going to use a card these days if I can help it for the same reason I would have avoided using one of the last government's hated ID cards, with its attendant usage records. Similarly I will not have a smart meter in my house, with its potential for snooping on my behaviour.

          Many shops operate on wafer thin margins, and the financial system may make more profit out of their card based transactions than they do themselves. I've never seen a shopkeeper complain when I've offered cash, and it can often get you a discount or favourable treatment.

  4. Code Monkey
    Black Helicopters


    They'd probably see I went to the cashpoint next. Nosey basts

    1. LaeMing


      they would see I went to the supermarket. Then my next transaction the following week also at the supermarket, ad infinitum. I get enough cash-out at the supermarket to do the rest of my week. Their own stupid fault for charging rediculous extra for >10 transactions a month.

      If they are really really clever, they can infer from this that it takes me 6 days to go through a 3-litre bottle of milk (which is what usually drives my shopping frequency).

      They would probably get a bit more variety off my corporate CC, but I doubt that would be any real-world use to them in terms of everyday consumer trends, since I am buying stock and equipment from places not on the internal orders system, so generally one-offs (if I forsee more than two purchases from the same place, I have finance add the company and pay from account).

  5. dotdavid


    " the intention of making paying for things "faster, easier and more rewarding", which is strange. We always thought that when you pay for stuff the reward comes from then owning the stuff, but we're a bit backward like that"

    Who said they wanted to make it "faster, easier and more rewarding" for *us* ;-)

    1. LaeMing


      ...the general quality and usability of most 'stuff' from shops these days, owning it simply isn't enough reward anymore, more like a chore really. Not that their idea of a 'reward' would have a hope in hades of making me feel more 'rewarded' either.

  6. El Presidente

    10 Go to a cash point

    20 take out a few hundred quid

    40 Spend it

    50 take out some more

    60 GOTO 10

    REM (DUH)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Visa wants to move towards a real-time service which would allow a shop to see where else its customers spent money today, or (if the day hasn't been a good one) where its customers have gone."

    Not that it would ever happen, but I'm sure millions of regular DPA SAR's from customers requesting with whom and for what purpose their data was shared would cost them a bit somewhere.

    The sad misfit that I am... I've always wondered what a DPA SAR 'spam' attack from masses of individuals against a single business would do. Maybe someone would care to orchestrate one so I could find out? ;)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've "consented" to this have I?

    1. Old n Cynical

      Ho hum

      Whilst I am no supporter of such data sharing (quite the opposite in fact) - where the data to be shared is that pertaining to a private individual or their behaviour - if the service is adequately 'anonymised' I see no real problem with it. But it does reflect - yet again - that Joe Public is simply a commodity to be exploited.

      The chances are all of us reading this will one day end up listed in an death certificate search and so will continue to be exploited, long after our demise. But hey, that's life!

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Well, we've just had the 'informed' bit. What more could you possibly want?

  9. pctechxp


    Not too bothered if its generalised percentages as in

    X% of your customers also shopped at Bloggs and Co today

    But not too happy about getting exclusive offers for MR A N Other

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      VISA spy report for Little Corner Shope:

      After leaving your shop today 50% of your customers made purchases at Eastwick Bible Supplies. The other guy went to Eastwick Adult Supplies.

      If your sample size is not massive it's amazing what you can read into percentages. Even Google has proven that they can't release "anonomised" data that couldn't be linked to real people.

  10. LaeMing for some small novelty item at the "Madame Whiplash's Vile Sex Acts Emporium" after every grocey trip.

  11. Adze

    So supermarkets know what you (think French vous, not tu) bought and, soon, where you went to buy the stuff they don't stock (yet - but will soon just as quickly as they can drive the price down with their buying power so it's unprofitable for the place you used to buy it to stock it any longer).

    I suspect it would likely benefit Tesco/Asda/Morrison/Sainsbury far more than it will benefit the smaller traders... once again we, the consumer, are product not customer.


    "the banker's duty of confidentiality to the customer"

    The Tournier principles...

    A bank can disclose information

    * where the bank is compelled by law to disclose the information

    * if the bank has a public duty to disclose the information

    * if the bank’s own interests require disclosure; and

    * where the customer has agreed to the information being disclosed.

    If I have not agreed to the disclosure, they may not disclose that information.

    1. SimonK
      Paris Hilton

      Plenty of wiggle room there

      "A bank can disclose information ... if the bank's own interests require disclosure."

      As a bank has a duty of care to its shareholders to maximise profits, it's own interests certainly require disclosure of any information that someone's prepared to pay it enough for money for.

      Paris as she also has plenty of wiggle room and frequently requires disclosure.

      1. Starkadder
        Big Brother

        Tell that to the Judge

        This argument would not stand up in court by itself. But a careful reading of your card's T&Cs might reveal that by using the card you gave up your right to privacy. There is also the question of who owns the transaction data - the shop, Visa, the bank, or some combination..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Visa is not a bank


  13. Ian Ferguson


    Email from Tesco: "We noticed that you did this week's £100 grocery shop in the Co-op instead of Tesco. Did you know that you could have saved around £30 by purchasing it in Tesco?"

    Just what small businesses need.

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