Tracking Transactions

By Fletcher, Jan | Independent Banker, October 1999 | Go to article overview

Tracking Transactions


Fletcher, Jan, Independent Banker


Breaking new marketing ground, MasterCard subsidiary combines bank card data with shopper behavior analysis

Every swipe of a consumer's credit or debit card in a retail transaction throws another proverbial penny or two onto a bank's balance sheet. Each card transaction also creates another valuable byte of consumer information that marketers covet.

While caution over consumer privacy has slowed some efforts to share card transaction data, MasterCard International appears to have scaled those hurdles. The card association plans to bring a new twist to the marketing landscape through its new subsidiary, Transactional Data Solutions in Purchase, N.Y.

MasterCard has offered aggregate transaction data for several years that allow credit card issuers to measure the performance of their card programs. Starting this fall, however, Transactional Data promises to match consumer behavior research with detailed transaction data, creating a powerful one-two marketing punch.

This information might be valuable to banks trying to get local merchants to join their card processing or promotional programs. The reports indicate what type of advertising media work best for reaching each particular group of shoppers. In this way, banks and merchants can decide where and how to devote their marketing dollars. And although Transactional Data identifies each bank's cardholders, the information stays within the bank.

"MasterCard knows who they are," says Greg Mazzanobile, chief operations officer for Transactional Data. "They're customers of the bank, thus only the bank has the privilege of soliciting them."

However, because Transactional Data only works with cardholder numbers and never with names and other personal data, consumer privacy is protected. For example, a bank might discover that a significant percentage of its cardholders comprise certain shoppers with higher-than-average grocery bills. The company also doesn't sell data on a store's transactions without that merchant's consent. Behavior and Action

Transactional Data's new data products, Media Advisor and Merchant Advisor, bring two components together: aggregate credit card transactions drawn from 670,000 MasterCard cardholders, and analysis from behavioral surveys taken annually from 20,000 shoppers. The aggregate credit card data reveals merchant name and location, the total transaction dollar amount and the date of purchase. It also gives the age, gender and income level of the buyer. The surveys delve into brand behavior, media behavior and the thoughts and reasons behind different kinds of consumer purchases. …

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