Millions of bank card customers caught in data scandal

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14 Oct, 2010 Updated Thu 14 Oct 2010 09:07 CEST
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The bank data and shopping behaviour of up to 14 million customers in Germany has been systematically gathered and used to promote loyalty programmes, a media report said on Wednesday night.

Broadcaster NDR reported that Germany’s biggest electronic bank card handler, Easycash, has matched information on account numbers and the use of cards at supermarkets or petrol stations with customer data and discount cards.

The extensive collection of data could then be analysed and used, without the customer’s knowledge or approval. NDR reported the company systematically mined the data and offered it to other firms for up to €5,000 for information on thousands of customers.

The company responsible is an Easycash subsidiary, Easycash Loyalty Solutions in Hamburg. The Hamburg consumer watchdog, Johannes Caspar, described the data abuse as a “new dimension” to the scandal that was first uncovered late last month.

“The customers transparently become consumers whose data is analysed without their knowing it,” he said.

Caspar announced an immediate and wide investigation. Easycash and its subsidiary declined to comment, according the NDR.

Easycash Loyalty Solutions looks after about 14 million card customers according to its own website.

DPA/The Local/dw

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2010/10/14 09:07

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