MasterCard Expands Grasp and Value of Your Buying Habits

MasterCard Expands Grasp and Value of Your Buying HabitsIt’s referred to as Big Data, a digital-age term that puts a value on how, when and where consumers spend their money.
MasterCard is already quite familiar with the shopping patterns of its card holders, but with the just announced equity stake in Mu Sigma, a big data analytics company with a base in both Chicago and India, the card payments giant is delving much deeper into Big Data.
The second largest credit card network will now combine its “aggregated and anonymous” consumer buying information with Mu Sigma’s expertise in analyzing such data and providing products for companies seeking new customers and those trying to expand customer loyalty.
Citing research by Wikibon, MasterCard said the Big Data analytics market stood at just over $5 billion in early 2012, and is expected to grow at an incredible rate that will put it at $50 billion by 2017, a ten-fold surge.
However, “analysts predict there will soon be a shortage of talent necessary for organizations to take advantage of big data,” MasterCard said in its statement announcing the Mu Sigma partnership.
What attracted MasterCard to Mu Sigma?
MasterCard believes that Mu Sigma’s more than 2,500 “decision science” professionals can solve the complex challenges within the digital landscape facing its corporate customers in the fields of pharmaceuticals and healthcare, financial services, insurance, consumer packaged goods, and retail.
“The data analytics market is rapidly growing as customers seek real time insight allowing them to better connect with their consumers through highly relevant products, offers and services,” said Gary Kearns, Executive Vice President, Information Services for MasterCard Advisors.
What does all of this mean to consumers using MasterCard? It means the more you use your credit card, the more Big Data players are tracking your habits, anonymously they insist.
The Federal Trade Commission in December ordered nine data brokerage companies to provide the U.S. agency with information about how they collect and use data about consumers. The FTC said it will use the information they gather to review privacy practices in the data-broker industry.
Gary Kearns, MasterCard executive vice president, explained to Business Insider that the payments network will not actually sell the details of customer transactions, but the products derived from this data.
Kearns: “We aggregate information across the 34 million merchants who accept MasterCard, and create analytics, reports and insights off this rich data. We do not sell the actual transaction data – we sell products like benchmarking reports (how is my business performing compared to other merchants?), and analytics (how can I better understand what my customers might want to purchase?)”
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