There’s a new place to get coupons: in your monthly bank / credit card online statement. Increasingly, banks are offering customized offers in their online statements that are based on your personal spending habits.
Here’s how this sorta-creepy new system works. Let’s say you buy a sweater at the Gap. In your next month’s statement you may find a 15% off coupon link in your online statement. When you click on the link you have activated the coupon. Now, the next time you shop there and use the same bank / credit card, you will get 15% off your order.
These new types of coupons are much easier than clipping coupons and even easier than using a coupon code online. The reason people don’t use coupons as much as they should is because of the inconvenience of getting them and then forgetting to use them. No such issues with these types of coupons though.
You can save even more money by purchasing items that are already on sale. Then you’ll get 15% off a purchase that is already marked down by 15%. To squeeze even more out of the deal, use a coupon code or a physical coupon for more savings.
This new way of distributing coupons isn’t just good for you, it’s good for the banks too. Banks are struggling to make the kind of money they used to make, so they’ve partnered up with retailers to make money off of them, rather than you.
Privacy issues are the main concern here. Statements should just reflect the balance on the account and a list of the recent charges. Statements should not be a portal for advertisements.
Targeting ads based on your previous purchases seems like an invasion of privacy. The banks say that the offers are given automatically and that the retailer never get access to any of your information. All the retailer will get is how many customers were offered the deal and how many redeemed it. These assurances are surely not going to sway customers who are furious about these new “offers”.
So the next time you check your balance look out for these deals because your bank might start doing it soon too.