As technology advances have allowed customers a myriad of options for paying for goods and services, concerns have been raised about how technology is tracking our data and how we protect it.
In a late-2019 report by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the author noted that financial technology companies (fintech) are bridging the gap between tried and true financial institutions and newer technologies. These fintech companies are currently less regulated by government oversight than traditional financial institutions.
The report notes that, “Payment processors are companies that accept payments on behalf of other businesses. As a result, they are privy to huge amounts of information about what businesses sell and what people buy. Since most financial transactions involve credit card numbers and names, it is easy for payment processors to tie the data they collect to real identities. Some of these companies are pure service providers, and don’t use data for any purposes other than moving money from one place to another. Others build profiles of consumers or businesses and then monetize that data.”
How to Keep Your Data Safe
Thankfully in most countries there are laws about how to protect consumers’ personal data.
For example, in the U.S. the California Consumer Privacy Act “gives consumers more control over the personal information that businesses collect about them. This landmark law secures new privacy rights for California consumers, including:
- The right to know about the personal information a business collects about them and how it is used and shared;
- The right to delete personal information collected from them (with some exceptions);
- The right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information; and
- The right to non-discrimination for exercising their CCPA rights.”
Cash as Protector
While steps have been taken to protect the security of personal data, the only surefire way to keep your personal data secure is by using cash. Paying for goods and services with cash offers customers complete anonymity from profilers seeking following digital trails.
As stated by Cash Matters, a pro-cash advocacy group, “Statistics show, year on year, how the chance of receiving a counterfeit banknote is increasingly unlikely, while the chance of falling prey to in card fraud, cybercrime and online fraud is exponentially likely.”
So while the convenience of digital payments is attractive, consumers seeking to do all that they can to keep their data safe can help that effort by sticking with tried and true cash.