The bank has told savers that it intends to package together “information about the transactions on your account” with data on groups of other customers to compile reports on spending trends across Britain.
This could then be passed on to third-party companies, although Barclays insists all data will be anonymised to ensure individual customers are not identifiable and would consist of high-level account information, not personal details.
Companies have been offering anonymised data for a number of years; Tesco is a prime example, but Barclays is understood to be the first high street bank to do so. Mobile firm EE recently caused uproar after reports that it was offering details of its 27 million customers to third-parties, including the Met Police.
Under the changes, which take effect in the autumn, the bank will also start tracking customers through their mobile phones or other devices, to help protect them against fraud. If a payment is made in a certain country, Barclays will check to see whether the phone is in that country.
The move has been laid out in changes to terms and conditions, sent out to customers and will take effect from the start of October this year. It will cover all 15 million current and savings account holders. Customers will only be able to opt out of having their mobile phone tracked.
In a statement, the bank said: “We only use information in a numerical, anonymised and aggregated way as is standard practice at many companies.
“Mobile location data will be used for fraud prevention purposes only and therefore only on the occasions where this is a transaction on a customer’s account that has been picked up by our fraud detection systems.”
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