A growing number of us are uncomfortably aware that it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a level of privacy while online but it can still be shocking to discover the extent of the level of information that banks and other organizations know about you.
There are a number of financial stories that you can read on a site like journeytobillions and one story that is often causing headlines is the way personal data is shared around without you having the level of control that you would expect.
Here is a look at what is going on.
What the banks say
A good starting point would be to get an insight into what the banks are saying publicly about their methods of collecting and analyzing personal data.
The official line presented by banks is that they are justified in gathering personal information about their customers as it helps them to provide a better service and offer customers features and products that are more tailored to their own personal circumstances and requirements.
If you are moving home or starting a family those are two typical scenarios where your personal finances might be changing. However, many would argue that it is up to you to volunteer this information and request additional financial help as and when you need it, rather than being targeted because they have these sort of personal insights about you.
Anticipating your needs
There is likely to be a percentage of readers who are comfortable with the idea of their bank anticipating their changing banking needs and offering them loans or facilities at a time they need them most, but others will have serious reservations about that scenario.
A powerful combination of big data and artificial intelligence means that it is now easier than ever before for a bank to know enough about you as a result of mining data to be able to offer a tailored banking service.
A wider problem
Even if you accept that your own bank can harvest data about you in order to offer a better service you should feel less comfortable about the prospect of other banking organizations, who you do not currently have a relationship with, having access to the same level of information.
What all this means is that you could be targeted by the banking industry, in general, with a view to creating a relationship with you that doesn’t currently exist.
Some potential benefits
In the interests of balance, it should be pointed out that harnessing such a large amount of data can also have a positive impact on banking services as well.
For instance, if a high percentage of call center queries are asking about the same problem the bank could use the call data to identify a potential problem that they could fix so that customers no longer have to call for a resolution.
Whatever view you take of the fact that banks and other organizations have so much personal data about us all at their fingertips, it is clear that this something that is going to become more prevalent as the digital and online era evolves.