Last month, I tried to find out what Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card from Chase. Neither Chase nor Amazon would give me a straight answer. In fact, Chase's spokesperson, Mary Jane Rogers, gave me a wrong answer in telling that Amazon fell into a category that it did not.
Rogers felt badly about that and reached out via email to apologize after the story came out if you could anything to help. I told her I wanted to know what Amazon is about. She came back with this:
"As a third-party partner of Chase, Amazon does not receive customer data from Chase that is necessary to administer the program. For example, Chase provides rewards balances to enable purchases with points purchases, "Rogers wrote. "However, Chase does not provide Amazon with any individual transactional data at specific merchants."
That sounds reassuring on its face, but I speak with an anonymous source of chase and Amazon works. "Chase and Amazon are not transparent about what intel changes hands."
"Chase says to Amazon," Your consumers like to do these things. They spend on this, or in aggregate, '"this person said by phone. "They might even segment those consumers, but they always anonymize the consumers and deal with them in aggregate. Chase nor Amazon sees what it's a cardholder, just where they bought it, and that what Chase passes along to Amazon is not individualized.
Based on what this person told me, it sounded like $ 80 Rock n 'Play baby sleeper at Target, Amazon might see $ 80 Target, Walmart, and others. Or my purchase might have included in a larger report that $ 300,000 was spent by cardholders in my target at month.
Of course, Amazon does so because of the fact that they are all shop at Amazon, so if it gets a report about spending in a zip code, it has a pretty good idea of which of its cardholders live in that zip code.
Based on my conversation with this source, I sent Rogers the following email:
So this statement- "Chase does not provide Amazon with any individual transactional data at specific merchants" -seems to leave open a lot of possibilities.
For example, Amazon may be getting a total spend by all cardholders at each merchant each month. Or it could be getting a total spend on specific merchants by a group of people in a specific zip code. Or Amazon could be transactional data each month but coded to categories of merchants. Or Amazon could be told how much I spend on my card each month. Or Amazon could be getting a list of the merchants I spend at one point
Amazon does it all
I'd really like to get more information about what's going on with Amazon. Is that possible?
"I'm afraid our statement is as far as I can go," responded Rogers.
The most frustrating thing about this exercise is that I think the answer is actually pretty boring, yet Amazon and Chase prefer to keep what happens to the data generated by their slate gray cards in a black box.
Unless we get more laws that give you the right to ask you what are you doing with our data? Until 2020, so I can not use it to pry that particular box open yet.