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Many privacy experts warn that consumers should be mindful of what they buy with plastic.How much do credit card issuers know about your purchases? Privacy questions "Obviously that is something that most credit cardholders are not going to think about," says Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego-based privacy rights groups.Credit card companies don't make the distinction between those who want to buy marijuana for medical reasons and those who buy it for recreational purposes."Most merchant services companies do not want to accept credit card transactions from cannabis businesses," says Kristi Kelly, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a non-profit trade organization for licensed cannabis businesses. Discover and American Express confirmed they don't allow cardholders to buy medical or recreational marijuana. Mastercard pleads the Fifth, acknowledging the legality isn't clear-cut."The federal government considers marijuana sales illegal, but is currently not challenging state laws that legalize marijuana sales," says Seth Eisen, a company spokesman.
Increasingly, issuers tightening lending standards are using purchasing data as a basis for increasing interest rates, reducing credit limit or both on customers considered more risky by virtue of where they shop or what types of goods and services they buy.
Experts say cardholders concerned about keeping purchasing habits private or avoiding credit score dings should consider using cash or gift, stored value or prepaid debit cards.
Ryan Deberardinis / Eye Em/Getty Images You've probably heard this priceless slogan before: "There are some things money can't buy.
Every time you make a purchase on a credit card or debit card, a record of that transaction is logged into a database of information collected by your credit card issuer.
In exchange for the convenience of using plastic, you also give up something some people hold dear -- privacy.