Does AMEX know what we buy?

    Hide Wikipost
Old Jun 22, 17, 11:55 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: reft
Wiki Link
[US] Retailers who have reported line-item data to AMEX
  • Autozone
  • LL Bean
  • Staples
  • Sears

Major Retailers who do NOT appear to report line-item data to AMEX
  • Amazon - does report a transaction number, but not details.

What is P-Card Data
A "P-Card" or "Purchasing Card" is a "Credit" type card used for B2B and Government transaction. It includes a lot more data about a Card transaction than just merchant, amount and date.

Credit Card Transaction Data Levels
VS/MC Credit cards have 3 data levels of processing, Level 1,2,3. With differing amounts of data reported from the Merchant to the processor, and hence to the statement of the card holder. AMEX seems to refer to a "Level II" which seems to correspond to Level 3.

Data Level 1 is your basic consumer transaction. Required data is merchant name, transaction amount and date. Today, likely 99% of transactions fall into this level.

Level 2 and 3 are for B2B including government, which is where Level 3 got started. There may be a merchant discount up to 1% per transaction for being able to handle Level 2 and Level 3. "Data Rate" may be used instead of "Level"

Level 2 data is Level 1 + Tax amount Customer code (seems to be optional now), Merchant postal code, Tax identification, Merchant minority code, Merchant state code.

Level 3 data is Level 2 + other data and line item data.
Other data
  • Ship from Postal Code
  • Freight Amount
  • Duty Amount
  • Destination Postal Code
  • Destination Country Code
  • Alternate Tax Amount
Line item data
  • Item Product Code
  • Item Description
  • Item Quantity
  • Item Unit of Measure
  • Item Extended Amount
  • Item Net / Gross Indicator
  • Item Tax Amount
  • Item Tax Rate
  • Item Tax Identifier
  • Item Discount Indicator

Unknown
  • Is previous "Purchase Card [aka P-Card]" data collection spreading into Consumer Cards?
  • If so, will this effect manufactured spend, gift card reimbursement, privacy.
  • Is this widespread: Doesn't appear to be -- yet.
  • Privacy
    Since this started with B2B and government, likely there is no privacy baked in. It may be hard to tell if Level 3 data is collected on a consumer, if this data has legal privacy protections or not, either with regard to breaches or outright sale of the data.
  • Transaction Reimbursement Benefits / Manufactured Spend
    Some transactions (Restricted Airline reimbursements) may become more difficult if full details are going back to the Card issuer.
    Manufactured spend involves Gift cards, which if itemized (in the future) could make it more difficult going forward.
Print Wikipost

Reply

Old Jan 17, 14, 11:46 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Orange County, CA
Programs: Delta PM | US PP | Hilton Gold
Posts: 288
Does AMEX know what we buy?

How often do they get a detailed receipt on what was purchased? Is it something they have to request or receive by default?
john doe iii is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 12:07 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 137
The day when the stores start sending particular codes for the purchase and the day when CC card issuers know that we are buying cash equivalents we are Doomed.
rampartmovie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 12:25 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Orange County, CA
Programs: Delta PM | US PP | Hilton Gold
Posts: 288
That's good to know. I was curious cause I received a possible fraud alert when I purchased a 500 GC and was wondering if I should have been truthful or if they even knew what i bought.

Thanks.
john doe iii is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 12:32 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 56
I think the correct answer is sometimes. In November my Amex BCP got the Staples offer for a $25 credit after spending like $75 so I went and got a VGC for $100. My next statement had this:



I was surprised to see such specific details but I still earned the Amex credit just fine (which allowed for gift cards in the fine print). I've bought VGC from grocery stores and never saw anything like this on the statement so I think it may have just been Staples that sent the info. Perhaps someone else has more insight though.
bkiminfinity is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 12:46 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,085
Originally Posted by john doe iii View Post
That's good to know. I was curious cause I received a possible fraud alert when I purchased a 500 GC and was wondering if I should have been truthful or if they even knew what i bought.

Thanks.
It depends on your credit limit and your spending habits. If you credit limit is low say $2000 then $500 is relatively large purchase since that is 25% of your overall credit limit. However if your credit limit is high say $20,000 then $500 is nothing compared to your overall credit limit and shouldn't raise any flags.

If you were using the Blue cash card for awhile and now you are trying to do MS, it can raise some flags since your spending habits are out of the ordinary.
ericdabbs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 12:57 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: ATL F-Terminal
Programs: Hilton C, Marriott Pt, Delta Pt
Posts: 249
Oh I wouldn't be so sure. Have you actually studied your statements?
If they can tell how much tips I'm leaving at restaurants, I think they probably know a lot more.
AFAIK, AMEX is the only CC company does this.

Here's another example. I bought a tablet last year and this showed up on my statement.

MM/DD/YY OFFICEMAX, INC. NNNNNN-NNN-NNN $231.11

ANDROID

I wouldn't be alarmed if you're not doing anything illegal or against the terms but I wouldn't lie to them either. They employee a lot of people. What are chances some of them happen to run into one of these forums and blogs? And their friends or families?
flyertalk77 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 1:10 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Orange County, CA
Programs: Delta PM | US PP | Hilton Gold
Posts: 288
I don't do much. I do about 1k in MS and about 2k in legit everyday spend per month.... to me in kind of blends in.
john doe iii is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 1:35 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Los Angles
Posts: 2,092
Originally Posted by rampartmovie View Post
The day when the stores start sending particular codes for the purchase and the day when CC card issuers know that we are buying cash equivalents we are Doomed.
That day the spend requirements would be very small and the signup bonus bigger to promote any new product. We may be churning and hustling the new CC applications but they are manufacturing not points but the "Money"

You really think they don't know? They have no idea what a 'blog' is? They pay/promote these bloggers with referral money, it is their marketing cost!
prasha11 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 3:06 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BOM
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 806
Does AMEX know what we buy?

My last purchase at a Mobil broke down exactly what I bought. Coffee, Pepsi, Gasoline.
LoneTree is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 3:16 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 434
If the store is a major chain, and uses a CC read that is post 1999, then yes they absolutely do.
xoxx is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 7:04 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: BOS
Programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards
Posts: 620
Originally Posted by flyertalk77 View Post
They employee a lot of people. What are chances some of them happen to run into one of these forums and blogs? And their friends or families?
It's pretty high, actually. Banks comb through blogs and forums to read about their products.
augustus21 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 17, 14, 11:59 pm
  #12  
Moderator: Manufactured Spending
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,953
Originally Posted by BarnyardRomeo View Post
you're talking about level 3 reporting. you would be well-served by reading this webpage: http://www.bluepay.com/processing-se...ard-processing
Yes, but is there a way of knowing which merchants report level 3 information?

Visa has a directory online that you can check, but is it safe to assume that the same merchants do so for Amex?
cbn42 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 18, 14, 5:16 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 97
My understanding is that level 3 is not for consumer Visa/MC cards. I've only seen it for government and corporate cards. Amex is different due to being closed loop. My FI doesn't issue AMEX so I don't know the specifics.
AnalystGuy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 18, 14, 8:39 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: US
Programs: (PM)AA UA DL SPG
Posts: 957
Is previous "Purchase Card [aka P-Card]" data collection spreading to Consumer Cards?

I started some notes on this. I had been thinking of starting a discussion, but since it's here, I'll put the notes in the Wikipost.

American Express "Level II" seems to have the same data collection fields as "Level 3" VS/MC.

I would guess if your card is swiped separately from the cash register, the data transmitted is still Level 1. When you do an online purchase or buy from a store using a more sophisticated cash register/POS system that isn't using a phone line, the data may be available for transmission.

Since this started with B2B and government, likely there is no privacy baked in. It may be hard to tell if Level 3 data is collected on a consumer, if this data has legal privacy protections or not, either with regard to breaches or outright sale of the data.

I've seen this with AMEX and LLBean (online), as well as Sears & Stapes (in store). It's listed on the monthly statement.

I am curious if Amazon or other large retailers are doing this.

A past report about Target (no, not the 2013 breach) discussed how much data they were collecting on transactions to model customer behavior and market appropriately, but nothing ever came out as to what they were reporting upstream and what they were keeping in house.

For a retailer, information on what you are purchasing probably has value, either internally or for sale.

Last edited by reft; Jan 18, 14 at 8:49 pm Reason: grammer/typo/clarity
reft is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 18, 14, 8:58 pm
  #15  
Moderator: Manufactured Spending
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,953
Originally Posted by AnalystGuy View Post
My understanding is that level 3 is not for consumer Visa/MC cards. I've only seen it for government and corporate cards.
Banks normally only provide level 3 data to customers for government and corporate cards, where it would make sense for the employer or government agency to want to see exactly what the cardholder is buying, not just how much was spent where. But if the merchant is providing level 3 data to the banks, then the bank would have this information for all cardholders.
cbn42 is online now  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread