MasterCard Opens Online Store

Another advancement for online shopping, but be sure to protect your privacy and your money

Do you like to shop online? If you do, one credit card company would be very happy to have your business—and they’ve developed a special place just for you. MasterCard opened an online shopping mall this week called MasterCard Marketplace. Shoppers can browse available items and access coupons, in-store events, and special discounts only available through the Marketplace. Items for sale through this new online mall include electronics, clothing, and jewelry.

This  service is only available to MasterCard holders, who must enroll in the program to participate. It’s currently free of charge, although cardholders also have the option of upgrading to MasterCard Marketplace Plus for an annual fee of $29.95. MasterCard MarketPlace Plus gives cardholders access to deeper discounts (up to 20% to 50% off selected items) as well as free shipping and exclusive sales and promotions. Some of the retailers participating in MasterCard Marketplace are Land’s End, Target, and The Home Depot.

While using this online marketplace might be convenient, it does raise concerns regarding privacy. MasterCard has partnered with NextJump, a company that tracks consumer behavior and uses the information to assist retailers with personalizing the products they offer consumers. When you use MasterCard Marketplace, your shopping habits are tracked through features such as tracking cookies in order to monitor your activity on the Website. For example, if you buy a lot of shoes on this site, you’ll start to get offers and discounts from various shoe stores.

Furthermore, in order to access the daily offers, you’ll need to link your MasterCard credit, debit, or prepaid card to their Website. Unless you choose to opt out, NextJump collects and stores payment information, which includes your name, address, card number, security code, and expiration date.

While shopping from home can be easy and enjoyable, it’s important to make sure you stay safe while shopping online. Take extra precaution when signing up for services and alerts on Websites. Use these three tips to guide you.

Carefully read the privacy notice. Find out what information is being collected about you, how, and why.

Exercise your right to opt out. If you’re given the option to prevent personal information from being collected and stored, take it. If a retailer’s database is ever compromised, your stored information could be at risk.

Educate yourself. Learn how to stay safe online. Websites like OnguardOnline.gov and StaySafeOnline.org give tips on how to protect your personal information while on the Web.

Sheiresa Ngo is the consumer affairs editor at Black Enterprise.

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