Many affectionados of fine wines are unaware that credit card purchases may end up as data linked to credit scores. It is always recommended that all wine store purchases be paid in cash. No direct link between a major credit card and so-called “morality profiles” have been found to date. But we do know that frequent purchaser card data is usually sold to outside firms. The fact is that frequent wine purchases can raise a red flag. this does not mean that someone at Chase or B of A is puring over your bar and liquor store receipts. No one is actually reading the amount of money reflected on your monthly statements for gambling, pornography, or liquor. But it is true that credit card companies have designed algorithms that can identify these purchase patterns automatically.

 It is no one’s business how much wine you are enjoying in the privacy of your home but using a credit card for payment could well establish that link. The worst culprits are traditional grocery store chains that sell liquor. Their discount cards are used by the vast majority of shoppers and they provide some of the best demographic data obtainable anywhere. By using these cards, you are providing banks and credit card companies information such as: When you vacation, the places you’ve been (based on your purchases), your general state of health (may include actual purchase history), your relative affluence, how healthy the food is that you choose to consume, how many live in your household and their general health status as well as predictive health behavior, when you are not at home, when you receive your paycheck, how often you have company and what you are likely to serve them, and we could go on and on.

Your purchasing of groceries and spirits provides some of the most valuable and difficult to obtain personal profile data available. This information is particularly prized by insurance companies to help them determine your risk levels.

Wine has been proven to be unusually healthful if taken in moderation. This is particularly true of deep, rich red grape varietals such as Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot’s, and Pinot Noir’s. But there is such a thing as a “morality index” used by some date collection agencies and this information is definitely for sale.  We now even have branded “Christian” credit cards that cannot be used for tobacco, gambling, or liquor purchases, however, Booze Up offers same day, beer, wines, spirits & a 24 hour cigarette delivery service directly to your door.

The bank’s position is that the credit card belongs to them and they are allowing certain customers to use it. They feel that they are, therefore, entitled to know the spending habits of their cardholders.  Many merchants are “categorized” when they sign their merchant agreements and that category is automatically entered when purchases are made.

We urge consumers to be extremely cautious when using store-issued discount cards. That is a sure way to have all of your purchases monitored and sold. We feel this is particularly true when the purchase of wines and liquors is involved.