The Help Desk

Your tough questions. MONEY's smart answers.
Presented by

Are credit-card-linked discounts worth the privacy risk?

November 22, 2012: 6:30 AM ET

Are discounts linked to my credit card spending worth the privacy risk? — Michael, West Bloomfield, Mich.

Both online and off, your purchases often factor into the discounts you're offered. Buy baby food at the grocery store, for example, and you might get a coupon for diapers along with your receipt.

Companies such as FreeMonee and MyLinkables can offer you deals based on your past credit card spending. Details vary, but each has privacy safeguards; Free Monee, for instance, sees where you buy but not your name or specific purchases. Your bank may send you deals from FreeMonee once you've agreed to receive marketing messages, but you can opt out.

If you find tracking creepy — or if a company can't explain clearly how your data is used — skip it. And for real privacy, go off the grid: Clip coupons from the paper, shop at stores, and pay in cash.

— Stephanie AuWerter

Got a question for the Help Desk? Send it to

Posted in: Credit, Family Money
Join the Conversation
Help Desk

Got a question about your money? We want to hear it! Each week we're answering your questions on CNN, Headline News and

Your email or phone number won't be published; we'll use it to get in touch if we need more information about your question.
Help Desk Video
  • NEXT
    Not enough money in America's 401(k)s
    Despite the surging stock market bringing balances to record highs, the average Fidelity 401(k) account has less than $100,000 in it. That's just not enough. Play
  • NEXT
    Explaining Obama's myRA
    President Obama unveiled a new savings plan for retirement accounts, aimed at encouraging people to start building their nest egg. But how exactly does it work? Play
  • NEXT
    Tricks on how to save in your 20s
    Saving for your retirement in your 20s doesn't have to be a financial burden. Prioritizing your expenses is usually the first step in building a nest egg. Play
  • BACK
    Don't get fooled by Black Friday sales
    Here are some of the tricks that retailers use to make you think you're getting a deal. Keep an eye out for them while shopping this Black Friday. Play
Best Tips
Some of the nation's leading business owners, investors, and thinkers share their thoughts on rebuilding your wealth. More
These strategies can help you manage the challenges -- both emotional and financial -- of helping an aging parent from afar. More
You don't need to be fanatical to get to 780. Those in the know say these moves matter most. More
Featured Newsletters

Tips for saving and spending smarter.

Search This Column
View all entries from this: Week, Month
Help Desk
More help for your career, your investments and your budget.
Powered by VIP.