Google reportedly has access to data on roughly 70 percent of debit and credit purchases made in the U.S., though it isn't clear which partners have helped them to obtain that data. Recent reports suggest that Mastercard might be one of them.
Google has reportedly spent millions of dollars on purchasing debit and credit card records from Mastercard in what's been described as a secret deal, that enables them to allegedly track much more than you might be aware of.
The data that they receive from the purchase helps them to get a better idea of whether or not an ad that was seen online, later turned into a sale in a physical store location. And they've allegedly had access to this data for some time now, after reaching a deal that allegedly took them several years to finalize.
Google has the ability to track you even if you turn off your location history.
Would most people care that they are being tracked?
One previous survey that was conducted by a research firm known as Forrester had discovered that roughly one third of Americans would stop shopping online with a company if they knew it was tracking their behavior, and even more, roughly half of them, would stop if they knew the company was monitoring their behavior in stores.
Mind you, this survey was conducted several years ago and perhaps there are many more people today who are aware of or who wouldn't mind being tracked. For those who take the effort to try and disable their tracking settings though, this might come as a surprise to them.
A separate study that was conducted by SurveyMonkey paints a different picture and suggests that we might not care as much about privacy as we think we do.
With the data collected, it's alleged that Google was able to put together a special tool for their advertisers that's known as the Store Sales Measurement tool. The tool as announced last year. It's reported that this tool is in testing phase with several advertises right now.
Both Google and Mastercard say that they might not have as much access to your data as you'd think, despite recent reports suggesting otherwise. Mastercard has stated:
“[they] do not know the individual items that consumer purchases in any shopping cart—physical or digital..... No individual transaction or personal data is provided. That delivers on the expectation of privacy from both consumers and merchants around the world. In processing a transaction, we see the retailer’s name and the total amount of the consumer’s purchase, but not specific items."
Same goes for Google, they also claim that they don't have the access to personal information from debit or credit card partners.