Sunday, 24 May 2009

Invisible money

I was just listening to a podcast (Planet Money - They Know You) about how much a credit card company can learn, from what you use your card for, about how they might successfully persuade you to borrow money, and, more urgently these days, exactly how likely you are to pay it back. Apparently, one predictor of paying is the purchase of birdseed. People who feed birds, it seems, generally pay their debts.

Now, I haven't currently got a credit card. I did have one, but it was recently cancelled - unprompted - by the provider, because I hadn't used it for about five years. I earn more than I spend, and I don't need to borrow money.

But I do use a debit card, so my bank obviously knows, or could know, what I spend money on with that. It struck me, however, that my tango hobby is virtually invisible. It's almost entirely cash transactions. So my bank is almost unaware of it.

The obvious exception is the purchase of shoes. But even then, five of my nine pairs of dancing shoes were purchased for cash, three of them second hand. Only two of the pairs purchased with a debit card are, strictly speaking, tango shoes. And of those, one was purchased online and was probably billed not by the seller, but by some outfit that provides card processing services for a fee.

Another hobby - knitting - is visible; I spent sixty-four quid yesterday in a yarn shop.

But tango is almost private. I think I like that.


Tangocommuter said...

Tango might be invisible to your bank -- but not to Google! But perhaps we aren't individuals to Google to the same extent as we are to our banks, so in a way it's not so scary.

Anonymous said...

There is definitely a quality of "anonymity" in Tango. Most of us only know each other by first name. And sometimes only a nickname...

Joli said...

Actually what is freaky about google, are the ads that pop up in Google mail which correspond to the email you receive.

msHedgehog said...

@Joli - those are bizarre, aren't they? Although in a way less annoying than totally irrelevant ads. And sometimes funny when they get it a little bit wrong.