According to a recent Reuters article, MasterCard believes that the selling of data to retailers, banks and governments will be big business for the company in the future. MasterCard handles more than 2 billion customer payments and can generate that data in real-time to map consumer behaviour – making the data available to retailers and other companies to forecast and predict consumer and citizen spending habits.

“Retailers are fantastic at using the data they have available about how people shop in their store, how their inventory turns over, but what they don’t know is what happens outside their store,” said Ann Cairns, MasterCard’s President of International Markets. “The data we’ve got is ubiquitous across the whole market. We can help retailers see what they need to do to capture more sales.”

Although not a traditional source of revenue for MasterCard, “other sources” of income – which includes the selling of data — grew at 22 percent in the first quarter this year, bringing their total to $341 million. This figure outpaced “the growth of total revenue dominated by payments processing, which rose 14 per cent to $2.177 billion.”

Interestingly, MasterCard recorded a spike in spending in Brazil ahead of the World Cup on groceries and a drop in spending on luxury goods, which Cairns said was due to the rise in food prices. Data like this, Cains continued, could be extremely valuable for companies like Nike and Adidas who are hoping to sell $300 soccer boots during the competition. Given that MasterCard is the worlds second largest debit and credit card company, with troves of data, examples like this could have huge implications for the way businesses operate in the future.

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