ABN AMRO temporarily stops sending clients personalised offers based on payment data

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Last week the media published several articles on ABN AMRO using clients’ payment data to send personalised offers.

Dutch new broadcaster NOS investigated this matter because last month ING announced a plan to analyse clients’ data in order to send them personalised offers. In response, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) called on banks to reconsider this kind of marketing practice. Ahead of the outcome of a meeting with the DPA, ABN AMRO has stopped using payment data in its marketing communications.

ABN AMRO has indeed used payment data to send clients personalised messages or special offers for its own products and services. We do this if we believe it is relevant to clients and in their interests. For instance, we notify clients returning to the Netherlands from abroad that their bank card is still set to world coverage if they have not changed this back to the standard setting. We do this in order to prevent fraud. And we remind clients with an interest-only mortgage that they can make additional payments on their mortgage when they have the financial means to do so.

Everything ABN AMRO does on this front is based on a number of conditions. First of all, is it allowed? The precursor to the current General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act (WBP), allowed banks to make these kinds of offers for their own products, within certain guidelines. This is still allowed under the new regulation. We want to talk with the DPA in order to clarify how their request should be interpreted. Pending the outcome of this meeting, the bank has decided to stop sending clients commercial messages based on their payment data.

Strict guidelines

When considering whether to use clients’ payment data, the bank has always adhered to strict guidelines. Whether or not it is legal is not enough; we also check whether the message will benefit our clients. If not, we do not use the data. If these conditions are met and we use the data, we then monitor how clients respond to the message. A large majority of our clients appreciate the messages and special offers they receive from ABN AMRO. Clients who do not appreciate receiving these messages and offers can inform the bank and we will stop sending them immediately.

All clients can turn off the setting in Internet Banking allowing the bank to use their data for personalised tips and special offers.

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