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Home > Privacy and Business > Financial Privacy > The Value of Free-Flowing Financial Information > Reduced Junk Mail

Reduced Junk Mail

One of the great and unfortunate myths of the privacy debate is that information sharing, among all companies including those in financial services, leads to increased junk mail. In fact, information sharing reduces junk mail.

Companies that are unaware of the needs and wants of consumers send large amounts of postal mail trying to reach interested consumers. The companies that have an idea of what consumers want reduce the amount of mail they send, addressing it only to people who may be interested in their offerings. This reduces annoyance to the public, and it reduces waste. In a study for the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), Ernst & Young found that FSR members save $1 billion per year through targeted marketing based on shared information. Depending on how competitive the markets are, much of these savings may be passed on to consumers.

Junk mail, of course, is more a matter of convenience than privacy. Reduction of junk mail, however, is one of the benefits of free-flowing information in the financial services sector, and elsewhere. If information sharing is prevented in the name of privacy, one cost may be an increase in the inconvenience of junk mail.


Customer Benefits from Current Information Sharing by Financial Services Companies, Ernst & Young (December, 2000)

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[updated 01/29/01]

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