The NSA Is Watching Your Credit Card Account

The NSA Is Watching Your Credit Card Account

June 17, 2013         Written By Bill Hardekopf

It is fairly well known that the National Security Administration monitors phone conversations and online communications for signs of terrorism. What you may not realize is that they also watch your credit cards. Indeed, each swipe you make is subject to government review, should the NSA feel the need to investigate your spending habits. George Orwell’s 1984 may not have been that far off after all.

Primarily, the NSA is looking for credit card transactions that suggest bomb development or illegal movement of funds. While the government has no intentions of looking at your credit card specifically, there may come a time when your transactions pop up as “suspicious.” Of course, no action will be taken if you are just buying supplies for your home or office, but it is interesting to know that someone is watching you. It may make you do a double take the next time you reach the register.

According to Madeline Aufsesser, a senior analyst for the Aite Group, “There is a long history in the government looking at the credit card transactions in specific cases where they’re trying to solve a crime.”

The data collected by the NSA is not as specific as you may think. It details the category and purchase price of an item, but not the name of the item itself. This is a way to keep the monitoring somewhat anonymous. If they have just reasons to investigate further, they can learn more about the transaction and the person behind it. That could very well be you.


The information contained within this article was accurate as of June 17, 2013. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf