Read the fine print. We’ve all heard this advice, but most of us don’t take it when it comes to the pages of information that arrive with new bank accounts and credit cards. These pages contain information on the terms of your account as well as an explanation of the privacy of your financial information. It is important to understand what the financial institution plans to do with your personal information. That is why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends reading the privacy notice from your financial institutions.
What Is a Privacy Notice?
Privacy notices explain to consumers what information a financial institution collects, whether they intend to share it with other companies, and what limitations you can put on the sharing of your personal information. You may receive the following privacy notices from your bank, credit union, insurance company, or store credit card issuer:
Initial privacy notice. This is issued when you first open the account or buy a policy. You should read it and ask an employee to explain anything you don’t understand.
Annual privacy notice. Your bank, mortgage company, and credit card companies are required to issue annual privacy notice reminders.
One key piece of information that will be included in the privacy notice is what you can do to limit the amount of sharing that occurs with your personal information.
What You Can Opt Out of
If a financial company doesn’t plan to share your information except as allowed by law, the notice will say so. In this instance, you don’t have a right to opt out. If they do have a policy of sharing information with other companies for marketing purposes, you have the right to opt out, meaning you do not grant them permission to share your information with any company that is not part of the same corporate group as your financial institution. There are some exceptions to this opt-out rule, but, if you are worried about protecting your personal information, your best bet is to ask for instructions on how to opt out and to do so within 30 days of opening the account.
The Consumer Law Group, P.C. Protects Your Rights
We are dedicated to protecting consumers from violations of their rights by creditors, debt collectors, car dealerships, and auto manufacturers. If you feel that your rights have been violated, contact our office with the form on this page. We will get back to you shortly.