Clark Says New Discover Card Perk Is ‘Fantastic’ for This Privacy Benefit

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If you have a Discover credit card or are a Discover Bank customer, you have a new perk that could save you some future headaches.

Discover has rolled out a new benefit called Online Privacy Protection that offers consumers free help in removing their personal information from websites that collect and sell your name, address and other details to shady actors on the internet.

These people-search sites are sometimes the source for spam calls, mailings and emails that end up as a nuisance for unknowing consumers.

During a recent episode of The Clark Howard Podcast, a listener brought this perk to Clark’s attention. And Clark got excited!

“This is fantastic,” Clark said upon hearing about the new perk. “I’ve really never heard of anything like this.

“By the way, if you don’t know, the reason credit card companies now give us access to our credit score is all because of Discover. Years ago Discover started offering this to customers as a benefit, and other credit card companies were like: ‘What are they doing? This is information that we don’t want other people to have!’

“And then they realized they were paying for the credit score on you every month anyway, so why not treat it as a benefit instead of some big, fat secret. So Discover may have done a pioneering thing again here.”

Clark promised the listener, John from North Carolina, that Team Clark would investigate the details of the new Discover perk further and share what we found with everyone.

I’m here to deliver on that promise. As a Discover credit card holder, I was able to access the new benefit and explore it.


What You Need To Know About Discover’s Online Privacy Protection

Online Privacy Protection is a free benefit Discover offers to its credit card and banking customers.

Let’s do a quick rundown of what you need to know about it.

What Problem Does It Solve?

Many consumers may not know this, but there is a fairly large group of data mining websites that build online profiles about you to sell to third parties. And they’re doing it legally.

Do a quick Google search of your name and address. You may be surprised to see some of the websites that have built profiles on you that are for sale.

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Personal information found on these sites can include your name, age, address, phone number and email address. Your social security number and banking information are not available for sale on these people-search sites.

Once these profiles are built, they are both searchable for the public and also can be sold to third parties who may use them for contact lists for products, services and, in some cases, for scams.

Discover developed this benefit to help you mitigate your exposure to this use of your personal information.

This can not only reduce the number of unwanted phone calls or emails you receive, but it can also be a small part of safeguarding yourself from potential identity theft.

How Does It Work?

Discover designed a tool to help you avoid this personal privacy intrusion by automating the “opt-out” process on several of these websites.

It will also continue monitoring those websites periodically to ensure that your information does not reappear.

To get things started, you’ll simply opt in to the protection benefit on the Discover app (I’ll give you step-by-step directions later in the article), and Discover will do the rest.

Discover will send requests to 10 popular name search sites asking that your information be removed from the site, opt you out of future data collection with the sites and then monitor the sites every 90 days going forward to ensure that your information doesn’t return.

You’ll get email updates from Discover, but you’ll also be able to monitor the progress of these removals through a dashboard on your Discover app.

Here’s how Discover describes the process:

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Online Privacy Protection is offered by Discover Bank at no cost and only available in the mobile app. Approximately every 90 days we will scan for your online personal information at 10 select people search sites and submit opt-out requests on your behalf. Types of personal information found on these sites will vary and may include your name, age, address, phone number and email address. Removal will likely occur in the first 48 hours but can take longer.

Which Sites Does It Monitor?

Discover’s Online Privacy Protection monitors 10 popular people-search sites:

  • Addresses.com
  • AnyWho.com
  • InstantCheckmate.com
  • InstantPeopleFinder.com
  • Intelius.com
  • Spokeo.com
  • TruthFinder.com
  • USSearch.com
  • YellowPages.com
  • ZabaSearch.com

If you activated the benefit, it will request the removal of your personal information from these sites on your behalf.

What About the Fine Print?

You’re probably wondering if there’s a catch to this free benefit. I requested a copy of the terms and conditions to read through and search for things in the fine print that might concern potential users.

Nothing was a huge red flag for me, but I did come away with some bits of information you may find useful:

  • You must be 18 or older to use this benefit.
  • Discover makes no guarantees that the benefit will be effective in removing your information from these sites.
  • You’re giving Discover “limited authority” to act on your behalf when communicating with these sites.
  • Discover may change the sites that it chooses to monitor for this program at any time and without notice.
  • Discover utilizes a third-party service called Brand Yourself to conduct these actions on your behalf.

Here is a copy of the full terms and conditions that you can scroll through and/or download.


How To Activate Discover’s Online Privacy Protection

Setting up this new benefit is simple. I was able to complete the setup, from beginning to end, in less than a minute.

You’ll need to access your Discover credit card account or bank account through the Discover app on your wireless phone or tablet. You can download it for Android devices here and for Apple devices here.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll find a link to the new benefit under the “Card Benefits” heading that is just below the “Cashback Bonus” tracker.

Discover app screen

The next screen will give you the option to read some more details (many of which I’ve outlined above) before clicking the big orange “Get Started” button.

Discover Online Privacy Protection

Next comes the screen where Discover asks you to agree to the terms and conditions of the program. There’s a full copy of those for you to read above, but it will also be available for viewing on the app at this point in the sign-up process.

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This is the “final click” you’ll need to complete before the scanning process for your personal information begins.

Discover Online Privacy Protection

Once you agree, you’ll receive an automatically generated email that acknowledges your enrollment in the services and gives you details on the initial scan that Discover will be conducting.

You’ll have real-time access to the progress on a dashboard that you can find on your Discover app. You’ll see if when you return to that same “Online Privacy Protection” link on the app home screen that I cited as the first step to signing up.

How To Opt Out of Discover Online Privacy Protection

If you’ve followed the directions to sign up for this benefit and then changed your mind, don’t fret.

You can remove yourself from the program just as easily as you signed up for it. In fact, it’s just a couple of clicks away.

Return to the “Online Privacy Protection” dashboard via the link on your app home screen. Once there, you’ll find a link to remove yourself from the program at the bottom of the dashboard.

I have highlighted it below.

Unenroll from Discover online protection program

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