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13 Things Credit Card Companies Know About You

How you wield that little piece of plastic can reveal how well you care for your home, the state of your marriage, whether you're a customer worth keeping ... and a lot more.

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You're having marital problems

Most credit card companies comb through cardholder data for signs of financial trouble, and we may use that to lower your credit. A Federal Trade Commission suit against CompuCredit, which marketed the Visa Aspire card, accused the company of lowering available credit to customers who used cards for marriage counseling, bars, or pawnshops. Here are the things you should stop doing to prevent money-related fights in your relationship.

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You don't have the best manners

If you call even one time and get angry or use profanity, we may put a note on your account that you are a "verbally abusive" caller. Every time you call in after that, the customer-service rep will be on guard. Here are some other behaviors that automatically make you seem like a jerk.

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What you did last summer (and the summer before that)

We track your favorite places to visit. We also know your top ATMs and when you normally log in to your mobile app. Paying attention to those things is one of the ways we catch fraud. Here are some things that happen right after your credit card gets stolen.

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Whether you take good care of your home

One study found that people who buy carbon monoxide monitors and pads for chair bottoms rarely miss payments. If you protect your things, you may also want to protect your credit score. Check out these easy ways to improve your credit score.

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Where you are at this very moment

If you've enabled location-based services in your card's app, we can follow your movements around town and send coupons for nearby merchandise. Thanks to new new tracking technology, we hope to soon follow you inside a store to record how long you spend in each aisle. To make matters even scarier, your credit card info might have been stolen if you ate at this fast-food restaurant.

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You're the boss

If a responsible customer asks for a lower interest rate, there's a good chance we will say yes. A Synergistics survey found that 78 percent of cardholders who asked for a lower rate received one. Here are some secrets to being a good boss.

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You're a small-business owner

We love small-business owners. They tend to make a lot of purchases and rack up charges on their cards. Sometimes we buy lists of new limited liability companies and corporations so we can send them business credit card offers. Find out what happens to your credit score if you close a credit card. 

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You're due for a shopping trip at Target

We work with marketers to create special offers for you based on your purchases. If you were a regular shopper at Target but haven't been back in a while, a digital coupon from Target may pop up in your bank’s mobile app (or from a competitor trying to lure you away). Speaking of Target, here are some tricks to help you save money on your next trip.

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Whether you're worth hanging on to

When you call customer service, the reps at some companies see a green or red indicator on their screen based on your risk score. That tells them whether to try to keep you as a customer.

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What your signature looks like

If you're not sure a charge is legitimate, most credit card companies can send you a copy of the receipt. Learn which major card company won't be asking for your signature anymore.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest