Debit Card with Super Detailed Online Transaction Description Postings
March 7, 2020 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I currently use a Bank of America debit and credit card. I review my recent transactions online to make sure I actually made the purchase (that it was authorized) and the charge amount is correct. I find myself wishing the descriptions were more specific (with the item description), so that I can more quickly remember or pull up the specific purchase on the online vendor's website.

Currently, I only see the vendor and location of the transaction, like:


Is there a bank/card that has online postings that are super descriptive: such as eBay purchase of Sunglasses or Amazon purchase of Multivitamins?
posted by kinoeye to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
To the best of my knowledge, having worked in retail and having implemented e-commerce sites, that information is not sent to the bank or credit card processor, so I don’t think there’s any way they could show it.

The most I’ve seen is having purchases broken out to show how much was a tip or cash-back, but that doesn’t help much with identifying online purchases.
posted by duien at 8:51 AM on March 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Former bank employee here.

AFAIK, the point of sale data (receipt for your purchase detailing individual items comprising the purchase) resides with the retailer you made your purchase from and is separate from the gross transaction data for the purchase (the money debited from your account that identifies only retailer/location/dollar amount) that resides with your bank.

They're two separate entities with two separate (but related) pieces of information about your purchases. Some banks have "spending tracker" apps or account features that will classify transaction by type (e.g., food service/restaurants, grocery stores, entertainment, etc.) to help people identify spending patterns for budgeting purposes, but that's about it.

This is by design. From a privacy point of view, I wouldn't want retailers sharing my specific, itemized purchase details with a bank or credit card vendor.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:55 AM on March 7, 2020 [8 favorites]

There are different levels of reporting that some (not all) merchants are capable of passing back to credit cards, but I don't think that's even enabled in any consumer cards--it's a feature of commercial cards designed for business-to-business transactions for reporting and expense tracking purposes.
posted by Pryde at 8:56 AM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I also don't think this is possible (maybe with the exception of some corporate credit cards, I think it's called "level 3" data, but merchants can't always do it). I do think are some apps that let you take photos of receipts and then match that with a statement, again designed for corporate cards.
posted by pinochiette at 8:58 AM on March 7, 2020

Actually, let me expand on that a bit. The bank where I’ve seen that additional info is Simple. They also allow you to add tags and notes to your transactions from the app or website, which could help if you’re looking back at older purchases. The other thing they do, which might help achieve your goal of finding unauthorized purchases, is send you a push notification every time the card is used. That way, if you get a notification and haven’t made a purchase, you can immediately go into the app and lock your card (and can unlock and re-lock it again from there if you need to make a purchase before you have a replacement card). The new Apple credit card has a similar feature for push notifications of transactions, but is obviously limited to people in the Apple ecosystem.
posted by duien at 8:59 AM on March 7, 2020

Also to expand: with my workplace's company cards, I can pull reports with specific line item product details, costs, and item codes from a Mastercard data site for charges from, say, Amazon (real example), but this isn't even possible with most merchants, even large retailers.
posted by Pryde at 9:02 AM on March 7, 2020

I used to work for a major catalog/web retailer, who also had a branded credit card through a 3rd party bank.

We were always told that these things were kept separate because your bank didn't need to know what you were buying any more than the retailer needs to know your credit score. Honestly, I would be a trifle concerned at the Big Data repercussions of any large bank keeping records of what I buy with their card.
posted by anastasiav at 9:14 AM on March 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Brief description of the reporting levels.
posted by Pryde at 9:39 AM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

The one card I have like this is the Amazon Prime store card. It's a credit card, not a debit card, and it only works on Amazon, but when I download transactions into Quicken (or look at them on the web), they'll include information like:
Irish Spring Deodorant Bar Soa
Dr. Teal's Foaming Bath, Sooth
Genuine Philips Sonicare E-Ser
Why do I have this card? Because you get 5% back for use on Amazon. And I do find the transaction details quite useful, though that wasn't why I got the card (I didn't know about that feature at the time). Obviously the descriptions get cut off a bit, but they're almost always long enough to be identifiable. (And now you all know about that time I bought bathroom supplies!)

Anyhow, Amazon also offers some traditional credit cards, but I don't know if they provide similar levels of information (and for the reasons stated by others above, even if they do, they're only likely to do so for Amazon transactions).
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:59 AM on March 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

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