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*Consumers Can Trade Credit Data for Cash

Internet marketing firm MoneyForMail.com, Palo Alto, CA, has partnered with Trans Union Corp., Chicago, to offer advertisers access to consumer credit report information and to compensate consumers who grant permission.

“I don’t think that most consumers realize how powerful their credit report is,” said Gerri Detweiler, president and co-founder, MoneyForMail.com. “We wanted to empower consumers to take control of their credit report information and make that available on a confidential basis for targeted advertising.”

In return for written permission to access their credit data, consumers are paid for each targeted ad that they receive and read via e-mail. The average rate of compensation without access to credit data is about 20 cents to 40 cents per ad, but it could be more for credit-related information, Detweiler said.

MoneyForMail is soliciting its 300,000 members for written permission to use their credit data in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Detweiler is confident that most members will give permission because they already shared personal information when initially signing up.

Once written permission has been obtained, advertisers can tell MoneyForMail what credit criteria or exact credit score it wants to target. MoneyForMail takes care of sending the ads, keeping the consumers’ credit data confidential.

So far, Trans Union is the only credit-reporting agency that is supplying MoneyForMail with data. Other agencies are still considering the idea, Detweiler said.

“Trans Union saw the benefit and the potential of this opportunity and agreed to help us in this effort,” Detweiler said.

Detweiler and her partner, Larry Chiang, founded and officially launched MoneyForMail.com in January as an opportunity for consumers to take control of their personal information and get paid for it. Both have been involved in consumer advocacy and credit education for many years.

Aside from receiving payment, members also can take advantage of free credit assistance and educational services at MoneyForMail.com. Detweiler is working to provide members with free copies of their credit reports.

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