Bank/Financial Institutions opt out (This section applies to banks, credit card companies, brokerage firms, insurance companies, and other financial institutions.)

What it does:

If you opt out, you limit the extent to which a financial institution can provide your personal financial information to non-affiliates.

The financial institution opt outs are among the most important to understand, but they can also be challenging to understand. If you don’t opt out, the assumption is that the financial institution can share your data in some circumstances. To quote from the FDIC:

Unless you opt out, your financial company can provide your personal financial information (for example, information on the kinds of stores you shop at, how much you borrow, your account balances, or the dollar value of your assets) to non-affiliates for marketing and other purposes. (FDIC Privacy Choices page,

A non-affiliate is generally defined as a company that is unrelated to your financial company. The FDIC notes that a non-affiliate may include “Service providers …., joint marketers–companies that have an agreement with your financial company to offer you other financial products or services, or other third-party non-affiliates–which could include companies that may want access to your financial company’s mailing list to tell you about other products and services.” (FDIC Privacy Choices page.)

There is a great degree of variability between financial institutions. Some do not share customer information with non-affiliates, so they do not offer an opt out. Some take an extra step and offer customers the ability to opt out of both unaffiliated and affiliated marketing. Because the type of available opt outs vary from institution to institution, you will need to read the privacy notice closely. Financial institutions are required to provide privacy notices. These notices can sometimes be difficult to understand. The opt outs are controlled in part by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, a federal law that provides some privacy protections for customers of financial institutions.

How to opt out:

You may have received a privacy notice in the mail from your bank or other financial institution. If you missed it, simply ask for a copy of the company’s privacy notice. They are required to have one. The privacy notice may also be posted on the financial institution’s web site. Read the notice closely, and follow the company’s directions for opting out. You can opt out at any time. By law, you are required to opt out in the way the financial institution determines you should, whether by letter or phone or online. We have not listed all financial institutions here, just some of the largest. Any financial institution you do business with should be able to readily point you to this opt out.

More about financial institution opt outs:

See FDIC’s Your Rights To Financial Privacy Page, includes information about opt outs:

See FTC’s Privacy Choices for your Personal Financial Information:

See FDIC’s Privacy Choices page, this page has an excellent section on opt out:

See FDIC’s Financial Privacy Page FAQ:

See Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

Courtesy of The World Privacy Forum Org.