Discover Credit Will Delete Your Information From the Internet. Here's How

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  • People-search websites harvest personal information and post it on the internet.
  • Discover Credit helps cardholders opt out of having their data sold by third parties.
  • You need the Discover app to activate the free service.

The popup was unexpected. I stared at my phone, eyebrows climbing as I stared at the latest and greatest feature offered by Discover Bank: the power to unsubscribe from sketchy websites posting my personal information to the internet.

If you're a Discover cardholder, you too can request to opt out of sketchy business practices. After all, most folks don't want their inbox raided by merciless spam pirates.

It's a neat perk that I don't hear many credit card shoppers chatting about. Since identity fraud is rising, the right to easy digital privacy seems more relevant than ever.

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Discover calls the service Privacy Protection. Here's who qualifies and how it works.

Who qualifies for Privacy Protection?

You need to be a Discover customer to access the free service. You also need to download the Discover app from the App Store, at which point you can navigate to Online Privacy Protection to get your information removed from the internet.

Interested folks can apply for a Discover credit card through its website. Discover also offers banking services, though it's unclear whether banking customers can access Privacy Protection.

How Privacy Protection works

Privacy Protection, not to be confused with Data Theft Protection (a paid service), opts Discover customers out of people-search websites. People-search websites collect and sell public personal information or make it widely available. Some examples include the following:

  • Name and age
  • Home and work address
  • Phone numbers and emails

By turning on Privacy Protection, you permit Discover to reach out to people-search websites on your behalf. Once activated, Discover scans 10 popular people-search websites and requests they delete your information. This repeats every three months.

The opt-out process is automatic. You can check the status of your information on the app.

Benefits of the service

Deleting your personal info from the public view is a financially healthy move. Less info means fewer spam pirates and identity fraudsters. Discover admits it's not 100% successful at opting people out.

Naturally, I double-checked. Discover has actually followed through and deleted my information from the specific websites it mentioned. Hooray!

I also noticed a drop in spam calls immediately after I enrolled, so anecdotal evidence suggests there might be something to this service. According to my Discover app, I'm being opted out of six sketchy websites this cycle. They'd collected my name, age, contact info, and 30 addresses.

Um, yeah. Get me out of there.

Other ways to delete your information

Alternatives to the service include typing your name into Google, scrolling, and manually requesting each people-search website delete your data. They'll typically do it, but prepare to set aside an hour of scroll time at least. And have a stock email handy for copy-and-pasting.

It took me 30 seconds to opt into Discover's unique service. I highly recommend mobile app customers take advantage of it. You can find the Privacy Protection service by scrolling down the home screen and tapping "Online Privacy Protection."

Shoppers may consider the service when comparing credit cards. Be aware that your information is likely public -- I told my housemate about people-search websites, and she quickly found her family's home address plastered to the public interwebs. Stay safe out there.

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