What happens to old credit card records?

An awful lot of information about a person can be found in their credit card records; their whereabouts, their daily habits, their pornographic purchases and so on.

What happens in the long term to these records? How long are they kept, where are they kept, and what laws are there regarding what can happen to them?

I’m not talking about how long it may affect a person’s credit rating, or information about how much a person spends and when they pay it back, just the records of what particular purchases a person makes.

There is no standard for how long credit card records are kept. The record keepers pretty much determine that on their own. When records were kept on paper, storage problems demanded a periodic purging. But with computer data storage become ever more capacious and inexpensive, there is less need to purge.

Data Protection Laws in the UK require that a firm only maintain data for so long as is required to run the account (relevant info that is). Then it is purged. This goes for paper and electronic data. Credit Card companies (I’m in compliance for a rather well known American one) maintain record retention procedures that will see outdated information scrapped… Wouldn’t expect longer than 5 years records to be kept. At least I believe that is the length of time Anti Money Laundering rules stipulate as a minimum.
If the company retains the info longer and a data protection officer calls the firm up on it, we are talking potentially rather large fines.
In the States, data protection laws are extremely lax by comparison. It seems to me that US firms can do pretty much what they want with the information… which scares the hell out of the European parliament. European companies have to sign off (comply with EU directive) to say that data will not be shared in other territories where the dp law is weaker unless controls are in place to bring the protection up to European standards… sorry if thats a bit confusing, rambling.

If the account goes delinquent, I’d imagine it gets kept for at least the entirety of the relevant statute of limitations.
Bit embarassing to show up in court and have no record of WHY you claim a debtor owes you $14,300…