Grocery Store Loyalty Cards and their Benefits for Consumers

canstockphoto4362106           There are certain expenses in life you are going to have, the most basics of these are food, shelter and clothing. After these there are still other needs that come in to play in ones life but everyone understands the top three are the ones listed. First on that list is food and since everyone must have food, unless you have someone actually buying it for you (unlikely if you are not young still living at home) using a grocery rewards card when you grocery shop is one of the smartest things to do in order to save a few dollars. There are a few however that feel that these cards are unnecessary and in invasion of privacy since the stores can track what you are purchasing. However given that you may shop at different stores as well as grocery stores knowing what people buy in general due to inventory that needs to be replaced I would not be to fearful about it.

The number one reason to use grocery store loyalty cards is to save money period. Many grocery stores will only provide a discount if you use their card when purchasing. In doing so, they offer a discount in specific items if you use your card. The card itself is not even necessarily a credit card at all, just a card that will allow for certain discounts.

But the discounts don’t always stop at just outright price cuts. There can also be promotions such as discounted fuel for using your card or major prizes to be won. Many contests can be entered instantly just by using your card. All of this and if you have the tiny card keychain option, if you lose your keys, you can often get your keys back.

Some stores allow for digital coupons to be loaded directly onto your card. If you registered you grocery card online, you may be allowed to put coupons right on to your card from specific websites offering digital coupons. This allows you to make couponing even easier since you don’t have to cut out pieces of paper and fumble through them as you shop. What your card can also do to help is since they show your shopping habits, sometimes you can opt in to an email or real mail from time to time to provide additional coupons and savings on items you are used to buying or items similar to what you normally buy.

Despite all of the benefits of grocery store cards, many feel that they do not want to be tracked and for grocery store companies to know what they are buying. Grocery stores may also be permitted to sell this information to 3rd parties who may than use it to advertise more to you. Obviously there is a reason they encourage you to use their card. However some people I know have given fake addresses and names and there has not seemed to be a problem in doing so. I don’t recommend this as it would lose many of the benefits like contests etc. The store also would never encourage this and would deny you a card if they knew you where doing so. But there is one more thing that the card can be used for that is definitely in the consumers favor. This is for help contacting people in recall situations.

One of the benefits that may help the consumer with grocery store loyalty cards is the ability for governing authorities to be able to contact people in the case of an emergency. Unfortunately there has been a rise in recalls on food products over the years and all too often it is too late for many by the time the news spreads to the purchasers of certain foods. If people have purchased items and scanned their card in the process, it would allow quick contact to purchasers of tainted products. Given everything, I think the benefits far outweigh any possible concerns. For more information on loyalty cards see wikipedia’s page on them.