Can Store Reward Cards Really Save You Money?
If you have ever shopped at a big store for clothes, appliances, or your general grocery shopping, you will most likely have been offered the opportunity to join their rewards program. In exchange for signing up, you’re usually given a card with a unique number on it to scan every time you purchase something in the store.
Although this type of scheme may seem enticing when offered, there are definitely upsides and downsides to programs such as these. Let’s take a look at whether they can actually save you any cash in the long run, and if they’re really worth your time and effort.
How Do Store Reward Cards Actually Work?
Store reward cards are more than just your tickets to the odd freebie or two – shops and brands often rely on them. They better guarantee the return of their customers and the sale of their goods by providing interesting sales and discounts.
Many retailers offer their rewards cards once you reach the checkout, although you can also ask for them at the information desks or even have them delivered to you through their websites.
Some of the most popular store cards in the UK are ones you’ve likely heard of already. These include Nectar, which is generally tied to stores such as Sainsbury’s and Argos. With Nectar, you essentially earn points on purchases to spend back later on, and can claim special vouchers. The same applies with Clubcard, Tesco’s popular in-store scheme.
To apply for a rewards card, you will often need to provide your name, number, and email address. The store’s supplier then sends you offers and vouchers regularly through communication channels you agree to.
Most rewards programs provide their customers with discount codes, vouchers, gifts (for birthdays, for example), free shipping, early access to certain products, special offers, and the ability to earn points. As mentioned, this is how systems such as Nectar work. These points can be used in-store to get discounts on certain items or even exchanged for cash.
Of course, the exact rewards depend entirely on the store. And, in return, you provide your loyalty to the store as a customer. That all sounds pretty good – but there are some drawbacks!
The Pros and Cons of Store Rewards Cards:
The pros of store reward cards should be pretty obvious! From coupons and discounts to the possibility of cashback, loyalty cards can be beneficial.
In many ways, they can be a great way of saving up money or even helping yourself buy food, gifts, and so on. The rewards can be used year-round, but by saving up points or planning for certain sales, you can benefit even more, especially around Christmas or other special occasions.
However, the main drawback is that you’ll probably get reams of emails and texts with deals and discounts. That might sound appealing, but it’s easy to fall into a nasty trap of spending out when you really don’t have to.
If you’re trying to budget carefully each week or to cut down on your spending, store reward cards can entice you into buying up food or items that you may not even want or need right away!
It’s also important to remember that while you may be offered a significant discount, it still may not match the price of the same item sold elsewhere. So, while it may be interesting to gain more points or use a big discount, it’s always best to shop around and see whether or not the deal you’ve been offered is actually one worth considering.
If you’re a savvy shopper, you may already know to look carefully at different stores and deals before leaping into the fun of store reward cards. That’s not to say you should avoid them altogether – but to use them sparingly, and maybe use them to save up for big occasions (such as for Christmas presents, etc).
Is It Really Worth Getting a Store Reward Card?
Yes – while it can be tricky to avoid overspending sometimes, getting a store reward card still holds stacks of benefits for the average shopper.
If you usually shop in the same stores every week or every month, you can make significant savings simply by using the coupons, discount codes, or VIP deals they give you.
In fact, in many stores, some sales and discounts only apply to those with rewards cards. So, even if the price may look enticing, you may not be entitled to it without the rewards cards.
It’s a nice little ‘VIP’ feeling that stores bestow on us to reward loyalty. In return, they can better ensure you keep coming back, without the risk of losing too much cash in the bargain.
That being said, signing up for rewards cards also means giving your name, email address, phone number, and sometimes even more. That usually leads to at least a lot of spam emails and lots of irrelevant missives from these stores, trying to make you purchase something even if it’s not discounted.
No one likes spam emails – and honestly, you can easily ‘turn off’ specific contact channels if you want to. Just head to the ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of promo emails, for example.
You also don’t have to take out a store reward card for every location you shop at. Unless you know you’re going to be heading back there a lot in the near future, there’s no real need to take up a VIP card. That is, of course, unless you want to start saving points and credits for Christmas and New Year!
Conclusion on Store Reward Cards:
Store reward cards can be fantastic investments for anyone who shops regularly at the same stores and with the same brands. However, you simply need to take a little caution if you intend to shop around a lot.
The best store cards reward regular use – and don’t try to force you into unnecessary sales. It’s worth comparing the most popular cards out there, and to see if you could make any significant money back by signing up.
Finally, as mentioned above – to get the most out-of-your store reward cards, you’ll need to be shopping in these stores often. However, this won’t really help you if you need some money in your hand to spend now.
At LoanBird, we’re here to help you find the best loan options for your circumstances. So, if the savings you made on your store cards don’t give you the spare cash you need – you can count on us to source you an affordable loan.