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Loyalty card discounts vs. privacy concerns

7:33 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - Loyalty cards seem especially popular at the grocery store.

While there's no disputing they save us money - some shoppers worry about who is keeping records of information tied to the cards.

Most consumers use loyalty card programs at the grocery store. They don't cost a thing and often have money-saving special promotions.

King Soopers and Safeway even let you build up points for gas discounts.

However, some of us are uncomfortable with retail giants tracking everything we're buying.

"You opt into the program. We (Safeway) track the information and then we offer you additional savings," said Kris Staaf, Director of Public Affairs at Safeway.

"[loyalty cards] do track customer purchases, but in a way that we always absolutely respects their privacy," said Kelli McGannon, Director of Public Affairs at King Soopers.

But it still feels like an invasion of privacy to some - who wonder where else their private information is going.

"The data that we have collected is never shared outside of our organization," McGannon said.

"We don't sell any of the information. We don't use it for anything other than internally," Staaf said.

The information is used for marketing purposes. But some wonder about the security of the data. In the past other companies have had breaches in security.

On the other hand, these are grocery loyalty cards, not major credit cards. Many don't care who knows they're buying baloney or hot dogs.

But if you really don't want anyone to tie your name to your purchases, there is a way to beat the system.

When you get your discount card, just don't turn in the registration form. That way the retailer won't have your name, address or phone number. But you can still get your discounts on food and gas.

But if you do that, there are are mailed-out coupons you'll miss out on.

And when you link your card number to the mobile apps you get coupons sent directly to you. Not giving up all your information could mean missing out on extra savings.

If you didn't turn in the form or left the phone number blank, you must have your card with you to rack up points and get discounts.

If they do have your phone number, life will be simpler. You can leave your card at home and just type in your phone number.

No matter the assurances given - some just don't want their personal information out there.

But either way, it's hard to avoid having someone track everything we do anymore.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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