Credit Card Guide

What Is A Shopping Card?

26 July 2012 by CreditCardsCo™

This term has been used loosely to represent cards given by stores and market chains to people that frequently visit their premises. You may have come in contact with this type of cards in a mall or even a supermarket. They are used by many service providers and offer some rewards to the holder.

Whether or not you have one and whether or not you know what they mean, you definitely want to check out these shopping cards and what types there are. In some cases it is quite preferable to own one, in case of internet shopping for example.

Typical Question: What Is A Shopping Card?

In truth it isn't called shopping card, however the term was widely spread by consumers that have acquired some of these cards. However, the original terms (or more like the "technical terms") are loyalty cards, rewards cards, or points cards. These cards indicate to the service provider (the card issuer) that the holder (the consumer) is part of a certain loyalty purchasing program or a "special type of customer" if you will.

Loyalty cards are widely used by shop owners, supermarkets, clothes retailers, and even gas stations. It usually allows the holder to accumulate points while purchasing a certain type of merchandise (or sometimes simply buying from a certain chain of stores) frequently. These points can be cashed in later by the consumer in the form of gifts or discounts. On the other hand, some cards will offer a discount outright without any reward points. It differs from store to store and from country to country.

What Does A Shopping Card Look Like?

Well the visual looks differ depending on the store and the country, however, most of them are similar in looks to a credit card. Some are plastic and some are just made out of paper. Other shopping cards look like key rings and sometimes are called key tags. They all, however, seem to function through bar codes or mag stripe to provide easy scanning.

Is This Term International?

Yes, the term is in fact international. You can find reward cards or point cards in Canada and the United States; while they are called loyalty cards in the United Kingdom. For instance in Australia, the most famous loyalty program was established by FlyBus owned by Coles, which seems to have roots in New Zealand as well.

Would It Be A Good Idea To Get One?

Some stores only hand these out to special customers who buy from their chain regularly or buy goods with a set amount of cash. However, if you get offered one, it is never a bad idea to accept it. Not only will you be able to purchase items from the store at a discount but it also might provide you with a point system in which you can cash in a reward or two. However, you might want to be careful and ask the store what the terms and conditions are.

So They Are Only A Physical Type Of Cards, Not Virtual?

Actually no, there is a "virtual" aspect to shopping cards. While what was discussed so far only refers to the cards available in stores and various locations, there are websites on the internet that offer you a similar service. It might not contain a discount, the points rewards, or any of these special offers, but it provides you with a safe medium to shop over the internet.

There are many sites on the internet that you can link to your bank account or just upload a certain amount of money to your account over the internet and use it to buy online. Nonetheless, while initially some services don't provide any special offers, others do. You can search the internet for many of these websites, but to get you started you can check out the most famous website offering such service, PayPal.

Whether or not you like the idea of having shopping cards around, you can't deny they are useful little gadgets that have more positives than negatives. If you know what you are doing, it can be a great thing for your financial life. Nonetheless, it is strongly advisable that you try and check out some of the online services; not only to enjoy shopping online but to enjoy a safe online medium in which you can make purchases without worrying so much about identity theft and card fraud!

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