If you’re tired of digging for your store loyalty card at the register, now there’s an app for that. Retailer loyalty programs are a great way to save money, but if customers can’t find their cards or haven’t linked their phone numbers with the account, they can lose out on savings.
The average American household has 22 of these loyalty program memberships, according to Consumer Reports. That’s a lot of cards. But now there’s no need to cram them all into your wallet or onto your keychain. Several different store loyalty apps are available to make savings easier for shoppers.
This month’s issue of Consumer Reports’ ShopSmart magazine highlights the best loyalty apps and gives a rundown on their top picks for retail programs that pay off with big savings for shoppers.
Belly is a rewards program that lives inside your smartphone. Retailers can use the program instead of punch cards, stamps or other rewards-tracking systems. Customers sign up for Belly and download the app, then scan their phone at the register to keep track of their purchases. When it’s time for that free 10th cup of coffee, Belly alerts both the customer and the retailer.
Front Flip is another scanner-based smartphone app. Like Belly, customers scan codes to track rewards at retailers that participate in the Front Flip program. Shoppers look for QR codes, scan them, and collect freebies like fries, pizza toppings and more. (Restaurants like Wendy’s and Burger King participate with Front Flip.)
Key Ring differs from Belly and Front Flip in that it doesn’t require specific retailers to participate in their program. Instead, it lets customers load their current rewards cards into the app and use them at the grocery store or drugstore. Users take pictures of the bar code and enter their information to store the card in the Key Ring virtual rewards wallet. They can also sign up for new rewards programs right from the app.
Looking outside the smartphone app box, Consumer Reports names Best Buy Reward Zone, Amazon Rewards, Target REDcard and Macy’s Star Rewards as a few of the customer loyalty programs that give shoppers the most bang for their buck. Of these, Amazon, Macy’s and Target all require customers to apply for a credit card to join the program. Only Best Buy offers their loyalty savings plan to customers without a store credit card. The whole report can be found here.