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The Pros and Cons of Having a Safeway Club Card

21st century Safeway store

The Safeway Club card has become a necessity for anyone who wants to take advantage of the sales that appear in the majority of the retail grocer's advertised specials. You must have a card to save on most sale items, and the savings can be substantial.

There are many benefits associated with having a Safeway Club card, but there are also some very significant drawbacks. If you're a Safeway Club card holder or if you're thinking about obtaining your application, you need to know the pros and cons of ownership. Here is everything you need to know about the Safeway Club card.

What is the Safeway Club card?

The Safeway Club card is a type of loyalty card that gives you up to 20 percent savings on groceries and other eligible items purchased at Safeway grocery stores. To get your card, all you need to do is go to the customer service department of your local Safeway store and complete an application.

The clerk will give you a card on the spot. If you're in a hurry and you don't have time to complete the application in the store, you can simply take the card with you and complete the application form online.

There is even an app for your smartphone available to get the same savings and benefits from the card. You must have your Safeway Club card with you, or know the phone number associated with the card.

Simply swipe the card at the time that you checkout and it will automatically give you all of the discounts that you're eligible for at the time. If you forget your card, you can also type in the telephone number that you put on the registration form because this also works for making sure that the benefits are applied to your account every time the shop.

How to register your Safeway Club card

If you received a card from your Safeway customer service center but you didn't have time to complete the application, it's not difficult to complete the process and start earning rewards. It's 100 percent free and will never cost you any money.

To register your new club card, or start the process to set up an account, go to the Safeway website. This will take you to the registration site and you'll find the online registration form on this page.

You will be asked to complete all of the required fields which include your first and last name, your telephone number along with the card number. If you don't have a card, you can still register for an account.

They'll ask for your email address and will ask you to set up a password that is between 8 and 12 characters. You choose your local safeway store, and enter in your city, state and zip code, and click on the terms of use and privacy policy agreement and this is all you need to do to register your account and start racking up the savings and rewards points.

If any of your information changes, you can also update your club card information on this site so you won't lose any of the points that you've earned. You'll also be given an option to sign up for the Safeway For You program with your card, for additional opportunities to find discounts.

The benefits of having a Safeway Club card

In addition to getting sale prices on advertised items, there are other benefits that you get when you use the card. Every time you shop at Safeway, even at the pharmacy, you swipe the card and gain points on your account.

These points are good for getting discounts on gasoline at any Safeway fuel center. You can earn up to $.60 or even $1.00 off per gallon, which makes it a lot less expensive to fill up your gas tank.

These points do expire, however, so it's important to keep track of how many points you have, the expiration date and when you need to use them by so you don't miss out on this significant savings at the pump.

If you're wondering how the points translate into savings, here is an example. You will get $.10 off per gallon of gas for every 100 points you have on your club card. You get 1 Safeway Club point for every $1 you spend using the card at Safeway.

Secure Login

Another advantage of having a Safeway Club account is that it allows you to log onto the Safeway website, and go to the Coupon Center for even more savings.

There are about 200 manufacturer's coupons on this site and all that you need to do is to click on the coupons that you want to use from this site and they will automatically be added to your Safeway Club card.

You won't need to print them out. All you'll need to do after adding the coupons is to scan your club card and the coupon discounts will automatically be deducted from the cost of your grocery bill.

There is another tab on the Safeway website that you should check out while you're there, because there are even more ways to save with the card. Club specials are listed on the site and there is also a personalized deals" tab that lets you build your own shopping list which you can add to your smartphone or print out.

Another advantage of Club card membership is that you can go online to check on your reward points to find out when they expire and how many points you've earned and you an do this anytime you like.

In addition to this, your reward points are always printed out on the receipt that you receive when you make a purchase at Safeway.

What are the risks or downsides of having a Safeway Club card?

There are always some risks associated with providing your name and personal information on an online or in-store application. This is the information that identifies you and when it changes hands, clerks have access to whatever you include on the application form.

If you complete your Safeway enrollment online, there is a risk of hackers retrieving your information. Fortunately, Safeway does not require you to use your social security number, so they've eliminated this as a risk factor, but there is the chance that somebody else can gain access to your club card, or worse yet, your phone number so they can use your account to reap the benefits of the rewards that you've built up.

Although this doesn't happen often, it's a possibility and there are some dishonest people in the world that are out to get what they can from the people who diligently work to get their rewards so you'll want to keep your information private and not share it with anyone else.

The risks for Club card holders

The personal information that is routinely shared on the application not only includes your name and phone number, but also, your home or mailing address. If person uses your account information to save money on items bought, they're stealing your rewards but this isn't the biggest risk.

In this day and age there are people out there who may purchase items which are used for illegal activities such as making bombs or designer drugs. Information on all purchases made is saved and if they purchase large amounts of incriminating products on your membership card, there will be a record of it and there is a chance that law enforcement will be alerted.

Remember that store employees have access to all of this information, in fact, it's at their fingertips. One man was arrested because of this terrible and unfortunate invasion of his account privacy.

Although Safeway has taken some measures to maintain account privacy and confidentiality for their customers, there are some potential weaknesses with their current system.

There is no formal type of identification needed to use a club card, or the account/phone number to use the account, and this results in a flawed and weak authentication system.

A stolen card or phone number can be used by anyone and there is no way to track the transaction to discover who the person was that made the purchases with the account. The name of the person registered for the account is printed on the receipt and this could be damning evidence in a criminal case, even if you didn't make the purchases.

The next major weakness with the system is that there is no form of encryption used for the online membership application as it just uses the standard HTTP protocol.

What this means for the consumer is that the information is easy for a skilled or even semi-skilled hacker to access. It would be irresponsible to talk about the benefits of the Safeway Club card without also warning of the associated dangers.

Self checkout scanners

Another great convenience that Safeway offers club card shoppers, and everyone else for that matter is the self-checkout station. You can use your club card easily at these stations by just sliding or scanning the card or punching in the associated telephone number.

There are great benefits for both Safeway and for the shopper because in many instances, these stations allow you to checkout your groceries, scan your club card and pay for them a lot faster than waiting in a long line at the manned checkout stations.

On the downside though, there isn't a clerk available to help you if you run into problems and you may need to wait for one to arrive. If there is someone ahead of you who doesn't know how to use the self-checkout it can cause delays and the biggest downside is that there is always the risk that someone may have placed a skimmer on the station.

This is a device that records card information as well as capturing your pin number. It could not only result in your Safeway Club card information being compromised, if you use a bank or credit card to pay for your purchases, this information could also be stolen.

There has been recent theft activity at some Safeway stores around the nation, involving the use of skimmers, so this isn't a totally safe way to shop for your groceries because of the increased use of skimming devices.

Is it worth the risk to have a Safeway Club card?

This is a good question, and it has to be asked. While it's a personal choice that each of us must make on our own, it's good to have all of the available information to make the decision.

Those of us who regularly shop at Safeway understand that without using the Safeway Club card, the price of groceries is going to be a lot higher and there is no other way to get in on the great membership savings.

You could clip coupons, but this is a hassle. The convenience and benefits of the Safeway Club card, for many of us, far outweigh the potential risks. While there have been some issues associated with having a Safeway Club card, the incidences of stolen or hijacked accounts have been fairly low.

Some club card owners even register their accounts under a fake name with phony personal information and they report that they've never had an issue doing this.

Most Safeway Club card holders never have any of these terrible things happen to them and they enjoy the benefits of big savings at checkout as well as at the gas pump.

There are a few things that you can do to help keep your card information safer, and if this is something that concerns you, we recommend using a private phone number that the average person will not be able to access.

Limit the information that you supply on the application to only those items which are required. Don't leave your club card lying around and you might want to forego the self checkout lane, but as for me, I love the speed and convenience and I'm willing to take the miniscule risk to enjoy the convenience.

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Bill Vix

Written by Bill Vix

Bill Vix writes blogs, articles, and website content for clients who want the facts presented in a way that is digestible to their target audience. He graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2009 as an English major with a concentration in Professional Writing. After graduation, he pursued graduate degrees in both Library Science and Communication. With over 10 years of professional writing experience, his ultimate goal is to simply and effectively communicate useful information using the most technologically relevant methods.

Read more posts by Bill Vix

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