How Loyalty Programs Are Actually Stealing Your Data

You’re probably not saving much money—but your data is fair game.

With the holidays coming up, it’s the time of year when everyone is spending more than ever. With that comes plenty of enticing loyalty programs offering to save you money while you shop. Considering most of them cost nothing, there isn’t any downside, right?

But did you know that plenty of these loyalty programs get access to your data and often sell it without you knowing? Not great considering the savings you’re getting are likely pretty small. It’s time to rethink your loyalty program strategy, and Incogni is here to help.

Take control of your data privacy with their data protection services. When you use your Student Beans discount, you’ll save 55% on an annual plan, too!

We’ve answered the ultimate data questions so you can save your money and your personal information:

How much value is there in loyalty programs?

It’s no surprise that big companies try and entice you to join their loyalty programs every chance they get. What’s the harm? It’s free to sign up, and you usually get some kind of kickback with every purchase, eventually entitling you to some kind of freebie or extra discount. It can’t be a bad thing, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Corporations often use loyalty programs as a cloak and dagger to get their hands on your personal information. As if to make matters worse, you’re not getting much out of it either. For every $100 spent in tandem with most loyalty programs, you can purchase a single stock or 4 shots of espresso. Not a lot of savings going on.

Actual Loyalty Programs Savings

Most people estimate that they save $56 per month thanks to their loyalty programs. The harsh reality is that you would have to spend anywhere from $281 to over $2,000 to save that much. Here are some actual savings from the most popular loyalty programs when you spend $100:

  • Starbucks: 4 espresso shots, which equates to 4.6 cents saved for every dollar spent.
  • McDonald’s: 6.7 cheeseburgers, which equates to 20 cents for every dollar spent.
  • H&M: half a pair of socks, which gives you $2.50 back for every $100 spent.

While saving some money is better than nothing, you have to weigh the cost of companies potentially selling you data. Only you can determine if it’s really worth the risk or not.

What data is collected from loyalty programs?

There are plenty of different data metrics companies can collect when you join their loyalty programs (which are all listed in the terms & conditions no one has time to read). Here are the 12 different pieces of info you might be handing over without knowing it:

  • Sensitive personal information
  • Inferences drawn from personal data
  • Education information
  • Professional or employment-related information
  • Audio, electronic and visual information
  • Geolocation data
  • Electronic network activity
  • Biometric information
  • Commercial information
  • Characteristics of protected classifications
  • Other identifiers

Are loyalty programs actually worth it?

As we said before, only you can decide if the loyalty program is worth it, but most of them likely will not live up to the expectations they promise. There’s a huge disconnect between what people think loyalty programs do compared to what they actually deliver.

And don’t forget, if you’re worried about your data being sold or fear it’s already out there, Incogni is ready to help. Plus, you’ll be able to save 55% on an annual plan when you use your Student Beans discount!

Think you’re an expert in data privacy? Take our quiz to find out how much you really know.