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Retail reward programs: what’s the price of loyalty?

Over 80 percent of us have a loyalty card — but are we aware of how much of our personal information is collected by each card? And do we know how, and where, it is used?

The Australian Privacy Commissioner has released an assessment of Coles and Woolworths’ loyalty programs, the two largest in the country, to see if the personal information they collect is handled transparently and in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

The assessments show that both Coles’ flybuys and Woolworths Rewards each had appropriate privacy notices that were consistent with their practices. However, it’s important that we are all aware of the bargain we are making with retailers when we sign up for loyalty programs.

Each swipe of our loyalty card is another package of information that can form a picture about our identity. Businesses collect this information because it’s of great value to them, and so individuals need to make sure that they’re also getting a fair deal from the exchange. A key this is to read privacy policies, ask questions about how your data is used, and understand the bargain you’re entering when signing up.

Read our ten tips to protect your privacy for more advice on protecting your personal information. You can also call our office if you have any questions or concerns on 1300 363 992.