Today I unexpectedly had to give up my now old Albert Heijn bonus card (bonuskaart). They have been announcing for a month or so that new bonus cards were coming, though at the top of my Albert Heijn app it said ‘fill in your new bonus card number before January 6’ so I thought I had a bit more time. Perhaps it was a language barrier issue – I said yes to a packet with the new card in it (so I could look it over) and then all the sudden the cashier was taking the bonus card off my key chain and throwing it out. Opps. Maybe if I had said no, I would have been able to keep my old one for a bit longer.
The biggest controversy with these cards is that they also offer personal deals beyond what is offered to everyone else. Nice, huh? Well, of course to get those deals you have to activate your card and give up more personal information about yourself. (For the record this does not bug me THAT much, except for giving out my phone number.)
At first I was concerned because I didn’t want to activate my new card right away – I thought I had more time. But after getting home and reading through the instructions, it does say that the card can be used right away. It says: Deze nieuwe kaart vervangt uw oude Bonuskaart. Uiteraard kunt u met uw nieuwe Bonuskaart gebruik blijven maken van al onze Bonusaabiedingen. Daarvoor heeft u niets te doen. U kunt deze nieuwe Bonuskaart meteen gebruiken aan de kassa.
Exception: if you want to see previous purchases you need to make an online account and register your card. I can no longer see previous purchases on the Albert Heijn app (newest version, iOS7). As soon as you update the app you are required to do this, whether or not you have an old or new card. It ‘forgets’ your old card.
I’m not quite sure how it works in this country – previously I was using a copy of Marco’s card – but perhaps it is not as common to require personal information for grocery cards as it is in America. Perhaps the old cards had no personal information on them at all and only collected anonymous data about shopping patterns. Whereas in America you usually have to give your address, phone number, and email. Whether or not they were actually valid was up to you…
Of course, like anything new, there are issues to address: there is no pin-code or password needed to see prior purchases online, and almost all of the bonus card number is displayed on the receipt (only a few standard numbers are missing). Though that article is from September so perhaps it has been fixed already.