Watch out for that seductive plastic chain stores are so keen to hand out. They really do make you spend more, according to research at the University of Stirling.
Susan Hart, now at Strathclyde University, led a team looking at the behaviour of shoppers with loyalty cards and of store employees. Professor Hart found that the cardholders spend Pounds 33.85 per visit to a store while the non-holders spend Pounds 13.93. They also spend 39 minutes on an average visit rather than 14 minutes for the cardless.
Analysing their receipts showed that the extra points on offer for some goods are attractive. But the research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, showed that loyalty cards do not buy loyalty. Holders make two-thirds of their visits to one store and a third to rivals, but even non-holders make return visits 60 per cent of the time.