Safeway card now can access bank accounts

The little red card that Safeway customers

carry in their wallets is becoming

more useful.

The Safeway Club Card, which previously

allowed customers discount prices on

some items while simultaneously recording

their purchase habits into a data base, now

can be used as something akin to a debit

card to pay for purchases.

Brian Dowling, a Safeway spokesman,

said the service has been well received

since its introduction into the company's

markets in northern California and

Nevada during the last month.

He said Safeway previously offered the

service through its Vons subsidiary in

Southern California.

Customers, he said, appreciate the

convenience of being able to use a single

card rather than juggling one membership

card for discounts and another card

to make a payment.

The upfront paperwork? Customers fill

out an application, submit a voided check

and wait about three weeks for the service

to be activated.

The card itself is no more complex,

no matter how many types of transactions

it handles.

A bar code on the card identifies the

users to the store's computer, and the processing

work is done at the computer.

A spot check of Safeway competitors in

northern Nevada found none with immediate

plans to roll out a similar service.

In fact, a spokesperson for Raley's said

the company's customers are happy that

Raley's doesn't have a card of any type

for discounts or payment.

"A lot of people have complimented us

on it," said Carolyn Konrad at Raley's

headquarters in Sacramento.


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