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Is Co-op membership worth it? And how to save more

A loyalty card that costs £1? Surely not. Well, there’s a lot more to this scheme than just money back. Take a look to see what benefits you’ll receive and whether the Co-op membership is worth it. Plus, I’ll share other ways to save money on your shopping.

is Co-op membership worth it?
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I recently wrote a guide to some of the best loyalty cards available in the UK, and most had similar benefits. But one of them stood out to me and it was the Co-op.

Now, my understanding of loyalty cards was that they were there to reward you. So why was there a card charging me to join? Surely it has some pretty impressive benefits?

What is Co-op membership?

Membership gives you money back every time you buy selected items at Co-op, plus they will donate money to community organisations and local causes. As a member, you will receive personalised offers each week for money off certain products and exclusive member discounts. You will also be eligible for discounts on Insurance, Funeralcare and Legal Services.

Also worth reading

Why not take a look at these great ways to save money on food?

Why does Co-op charge a fee?

To receive membership benefits, you first need to become a member. And to become a member, you need to pay £1 to Co-op and in return, you are issued a share.

How does it work?

Simply sign up online by following this link, downloading the Co-op app, or grab a temporary card* when you’re in-store. When you shop, scan your physical card or the app to earn rewards.

*If you do have a temporary card, you will need to transfer your balance within 12 weeks, otherwise it will be lost.

Personalised offers

Each week you’ll be sent a list of offers tailored to you. You then need to choose the most useful and save them in your online membership account or the Co-op app. These are often discounts on certain items or money off your whole shop.

How much can you earn from Co-op rewards?

Every time you spend £1, you’ll get 2 pence back (the same amount goes to local causes too). You can’t earn money from certain items, such as fuel, baby milk, cigarettes and tobacco. Although you’ll find this is quite standard for all loyalty cards.

What can you spend Co-op points on?

Unlike some rival schemes like Tesco Clubcard and Nectar, Co-op doesn’t have any partner offers where you can spend your rewards. So no discounts on meals out.

Instead, when you’re paying for your shopping, just present your card and ask for the money on your account to be deducted from your shopping total. You can also use any money you have on your card to pay towards selected Co-op Legal Services and Co-op Funeralcare. 

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You might be interested in how to get free food from these apps.

Co-op rewards expiry

Although the rewards you build up do not technically expire, any money you have will be wiped if you do not use it for 12 months.

How to make the most of your Co-op membership

As you can see, at 2% back on your shopping, this is quite a generous reward scheme. But you can do a few things to get even better value when you shop with Co-op.

£6 Meal deal

If you’re a regular shopper at Co-op, then I’m sure you’ve seen their £6 frozen meal deal. If not, you buy a selection of food (usually 5 or 6 items) in a multi-deal. If the items were bought separately, they would cost over £10, which is a major saving. And as a member, you’ll get this deal for just £5.

Take a look at the latest Co-op meal deal.

Student discount

Co-op offers one of the most generous student discount schemes available with 10% off your shop. Just show your card at the checkout. It is possible to claim your discount at the self-service till too, although it’s not one of the easiest processes and you may need to call over a staff member for help.

Cashback schemes

If you use online banking, there’s a good chance your bank offers cashback rewards. Just log into your account and check your offers page. You’ll usually have to activate the offer first and then use your registered bank card when you spend. Cashback will then be automatically added to your bank. My Santander account has given me 10% back on several shops at Co-op. Other banks that have similar offers include Lloyds and Halifax.

It’s also worth checking out Airtime Rewards, which can be linked to your debit and credit cards and will give you money back when you shop at certain retailers. You’ll often find Co-op listed.

Read more about the best cashback apps.

Receipt scanning

A final way to make the most back from your shopping is by scanning your receipts. There are plenty of companies out there that want to know about your shopping habits and what kind of things you buy. All you need to do is take a photo of your receipt using their app, and you’ll earn either Amazon vouchers or cash.

Take a look at the best receipt scanning apps.

So, is Co-op membership worth it?

Most definitely. Even if you’re an occasional Co-op shopper, 2 pence back for every £1 is still pretty generous. You don’t need to use personalised offers to make this scheme worthwhile. And combine it with some of the money-saving methods above, and you’ll be quids in!


Does the Co-op share pay a dividend?

If you’ve ever invested before, I’m sure you’ll know that most shares can earn you a dividend each year. However, this isn’t a share in the traditional sense, so you won’t receive any money.

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lorraine thorpe

Saturday 27th of May 2023

i don't understand why you can't use your card anywhere in the country like tesco & tesco express , a co-op is a co-op anywhere is'nt it ?

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