This Is Why Stores Ask for Your Phone Number at the Checkout

Updated: Feb. 16, 2022

Here's why stores ask for personal information, like your phone number—and what to do about it.

Going through the checkout at the grocery store, pharmacy or department store, the cashier will usually ask if you found everything you needed. But another question that’s common? Stores asking for personal information, like a phone number or email address.

While this may be the norm at your local stores, I can’t help but wonder why.

Why Are Stores Asking for Personal Information?

If the person scanning your items at the store asks for your phone number, it’s not out of the blue. It’s likely a company policy put in place to collect information. When you offer up your phone number, a company can use it to find your address. That address is then used to send special offers or coupons to keep you coming back. The company wants to tailor to your shopping experience in hopes you’ll be a return customer.

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How to Say No

For some people, it may not seem like a big deal to offer up a phone number. For others? It can be an issue. If you’re not interested in giving out personal information, it’s perfectly fine to politely decline.

If a retailer phrases the question to make it feel like you must share information in order to check out, it’s certainly not the case. When asked, simply share that you prefer not to give out your phone number. Another option is to ask why it’s needed so you can learn more about the company’s policy. You can always decline to join a loyalty reward program or to give out your email address for a digital receipt. These are all ways that retailers gain information about their customers, and it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable sharing.

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