Does My Club Need Digital Membership Cards?


You’ve probably realised you could be running your club in a more efficient way and have started to seek out answers online. You’ve found membership management software and are starting to read up on all the benefits. 

Maybe you are intrigued by the possibilities of making your membership card digital or maybe you're just confused. Either way, let’s talk about digital membership cards and their benefits. 

An overstuffed wallet can be a literal pain in the ass. So how do we solve this? We no longer carry wallets. If we do, we carry extremely thin small ones that hold little more than a licence and a few bank cards. 

It’s 2023, and whether we like it or not the digital age is upon us and more and more of our cards are now digital. Driver’s licences, bank cards, Medicare cards, and even Dan Murphy’s membership cards are now digitally stored on our phones. 

It is 2023 boot-cut flares are inexplicably back, and it’s time to make your club’s membership card digital. 

There are a lot of benefits to using a digital membership card versus a traditional one. For both you and your members. A large proportion of the clubs we work with here at Member Jungle use digital membership cards instead of plastic ones. So, let’s talk a little about why. 

What you're going to learn from this article:

  • Benefits Of Digital Membership Cards
    • They Cannot Be Lost
    • They Just Do More
    • The Price Of Digital Membership Cards
    • Impact On The Environment  
  • Drawbacks of digital membership cards 
    • What About The Traditionalists
    • Reliance On Technology 

Benefits Of Digital Membership Cards

Ease of access

In this day and age, the vast majority of us have our phones on us all the time. When your membership card is stored securely on your phone, you have your membership card wherever you have your phone. This makes things a lot easier. You no longer need to worry about remembering your plastic card when you leave the house, all you need to do is make sure you have your phone. Which is something you are most likely already doing. 

This means that as long as you remember your phone, you will never turn up to a club event only to realise your plastic membership card has snuck off and left you high and dry.

Digital cards can be available to use through the digital wallet on your smartphone or if you’re a Member Jungle customer your club app. That is much simpler than keeping track of your physical plastic card. Once you have logged in once, your card will be stored and available for you to show at any time.

They Just Do More

A digital membership card can do everything your traditional plastic card can do and so much more. Just like a regular card, they can display your members’ name, date of birth, member status and membership number. Basically, any information you want.

Unlike traditional plastic cards, if your member updates their information the card can be updated easily. If one of your members moves or renews their membership, there’s no need to post a new card. You can just update their information in the system and their digital card will automatically update. 

If you are using the digital card available to Member Jungle customers, your club's administrator will be able to take attendance with the digital cards. This can be done by logging into your club app as an administrator and scanning the barcode and/or a QR code displayed on your members’ cards with your phone. 

This means that instead of manually checking all attending members' cards and then writing down the names and/or amount of members in attendance. You can scan in all your attendees through the app as they arrive at your event. This can save you a great deal of time and effort. The names and numbers of attendees will be saved online, for you to access when you’re ready. 

The Price Of Digital Membership Cards

All that is without even getting into the cost of physical cards. A physical card can cost up to $3 each, then add $1.50 for postage and a few cents for envelopes and stamps. It’s all up we’re looking at nearly $5. Then just multiply that by however many members you have. $5 times a hundred members, that’s $500 dollars right there. That’s a lot of money to be spending on easily losable pieces of plastic.  Just think about all the money you could be saving by taking your membership cards digital. 

Impact on the Environment

Plastic membership cards are truly terrible for the environment. Most membership cards are made from PVC plastic which is non-recyclable and PVC plastic is the least recyclable of all plastics. So all these plastic cards go straight into landfill once their usefulness is done. A great deal of chlorine is needed to make PVC plastic and this leads to an ever-growing amount of chlorine buildup in the environment. Though chlorine by itself isn’t particularly harmful it is shockingly good at binding to other substances and entering the food chain. Basically, every human on the planet, including me, and you have these little bits of chlorine pollution inside of us. This build-up of chlorine can lead to the increased likeliness of cancers, birth defects and immune suppression in humans. 

This means that every time you send out new membership cards, all those old ones are going straight to landfill, where they poison the earth. Plus all those new cards are increasing the chlorine pollution of the food chain.    

Here at Member Jungle, we take the environmental impact of our business very seriously, which is why we feel compelled to tell you all this. We know that the environmental impact of your club may not be your biggest priority. Even if this is the case, switching to digital cards will have the side effect of helping the environment. 

Offer Extra Member Benefits

Digital membership cards also allow you to offer extra exclusive benefits to your members. You can integrate your Member Jungle digital membership cards with your existing P.O.S. system. This means that you can scan your members' digital cards when they make a purchase, so they receive a discount. This works for pubs and clubs offering discounted drinks at the bar for members, and it works for hobby clubs offering discounts on club merchandise. 

If your club has sponsors or affiliated businesses that offer discounts for club members, your digital membership cards can be used as proof of membership, so your members can get access to these discounts. This is a great way to add extra value to your club and help improve member satisfaction and retention.  

Not to mention having a slick digital membership card makes people feel proud to be a part of your community. Again this can increase member retention and loyalty. 

The Drawbacks Of Digital Membership Cards

Reliance On Technology 

The single biggest drawback of digital membership cards is their reliance on technology. 

Digital membership cards are only usable via smartphones or tablets, meaning that to use them you need to have one or the other. I know this doesn’t seem like a drawback yet, after all almost all of us constantly have a smartphone within reach. However, plastic membership cards don’t need batteries, they will never die right when you need them most. Unlike smartphones and their ability to show our digital cards. So if you are going to use digital membership cards make sure to take into account the battery life of your members’ phones. 

Another drawback of digital membership cards is less about them and more about the systems that are used in checking in with digital cards. As we discussed above the Member Jungle app can be used to digitally scan and check in members at events and functions. However, this system needs an internet connection to work which would severely limit its usefulness in remote locations without reception.  So, if you were using digital cards for a remote event you may need to plan ahead and factor in the time it would take to manually check in all attendees. 

What About The Traditionalists?

There are going to be some people who refuse to accept the digital age or simply prefer a physical card. There is certainly something to be said about the feel of a shiny new card. A lot of people feel very proud to be able to pull out and flash that fancy plastic membership card and this makes sense. Despite all its advantages, a digital card is not as flashy as slapping a physical card down on the counter.  

There may well be holdouts and people who don’t want to give up their physical cards, especially if your members are in an older demographic. You may be able to talk these people around, or you may not, but you don’t need everyone on board to start using digital membership cards. 

A lot of clubs offer a hybrid digital and plastic system. Where they offer members both a digital and/or a plastic membership card at sign-up and renewal. Doing this allows traditionalists to keep their plastic cards and those who want them to get digital cards. Every time someone accepts a digital card instead of a plastic one you will be saving money too. It’s fairly common for clubs to still offer to print cards for some members. A lot of these clubs start to charge for card printing after a few years of implementing digital cards. This means that members can still stay with the old plastic cards, but they have to pay for it. 

It’s Time To Go Digital

All in all, digital membership cards aren’t just a phase of a more and more digitally obsessed world. They are an incredibly useful bit of kit that your club needs if it wants to start doing things easier and better.

If you want to know more about digital membership cards and why they are what your club needs in 2023, check out What is a Digital Membership Card? 

If you want to do some more research into What is Membership Management Software, have a look here. 

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