Scanning your membership card

Rosebay willowherb on the Whitehaven coast, Cumbria

All membership cards issued since April 2011 include a barcode. These questions and answers will give you more information about why we scan this barcode when you enter one of our properties.

Why are we scanning membership cards?
We'll use the data collected to offer you a more personalised experience of the Trust through more tailored communications, and it will make us more efficient, so even more of your money will go towards caring for the places you enjoy.

We can now accurately count and analyse member visits. It also enables us to track and prevent fraudulent use of National Trust membership cards. As a charity we rely heavily on membership subscriptions and admission fees to provide vital income to fund our conservation work.

What do you do with this information?
We are now able to analyse and count member visits more accurately than before, and also match the data back to our records to track any fraudulent use of membership. Ultimately, we also aim to use the information to contact you with suggestions of where to visit to help you get the most out of your membership.

Is it costing much?
There were some nominal costs for barcoding membership cards and initial investment was required for the hardware and software at our places. The long term benefits to the Trust far outweigh the short term costs.

Does it lengthen queues and increase the time it takes for me to enter a property?
No. In fact, it has shortened queues as the properties that scan membership cards are able to welcome members away from those visitors wishing to pay for entry.

Will my membership card be scanned at all of your places?
No. With so many sites, we can’t implement the scanning of membership cards everywhere. You may visit some places where the visitor reception staff simply check your membership card and others where they scan it. All you need to do is present your membership card to the member of staff who greets you.

How will the card be read?
The card is read using a handheld scanning device to capture the following information: the lead supporter identification number (the lead supporter is the person who pays the membership subscription), party size, place, date and time of your visit. You don’t need to do anything other than show your membership card to the member of staff, as you have always done.

When will my membership card be scanned?
If the place you are visiting is one of those which are scanning membership cards then your card will be scanned on entry. Members of staff will do this for you so all you need to do is show your membership card on entry as usual.

What information is contained within the barcode?
The barcode simply contains your lead supporter identification number (the lead supporter identification number is the person who pays the membership subscription). There is no personal information held within the barcode so if you happen to lose your membership card you don't need to worry that any personal details such as address or bank details have been compromised.

Will the scanning of cards be used to track my visits?
Initially, we're looking to see how many members visit which property and how often but we're also keen to encourage visiting to ensure members get the most out of their membership. As a result, in due course it may start to be used in this way so we can suggest new places to visit, based on your preferences.

Previously the text has rubbed off my card, will the barcode rub off as well?
We haven’t changed the type of card we’re using or the way we print them. However, we've tested the barcodes (with varying degrees of damage) and believe they will scan provided all the vertical lines are in existence in one horizontal line.

If for any reason the barcode has rubbed off to such an extent that it cannot be scanned, your visit will be recorded anonymously (as a tally for the property, without recording your lead supporter identification number). We are monitoring this and will review the printing of the text should it be necessary.

Can I laminate my National Trust membership card?
Yes, we will still be able to scan your membership card even if you have laminated it.

Can I opt out of receiving a scannable membership card?
No. We've introduced scannable membership cards for all of our members and in order to gain entry to our places you need to show your membership card to a member of staff and at properties with barcode scanners we will need to scan the card to count your entry. However, if you have opted out of receiving communications from us this will still be adhered to.

Where is the information being stored?
The information (the lead supporter number, time, date, place and party size) is stored on a secure central database. As already mentioned, we will potentially use this data to link to your membership record to analyse visits and to contact you. No personal information such as address or bank details will be collected or stored through the scanning of membership cards.

By showing your membership card at all places on entry you are helping us greatly to ensure we protect the very valuable income that we need to care for these special places for ever, for everyone.

We thank you in advance for your continued help and support and look forward to seeing you soon.