Coupon Credit Cards: Saving and Spending in a Digital Age

The days of coupon cutting on Sunday mornings might be behind us, at least in a physical sense. But those days haven’t completely gone by the wayside. All types of media have been making the conversion to digital and with the conversion of news outlets and booksellers to online marketplaces it was only a matter of time before couponing followed suit.

Today, firms have the ability to gather considerable amounts of consumer information through statistic engines like click loggers and advertisement sites. This data is collected through many common web functions. Nearly all web servers have integrated statistics processors, which log users based on requested content. Vendors take this process one step further, using spending patterns provided by card issuers to record static spending patterns to set up triggers for future purchases in the form of card linked offers.

Card-linked offers go beyond simple digital coupons. The vendors operating these programs use copious amounts of cardholder data, provided to them by the card issuers, to identify the specific spending patterns of consumers and trigger offers for future purchases. The key for merchants is seizing the opportunity to hook up with the cards in most people’s wallets today.

CardSpring and First Data have bridged this gap, integrating mobile devices, credit cards and merchants by allowing developers to create applications that work with credit cards. GigaOM’s Ryan Kim tells us:

First Data is using CardSpring’s API as the basis for its OfferWise solution, a program that allows publishers to attach offers, coupons and loyalty accounts to a consumer’s payment cards or mobile wallet.

This represents a big step toward the future for ecommerce, and credit cards, and keeps cards’ relevancy intact in the face of the inevitable crossover to mobile devices creeping upon us in the form of Google Wallet among others. But as long as cards are a part of consumers’ everyday the ability to partner up with them will be a solid game plan for any business, large or small. The benefit of the CardSpring platform and First Data’s application of OfferWise is their accessibility by merchants and retailers.

With OfferWise, no new hardware is required, due to the use of CardSpring’s API. This can be a huge cost cutter in operations for businesses with little capital to spare. Retailers with no loyalty programs already in use can also connect to OfferWise and offer rewards to consumers. Add to that equation First Data’s analytics engine, which is available to merchants to better target consumers, and the benefits are clear.

With credit cards linking up with social media outlets like Facebook and Foursquare to employ the benefits of consumer data, the powerful analytics of First Data, and the ease of access of OfferWise it only makes sense for businesses to jump on board and reap those same rewards, and offer their own loyalty programs through coupon linked cards. Until the smartphone transcends the wallet, merchants can transcend coupons with smart business sense.

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