Merchant Reward Critics Say More Local Offers Needed

I was quoted on The Financial Brand’s site this week providing my take on merchant reward programs like those offered by Cardlytics, Truaxis/Billshrink, or Segmint (Financial Brand: The Free And Easy Way To Reward Debit + Online Banking Users).

Here was the section Jeffrey pulled from an earlier blog post on my site (I encourage you to read the full post linked below), which was in response to a recent post on

What do you think? Are these type of merchant reward programs the next stage of social engagement, providing value to your clients and local communities/merchants, or are they yet another way that national and super-regional banks are going to innovate with scale where we cannot? Chime in.

Merchant Reward Critics Say More Local Offers Needed (Abbreviated Version)

Nearly 100% of the offers presented to financial consumers through the Cardlytics system are for a percentage off or a specific dollar discount. Presently, most of the offers are from big national brands like Burger Kings and The Body Shop. There aren’t many localized offers and merchants.

Bradley Leimer, head of online and mobile channels at Mechanics Bank, says that needs to change.

“Today, too many of these merchants are national chains and offers are not necessarily directly related to existing behavior,” Leimer wrote on his personal blog. “If you shop online and use your debit card at the Gap, does that mean that you also would use a coupon at Aeropostale? Maybe.”

“The big issue in this area is getting enough relevant offers in front of customers,” Leimer points out. “Merchants still must be convinced to go beyond the usual ‘3% off’ that you see everywhere.”

“Even though I really like the Cardlytics model, we need a few more things to happen,” says Leimer. We need a few more BofA sized banking partnerships to drive adoption, we need to add more contextual and proximity-based merchant modeling, and recruit FI customer/merchants to fill in categories and location.”

Financial Brand: The Free And Easy Way To Reward Debit + Online Banking Users

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