Rethinking Mobile Credit Card Rewards

by on Nov 12, 2012

mobile_phone_appsIt was around this time last year that credit card issuers began allowing clients to redeem rewards using their mobile devices. Most firms introduced simplified mobile versions of their online redemption catalogs, but some innovative tools were designed with the mobile channel’s advantages in mind. For instance, Citi partnered with Best Buy for an app that lets clients scan and redeem merchandise in-store with a smartphone. Recently, American Express and Discover enhanced their mobile credit card rewards capabilities with an eye toward how consumers are actually using smartphones and tablets.

American Express
American Express added new and original mobile gift card redemptions to the iPhone app. Instead of receiving a gift card by mail or a voucher code by email, mobile gift cards are stored in a “wallet” within the app and can be used at a limited number of partners such as the Gap or Pottery Barn by scanning a bar code.

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American Express iPhone App

Discover
On the other hand, Discover’s innovations focus on the earn side. Their iPad app integrates the ShopDiscover mall, where clients can link to online retailers for bonus earn rates. Essentially, the iPad now offers the same experience as using the ShopDiscover mall online.

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Discover iPad App

Closing Thoughts
AmEx and Discover’s additions underline the differing purposes served by smartphones and tablets. AmEx’s mobile gift cards make sense for a device that users carry with them on the go and can easily pull out while shopping. Tablets are more commonly used at home for leisure activities such as online shopping. These new tools indicate a smart approach to mobile development.