First Data Connects Credit Cards to Offers and Loyalty Programs

Although merchants are become increasingly adept at offering personalized online offers to consumers, credit cards and other payment cards have remained relatively untouched as a marketing tool. That is starting to change.

Payment processor First Data unveiled yesterday its First Data OfferWise solution, a platform that allows merchants to electronically load offers, coupons, and loyalty programs onto credit cards or a mobile wallet, which can then be redeemed offline. Consumers who accept these offers must first opt-in by registering their credit or debit cards.

"This platform opens a world of possibilities that we think merchants will find very exciting," says Kevin Knowles, vice president of product development and advanced solutions and innovation at First Data. "Merchants will be able to interact further with customers, and in terms of CRM data, besides the traditional information, such as email addresses…they will also get real-time information about which offers customers are actually using, was it used by a new customer, and more."

First Data internally built the OfferWise solution, and through a partnership with CardSpring, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup that provides payment systems with Web Services, OfferWise can be integrated with multiple publishers through CardSpring's new application programming Interface (API).

"Online shopping is catching up, but people still do a majority of their shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. With this platform, merchants will finally be able to bridge the gap between online commerce and the physical world," adds Eckart Walther, CardSpring's CEO.

Merchants do not need to upgrade to new hardware to use OfferWise; it will be offered as a service through offer providers. First Data is currently testing a pilot version of the OfferWise solution with dozens of merchants and plans to roll out the solution to its more than 4 million U.S. customers in May.


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