Card Linking

A Guide to Card-Linked Offers

April 3, 2023

Card linked offers (CLO) present a win-win-win opportunity for financial institutions, merchants, and consumers.

In this guide, we explain how card linked offers work and what you need to know before launching your card linked offers program. 

In today's digital world, consumers are always looking for ways to save money while shopping and businesses are always looking for innovative ways to promote their products and services. Card linked offers (CLO) bring a simple and easy way for consumers to earn discounts, rewards and incentives for using their debit or credit cards, and financial institutions to increase their customer engagement and loyalty with their card holders. 

Today, CLO programs are also one of the fastest growing advertising mediums for brands and retailers due to their ability to solve challenges with marketing attribution, minimize upfront investment for marketers to achieve better ROAS with their performance campaigns. 

By connecting their customers with brands and retailers, banks and financial institutions can differentiate their card programs, increase customer loyalty, and improve their top of wallet positioning through their loyalty program and digital platform.

How Card-Linked Offers Work

Digital offers from brands and retailers are linked directly to a payment provider, such as a debit or credit card, and are redeemed by the consumer when the linked payment card is used at the point of sale. 

Card linked offers can be published on web and mobile banking apps, and other digital loyalty programs that display card-linked offers to their members. Customers can sign up for the program with ease on program provider’s website or mobile app, and once they've enrolled, they can access a list of participating retailers and their current promotions or discounts.

Most financial institutions will auto-enroll cards in this program to allow cardholders to earn rewards based on their card activity without extra hassle. To take advantage of a card-linked offer, customers simply need to make a purchase with their linked card at a participating merchant. The discount or promotion will be automatically applied at checkout, without the need for any additional coupons or codes, and customers automatically earn rewards or incentives in the loyalty currency of that program, such as cash back, points, miles, or statement credits.

Benefits of Card-Linked Offers

Better Customer Experience 

According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions and 78% of consumers who receive personalized offers said they are more likely to repeat their purchases.

By offering card linked offers, banks and financial institutions can create a more personalized and engaging experience for their customers while maximizing the impact of their card programs. Since customers don't need to clip coupons or remember to redeem offers, card linked offers are often more convenient and less of a hassle than traditional loyalty programs. Additionally, no personally identifiable information is shared, easing privacy concerns.

Since brands and retailers only pay a fee to the CLO provider when a customer makes a purchase, they don't have to worry about paying for advertising or promotions that don't lead to sales, which increase overall merchant participation and engagement on the platform leading to improved customer satisfaction. 

Increased card usage and customer loyalty

Card linked offers programs offer an innovative way for banks and financial institutions to incentivize customers to use their cards more frequently and thus build stronger relationships with them.

By offering innovative content, such as gift cards, SKU-based offers, merchant loyalty perks, and discounts on services, financial institutions can provide customers with a range of reward options beyond traditional cashback. This can help to set them apart from competitors and build stronger relationships with customers.

Additional revenue streams

CLO programs provide brands and retailers with a cost-effective way to advertise their products and services to a highly targeted audience. Rather than spending money on traditional advertising channels, brands and retailers can reach consumers directly through their payment cards.

Through partnering up with key brands and retailers and expanding their merchant network to include offers that are attractive to their customers, financial institutions can generate additional revenue streams by earning a percentage of the transaction value every time a customer makes a purchase using their linked card.

Enhanced data and insights

CLO programs provide financial institutions with valuable data and insights on customer spending habits, purchase behavior, and preferences. These insights can be used to develop targeted marketing campaigns, improve product offerings, and enhance overall customer experience. 

Choosing the Right Platform 

In the world of CLO, it's essential for a platform to provide value to all stakeholders - brands and retailers, consumers, and publishers;  banks and financial institutions - with maximum impact and ROI.

The first generation of CLO platforms are considered closed market, often struggling to deliver a significant number of offers, which had to be manually collected from a limited pool of merchants. Today, the growth and advancements in the market signal a future in which an open CLO platform can bring more value to all CLO stakeholders. 

Offering connectivity to thousands of merchants and their offers, the new generation of CLO platforms use sophisticated algorithms to dynamically target offers to individual consumers based on their interests, shopping behavior, and even location. This approach ensures that consumers receive highly relevant and personalized offers, which in turn drive engagement and loyalty for merchants, and increased card usage and customer satisfaction for publishers. 

Choosing the right platform is crucial for the success of a card linked offers program. When it comes to choosing the right platform to power up a CLO program, there are a few key factors to consider:

Technology: The platform should have advanced technology that is capable of handling large volumes of data and processing transactions quickly and securely, in addition to providing robust targeting and personalization capabilities. 

Merchant network: The platform should have a wide network of merchants across various industries and categories, to ensure that the offers are relevant and diverse, as well as easy to integrate into an existing CLO program. 

Customization options: The platform should offer customization options that allow financial institutions to tailor the program to their specific needs and goals including user interface, offer content, and targeting preferences. 

Data analytics: The platform should have robust data analytics capabilities that provide financial institutions with valuable insights into customer spending habits, purchase behavior, and preferences. These insights can be used to measure program performance and inform decisions for future program evolution and expansion. 

Compliance and security: The platform should adhere to strict compliance and security standards to ensure that customer data is protected and secure according to financial industry best practices. 


How We Can Help

When it comes to card-linked offers, we build rewarding experiences that put you in control.

As the most connected and flexible offers platform on the market, Triple offers a wide range of card-linked offers solutions to financial institutions and helps maximize CLO program capabilities and impact as a key implementation and growth partner. 

Today, Triple's platform is designed to connect banks and financial institutions with over 50,000 offers and incentives, acting as the proxy between card programs and an ever-growing network of merchants. The platform offers a full range of deployment options to start delighting customers right away or fine-tune every aspect of the user experience. Triple's out-of-the-box algorithmic feed surfaces the most relevant offers and incentives, driving customer engagement and satisfaction.

Triple’s advanced technology, wide merchant network, robust analytics, customization and control options for publishers allow financial institutions create a truly personalized and effective CLO program that drives customer engagement, loyalty, and revenue.

Get in touch with us to get the most out of your CLO program.