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CardSpring, an Accel Partners and Greylock Partners-backed start-up, went live last month with its application platform, which allows developers to create applications that can work with credit cards. Now, the nascent system is getting a huge boost with the help of payment processor First Data. 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 consumers payment cards or mobile wallet. First Data, which serves more than 6 million merchant locations including 4 million in the U.S., is piloting OfferWise with dozens of merchants and will roll out the service to its retail customers starting in May.
The partnership addresses the growing shift toward what First Data calls “universal commerce” as consumers look for a shopping experience that bridges online and offline channels and incorporates personalized deals and product information at all times. Increasingly, consumers are looking for deals online and through mobile channels as they look to save money. But many retailers who conduct outreach and marketing online often run into problems trying to close the redemption loop on offers. With OfferWise, retailers will be to send out a deal through an an offer provider and they can now see which deals are actually redeemed at the store through a debit, credit or pre-paid card. It doesn’t have to be a card transaction either. OfferWise can also connect to NFC-contactless payments and digital wallets like PayPal.
American Express and Visa have also tried similar efforts to connect offers and actions to their cards. AmericanExpress allows deals offered through Facebook, Foursquare and LevelUp to be connected to a card transaction, so a coupon can be processed at check-out. Visa did a test with the Gap , allowing Gap shoppers who sign up, they can get offers pushed out to them when they make a purchase on their Visa card. With OfferWise and CardSpring, all cards are accepted, making it more flexible for consumers. And merchants can also tap into First Data’s analytics engine to improve consumer targeting and get performance analysis of their campaigns.