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2020’s Silver Bullet for Bank Digital Engagement: Card-Linked Offers

How do the best companies in the world build digital trust and data confidence with consumers? They do it by adhering to these 7 straightforward data best practices.

CardLinx, a multi-industry trade association, recently completed a 1.5 year study and task force to identify key factors driving digital trust and data confidence. Task force members determined that merchants, mobile apps, payment processors, card-issuing banks, payment networks, advertisers and regulators embrace a common framework of consumer rights that help ensure a reliable and safe digital world.

Here are the 7 keys to mastering that digital world.


1. Transparency—Consumers need to know what data you collect about them, how you get it, and why. Plus they want to understand how it’s used, shared and retained. A great example of this approach is TransUnion.

2. Consent—Asking for permission and providing opt-ins (and opt-outs) show respect to consumers—and instill confidence in your organization. A leading example of this is approach is Rakuten Ebates In-Store.

3. Choice and Control—Let the consumer be your co-pilot. Partner with them in determining whether disclosure of their personal data is or isn’t permitted for marketing or other purposes. A great approach is from MasterCard.

4. Access—Don’t “hide the ball” and prevent a consumer from accessing the data collected about them. A great example of enabling a consumer to access their data is Microsoft.

5. Data Portability—By letting consumers download their personal financial data any time—in the format that works for them—you inspire the trust that benefits everyone.

6. Correct and Delete—If the data is wrong, let customers fix it and/or let them choose to make it unavailable to others. Giving them these capabilities generates mutual respect. TransUnion demonstrates best practice here.

7. Data Security—Treat consumers’ data as if it were your own. By protecting their personal information appropriately (and consistent with its sensitivity), you build trust.

The key output of the recent CardLinx study is a framework of consumer digital rights to advance the fair, efficient and effective use of personal and financial data. We invite you to reference—and adopt—the guiding principles shared by our member companies. To learn more, attend one of our upcoming forums or download our consumer data principles.

Loyalty Points Redemption: FIS, Paypal Team Up

FIS and PayPal have partnered to offer more payment choices to their joint customers. Beginning Q3 2020, consumers with payment cards from financial institutions participating in FIS’ Premium Payback loyalty network can redeem points for payment using PayPal. FIS is the first non-bank payments processor to integrate with PayPal’s Pay with Rewards program—a partnership that will benefit millions of cardholders.

CardLinx Insight:

CardLinx member FIS pulled off another strategic win with PayPal. Showcased at CardLinx East, the extended partnership is a great example of how FIS’ vast capabilities with loyalty, merchants and card issuers can deliver unexpected innovation. PayPal gains significant payment share online by funding transactions with billions of dollars’ worth of points currently trapped in bank credit card loyalty programs.

FIS is strengthening its leadership position as the top payments processor in the US by enabling top e-commerce wallet provider PayPal. Already the leader in offline payment card processing for banks and in-store payment card processing for merchants, FIS is now positioned to expand its online reach as well.

Card-Linking: Driving Value for Customers


The CardLinx Association, a non-profit trade group with members in 17 countries and on four continents (, has its finger on the pulse of the card-link industry. Our team continuously monitors the marketplace to uncover the innovative ways merchants and retailers use card-linking to build affinity.

Consideration for inclusion on the top-10 list was based on three key factors:

  1. Innovation. Features consumers value, including the ability to receive and redeem a cash-back reward or loyalty points.
  2. Scale of CLO Advertising Budget. The dollar amount that the merchant dedicates to promoting the card-linked marketing channel.
  3. Longevity. The length of time the program has been in market.

Congratulations to the 2020 CardLinx Top 10 US National Merchants (and Runners Up). Read on to learn what they did to make the list.


1. Starbucks

The ubiquitous coffee company (including Seattle’s Best, Tazo Tea, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange and Torrefazione) came on the scene in 1985—and continues to lead the category. Starbucks card linked offers are available on many of the most ubiquitous CLO platforms including BankAmerideals, Chase mobile offers and many more.

2. BP

BP, one of the world’s largest gas and oil companies, gives customers discounts at the pump at participating BP and Amoco stations. Cardholders get up to 30¢ off each gallon when they use a linked BP Visa credit card or BP credit card and download the BPme app. 5cents off if they use any other credit card on app.

3. FedEx

Shipping and printing company FedEx, with more than 2,000 retail location has partnered with leading card issuers including AMEX to provide card linked offers. Then they simply accept the offer—and use the card to pay. Amex Offers are in addition to the savings and discounts customers get through their FedEx account.

4. Sam’s Club

Retail warehouse Sam’s Club is known for offering quality products at exceptional value. They have card linked offers available through Rakuten in store among other publishers. The Walmart-owned membership club, with 599 locations worldwide, has also earned a reputation for rewarding customers with cash back for qualifying in-club, online and mobile purchases made with the Sam’s Club MasterCard.

5. Hilton

Hilton Worldwide is one of the largest and fastest growing hospitality companies in the world, with more than 4,660 hotels, resorts and timeshare properties comprising more than 765,000 rooms in 102 countries and territories. They work with a number of CLO platforms which include Rakuten, Chase, and Wells Fargo. They believe in honoring more than 52 million members with exciting, authentic, and extraordinary possibilities.

6. UnderArmour

When Rakuten members take advantage of Under Armour, Inc. offers, they benefit from all available coupons, plus they get 3% cash back using a linked card.

7. Staples

Staples is the world’s largest office products company with consistently great deals on office supplies, printer ink, toner, computers, printers and office furniture. Rakuten members can get 2% cash back using a linked card.

8. Total Wine & More

The country’s largest independent wine retailer, which started in 1991, operates 201 superstores in 24 states and continues to grow. They have a card-linked offers in a variety of platforms including Groupon.

9. Best Western

With over 4,000 hotels in over 100 countries, Best Western offers quality hotel rooms and travel packages at affordable rates. Book your next vacation or business trip and save with Best Western coupons and discount hotel reservations. You are able to find card-linked offers for Best Western on Rakuten and Chase among others.

10. Nordstrom Rack

Savvy shoppers get discount prices up to 70% off on top brands on luxury clothing, shoes and accessories for women, men, juniors and kids at Nordstrom Rack. They participate in a wide variety of card-linked offers which include AMEX, BankAmerideals, Rakuten and more.


11. Five Guys

Founded in 1986 by a mom, dad and their five sons, Five Guys is an American fast casual restaurant chain. The burger and fries eateries—there are 1,500 of them in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East—let customers place orders online to pick-up or deliver.

12. Ray-Ban

Ray-Ban is the global leader in premium eyewear market and by far the best-selling eyewear brand in the world. They have the hottest sunglasses including Wayfarer, Clubmaster, and Aviator styles.

13. Macy’s

Famously known for delivering high-quality fashion, outstanding home accessories and décor, and affordable luxury goods of all categories to customers for over 150 years, Macy’s is your online and in-store destination for everything you need or want.

14. Saks Off 5th

Saks OFF 5TH is your premier discount designer outlet, offering all the top fashion brands for men, women and kids at savings of up to 70% off standard retail pricing.

15. Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese was founded in 1977 and is a popular destination for families with kids between two and 12. The chain, the primary brand of CEC Entertainment, Inc., features pizza, a salad bar, animated characters and an arcade.

16. Paul Martin’s Grill

Paul Martin’s American Grill, a privately held company founded in 2007 by Paul Fleming and Brian Bennett with the mission to offer America’s classic cuisine by using only the highest quality, best tasting ingredients, where all food is grilled on live fire.

17. JC Penney

JCPenney has a range of fantastic deals available on clothing, homeware and more so you can shop well-known brands at great discounted prices.

18. Bed, Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., founded in 1971, is an omni-channel retailer offering high quality and differentiated products for the home.

19. Crate & Barrel

Crate & Barrel sells furnishings and accessories from its nearly 100 stores, by catalog and online. Founded in 1962, the retailer’s known for quality design, value and functionality. Affiliated brands include CB2 and Land of Nod.

20. Gap

Gap is an American clothing and accessories retailer founded in 1969. Affiliated brands include Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, with a combined 3,100+ stores.

Card-linking programs continue to gain traction among banks, card issuers, non-bank CLOs—and merchants and retailers. By providing the rewards (and offers) consumers are looking for, they’re building customer loyalty, and establishing themselves as market leaders.

Unless otherwise noted the card-linked programs described above are free to consumers.

Leading Card-Linking Technology Companies


Technology companies providing card-linking solutions are enabling widespread adoption of card-linked programs. Increasingly retailers/merchants, financial institutions, card issuers—and consumers—are counting on innovative platforms now available to help card-linking grow.

The CardLinx Association is a non-profit trade group with members in 17 countries and on four continents ( Members include Microsoft, Rakuten, Samsung, UBS and RBC to name a few. CardLinx recently evaluated card-link technology companies worldwide based on four key factors:
1. Innovation. Features all parties care about most, including relevance, targeting, privacy and results.
2. Engagement. Consumer ease-of-use and experience.
3. Longevity. The length of time the solution has been in market.
4. Scale. The number of consumers, merchants, FIs and card issuers impacted.
Read on to find out what these category leaders did to make the list.


1. Cardlytics

Cardlytics harnesses the power of purchase intelligence to help consumers receive more relevant ads and offers; help financial institutions increase customer engagement; and allow marketers to act on insights and achieve measurable returns. Its bank- and privacy-friendly technology solution links banking and marketing to benefit both industries, and provides consumers the rewards, cash back and savings they’re looking for.

2. Augeo

Augeo’s independent loyalty platform enables personalized experiences; shares insight from data and analytics; and includes technology needed to drive engagement. The payment card-linking technology delivers cash-back or bonus-points to consumers. Augeo’s platform, Ampre, also provides merchants historical data needed to understand the customer, target offers and increase ROI.

3. Fidel

Fidel enables secure, reliable access to real-time card payment data. Through one API, developers access data from the three major card networks and build applications on top of the payments infrastructure—supercharging the targeted, card-linked savings, rewards and cash-back programs consumers demand. The capabilities promote customer loyalty to financial institutions, card issuers, and merchants.

4. Collinson

Collinson believes today’s choice-rich customer demands more for their loyalty. Working with leading]] brands—including 1,400+ banks, 90+ airlines and 20+ hotel groups—the loyalty strategy, solutions and deployment company enables card-linking to attract profitable customers and build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships, with a specialization in engaging high-earning, frequent travelers.

5. Empyr

Empyr is a leading card-linked offer engagement platform for national brands and digital publishers– increasing consumer engagement, driving guaranteed revenue, and unlocking transparent offline sales analytics. The company helps websites and apps earn offline revenue—and reveal in-store sales attribution—from custom card-linking programs.

6. OpenSparkz

OpenSparkz delivers an end-to-end scheme-agnostic card-linked enablement platform that redefines the next generation of loyalty and offers for program operators, merchants and consumers. The company helps organizations that already have loyalty programs or already make offers to their customers by removing friction and cost and creating better experiences for consumers and merchants.

7. Tuango

Tuango harnesses group buying power from its more than 1 million members to negotiate local and national exclusive offers with merchants. By working with businesses and bringing them a minimum number of customers, the company provides the best discounts around. Consumers benefit by saving money and businesses are able to garner new clientele.

8. TakeMePay/Japan Foodie

Japan Foodie is well-known as a multi-payment service mainly for the restaurant industry in Japan. When tourists visit Japan whether they are from China or the US, they can use the Japan Foodie app on their smartphone to make a reservation, order off the menu and pay, eliminating the friction of finding and dining at a restaurant in a foreign country. Japan Foodie launched TakeMe Pay, a smartphone multi-payment app that uses QR codes to accommodate numerous mobile and online payment services from around the world.

9. Meniga

Meniga improves financial lives by bringing consumers, businesses and banks together in a mutually beneficial ecosystem—all through its innovative platform. It starts with the transaction. Consumers get personalized rewards from the brand they love. Businesses take their sales and marketing to a new high through benchmarking and targeting. And banks improve customer engagement and boost revenue.

10. Kard

Kard is a loyalty program designed to help consumers earn more credit card rewards, miles and cash back and card issuers offset their loyalty costs. Kard is a web application that notifies consumers when they can earn points by shopping at some of the largest retailers in the country like Wal Mart, Home Depot, The Gap, and Apple. Kard also provides a Google Chrome Extension that sends notifications while shopping online.

Digital-Savvy Foreign Banks Enter US Market

CardLinx member company RBC (formerly known as Royal Bank of Canada) announced it will be launching a digital bank in the US targeting affluent customers. RBC is the largest bank in Canada and has launched a number of card-linking programs in Canada through its RBC Ventures unit.

CardLinx Insight:

RBC joins a growing list of large foreign banks opening operations in the US. CardLinx member Rakuten, one of the largest card issuers in Japan, announced late last year that it was setting up shop in the US as well. While the US banking and card market is the largest in the world, US FIs are perceived as slow to adopt the latest direct-to-consumer technologies. As a result, foreign entrants from Asia, Europe and now Canada are poised to leverage on their digital-channel know how to court affluent consumers looking for deals and new ways to engage with their banking partners.

Payments, Tech and Travel Hit by Coronavirus

CardLinx members including Mastercard, Microsoft and Hilton have all announced negative impacts from the rapidly spreading coronavirus. This week Mastercard revised downward its revenue forecast by 2%- 3%, citing slower cross border transaction growth. Microsoft issued lower revenue guidance due to supply chain disruptions in Asia. Hilton recently temporarily closed 150 hotels in China due the coronavirus.

CardLinx Insight:

The announcements highlight the accelerating impact of the mystery virus around the world. What is notable is that these companies are from significantly different industries and they are all large global players. The disruption is most severe among hotels and airlines but the announcements by Mastercard and Microsoft demonstrate that the virus will reach far beyond the travel industry to finance, payments and technology companies. Other large companies including Apple also issued revenue warnings this week.

Industry participants should expect that the Covid 19 virus may trigger a recession in both China and Japan in 2020. China and Japan are the number 2 and number 3 largest economies in the world. The USA is the largest economy in the world and has had a more muted impact so far, but many forecasters expect an economic slowdown in the US also.

We Welcome ORS Group to The CardLinx Association

ORS Group is a leader in Applied Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to optimize and transform complex business processes. They have effectively combined Risk Management, Advanced Techniques in Finance and Operational Research expertise to enable and automate decisioning for enterprises. Built on a scalable and lightning fast architecture, ORS’s modular software ecosystem is composed of hundreds of Algorithmic-Assets, which can be combined to deliver rapid and real business benefits. They have delivered over $10 billion(USD) in yearly savings and higher margins to their customers globally. For more information, please visit


We Welcome YouWorld to The CardLinx Association

YouWorld is a tech-solution provider which drives foot traffic and sales to stores by enabling customers to purchase e-gift cards using their native mobile payment and currency. YouWorld’s technology allows easy implementation of Chinese mobile payments, requires no workflow changes for retailers, and ensures zero fraud. Its estimated reach is around 10 million Chinese households. By working with WeChat and AliPay, YouWorld reaches up to 3 million Chinese outbound travelers to the US and 20+ million Chinese outbound travelers globally. YouWorld’s solution delivers a native shopping experience and points/cashback for local and traveling Chinese customers. YouWorld helps brands reach high value customers and guarantee store visits that generate $3M+ monthly sales. For more information, please visit


April 21, 2020 | San Francisco, CA


June 30, 2020 | Paris, France


September 1, 2020 | Tokyo, Japan


Augeo, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Western, BP, Card-Linked Offers, Card-Linking, CardLinx Asia Forum, CardLinx Europe Forum, CardLinx West Forum, Cardlytics, Cash Back, Chuck E. Cheese, Collinson, Coronavirus, Crate&Barrel, Cross-Border Transaction, Data Privacy, Digital Loyalty, Empyr, FedEx, Fidel, FIS, Five Guys, Gap, Hilton, Hotel, Japan Foodie, JCPenney, Kard, Loyalty, Macy’s, Mastercard, Meniga, Merchants, Microsoft, Mobile App, New Members, Nordstrom Rack, OpenSparkz, ORS Group, Paul Martin’s, PayPal, Ray-Ban, Rbc, SaksOff5th, Sam’s Club, Staples, Starbucks, TakeMe Pay, Technology Company, Total Wine, Tuango, UnderArmour, YouWorld

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