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The phrase “card linking” may not mean much to the average consumer right now, but thanks to the work of Microsoft, the implications of the concept and its impending growth might make it a significant leap forward for loyalty programs and the shoppers that use them.
A huge reason that shoppers disengage with loyalty programs is the hassle of actually earning points during the transaction. By requiring shoppers to use a separate swipe card or, worse yet, remember their username, programs are essentially pushing away potentially loyal customers.
The Cardlinx Association hopes to alleviate this point of friction by allowing customers to directly link payment cards to loyalty programs, allowing them to passively earn points simply by making purchases at their favorite brands. The group comprises brands like Facebook and Microsoft, the latter of which recently released software code for its card-linking platform, Earn, into the public domain, allowing any organization to use it as a headstart for setting up a card-linked program.
“Microsoft’s contribution of its software code to the public domain enables any bank or digital publisher to rapidly launch a card-linked program. While users will still need to apply directly to the payment networks and processors for card-linked data access, this code provides a great way to get started and greatly reduces the time to market,” said Silvio Tavares, President and CEO of CardLinx, the leading global association for online to offline commerce and card-linking. “We continue to be impressed by Microsoft’s leadership and thank them for their commitment to card-linking with this contribution.”
By lowering the barrier to entry for organizations to set up a card-linked program, the hope is that the trend will see rapid growth over the next year, substantially improving customer engagement as it relates to loyalty programs and benefitting both organizations and consumers.
“Microsoft has embraced card-linking and views this contribution as a way to further accelerate the global growth of this technology for the benefit of consumers and businesses,” said Eduardo Indacochea, Microsoft General Manager. “It’s our hope others within the industry will participate and help advance this technology.”
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