Bob Daly, senior vice president of retail payment solutions at U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the U.S., believes that Real-Time Rewards, a patented process that uniquely streamlines the redemption experience, will significantly enhance the customer experience and increase customer loyalty exponentially.

Real-time redemption, instantaneous engagement, and personalized customer experiences are all concepts uniquely tied to U.S. Bank’s new FlexPerks Visa card and its associated Real-Time Rewards.
During his session, “Behind U.S. Bank’s Ultimate Achievement in Real-Time Redemption and Personalized Customer Experience,” Monday at the 6th annual Engagement & Experience Expo presented by Loyalty360, Daly talked about the idea behind the FlexPerks Visa card and the Real-Time Rewards loyalty program.

It’s set up to allow users to redeem for rewards anywhere, anytime, and for making almost any purchase. This has been a goal for merchants and credit card companies for years. But several barriers, including disparate technologies and incompatible POS systems, have been nearly insurmountable.

U.S. Bank’s Real-Time Rewards, which launched in November 2015, links purchase behaviors and reward redemptions by removing third-party merchants from the process entirely. By taking control of the entire process itself, U.S. Bank has overcome the challenge of complex technological integration by leveraging a proprietary transaction platform that syncs with its own internal reward point engine. Effectively, this has allowed FlexPerks Visa cardholders to receive rewards and redemptions for virtually any purchase.

Daly talked about the evolution of redemption, from the venerable S&H green stamps, to gift cards, to Real-Time Rewards.

The overarching goal, Daly said, is to “put the power of instant rewards redemption in our card members’ hands, making it simple and convenient to use FlexPoints.”

A redeemer is more valuable than a non-redeemer and a multi-redeemer is more valuable than a one-time redeemer. Redemption is a good thing and Real-Time Rewards is enabling more redemptions.

“Our solution, we think, is unique,” Daly told attendees. “It creates a seamless relationship for our credit card program. It’s frictionless. There haven’t been easy ways for redemption until now. Redemption is highly correlated with the value of the program.”

Daly said that, at any Visa location when someone uses the FlexPerks Visa card via Real-Time Rewards, they will instantly receive a text, alerting them to their point balance and ask if they would like to redeem any portion of it.

Real-Time Rewards is promoted at the online reward center, and through direct mail and statement inserts, Daly said, along with email and social campaigns. What’s more, it’s promoted via billboards, airport digitals, and television newscasts.

Since the launch of Real-Time Rewards, U.S. Bank has seen a staggering 318 percent growth, including 4.6 redemptions per redeemer, an average points redemption of 6,519, and an average points per redeemer of 29,767.

The most popular merchants for redemptions are:, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Cub Foods, Home Depot, Best Buy, Starbucks, Best Buy, Starbucks, and Kroger.

A key statistic gleaned from the program since launch is the gross cost per redeemed point for program enrollees is 12 percent less.

“We’re real happy with the results so far,” Daly said. “We think it’s the future. Mobile really is the future.”
The FlexPerks Visa card/Real-Time Rewards program was born out of the old Northwest Airlines WorldPerks program, Daly said.

“Simplicity is the rule of thumb,” Daly said. “The challenges with cash is it’s hard to get excited about it. People like merchandise, gift cards, and we’re seeing more redemptions for experiences. We’re very happy where we are we’re wondering where else this could play.”

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