Magazine article American Banker

U.K. Firm Starts Contactless Card Loyalty Program

Magazine article American Banker

U.K. Firm Starts Contactless Card Loyalty Program

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Hernandez, PaymentsSource

The electronic payments provider sQuidcard Ltd. has introduced a contactless loyalty card that it said could help small, independent retailers in the U.K. develop deeper relationships with customers.

SQuidcard, of Surrey, already offers cards for the education and transit sectors, and last year tested its loyalty system with a popular coffee chain,Coffee Republic Trading Ltd. Aruna Withane, sQuidcard's business development manager, said the results were enough to roll out the program nationwide.

Retailers can customize their loyalty programs to include cash-back or merchandise discounts after a certain number of visits or purchases, or to support a prepaid gift card function using a microchip embedded in the cards.

"Flexibility is our key, and we obviously don't know their business as well as they know their own business," Withane said.

Withane, who was previously a Coffee Republic general manager, witnessed firsthand how the sQuidcard program can boost sales. Coffee Republic tested the program at several locations: a shopping center, a business center and a London site where it competed against similar quick-service food chains. The program worked best at the business center, where Coffee Republic often served repeat customers, he said.

"The shopping center was difficult because 70% of the people who came were new shoppers who we probably wouldn't see again," Withane said. Loyalty programs work best when they reward customers on second and third visits. …

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