Magazine article American Banker

Sovereign to Offer Mobile Rewards

Magazine article American Banker

Sovereign to Offer Mobile Rewards

Article excerpt

Byline: Stephanie Bell

Affinity Solutions Inc. is working with Sovereign Bank to launch a mobile, merchant-funded rewards program for the bank's debit cardholders.

The program's mobile application, which works with Apple Inc.'s iPhone, enables cardholders to locate participating merchants and receive discounts immediately at the point of sale through cash back, miles or points, Jonathan Silver, Affinity's president and chief executive, said in an interview. Affinity plans to launch a similar application for Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry devices and phones that use Google Inc.'s Android operating system in 2011.

Eduardo Tobon, managing director of Sovereign's card division, said in an interview that the rewards program and mobile application are free to the bank's debit customers.

Sovereign, a unit of Banco SantanderSA, said it has no plans to also offer the program to its credit-card holders, Tobon said. Sovereign and Affinity, both of Boston, announced their partnership Dec. 3.

Through the application, cardholders may earn up to 20% cash back from such merchants as Duane Reade drugstores, Borders Direct LLC and Banana Republic Inc., Silver said.

The application also enables cardholders to check balance and transaction histories, search for deals closest to their location through the phone's GPS, search for participating merchants by ZIP code and map a route to a specific merchant, Silver said.

Affinity also tracks transaction histories and offers different deals based on past spending. Each cardholder that uses the application may see a deal that is different from one offered to other users, Silver said. …

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