First National Bank of Omaha is offering a rewards program from Cardlytics that lets customers access merchant offers through First National's FNBO Direct online banking service.
Users of MyDeals must have an FNBO Extra Earnings Visa credit card account. Participating merchants make customers offers that are informed by customers' spending habits as indicated by their transaction history with the card.
Customers log in to their FNBO Direct account and select an offer, which is then linked to the card, said Teresa Sloboth, FNBO Direct's marketing manager.
Participating merchants include Home Depot Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Macy's Inc. The rewards service went live at First National on Aug. 16.
When consumers use their card at the merchant, FNBO Direct "receives the information on the back end, which shows us that the consumer did activate the offer," Sloboth said. The offers appear as credits to users' accounts at the end of the month.
Most cash-back offers through the service are capped at 15%, though some merchants also offer add-ons with purchases such as free coffee or free appetizers, Sloboth said.
The discounts and offers consumers receive each time they log in to their account are based on their transaction histories.
If consumers use their credit or debit card "on a daily basis, they will receive offers on a daily basis," Sloboth said. And as with paper coupons, activated offers expire and become unredeemable if unused, she said.
Cardlytics, of Atlanta, works behind the scenes to help display relevant offers to consumers by helping the merchants target customers by location, store name or frequency of purchase, said Rod Witmond, senior vice president of product management at Cardlytics.
Merchants can develop a campaign for consumers who have "shopped in a specific ZIP code, spent a specific amount of money and have visited the store a specific number of times," Witmond said.
Merchants pay fees when people redeem offers, though the company would not say what these fees are.
Despite the delay in receiving rewards, MyDeals still seems like a "pretty compelling program all the way around," said Ron Shevlin, an analyst with Aite Group. "Consumers are not used to receiving real-time rewards, so the fact that it isn't immediate is not a major deterrent."
Rewards programs such as MyDeals are especially beneficial for consumers who want to spend money and enjoy receiving and using discounts for their purchases, he said.
Plus, consumers "don't have to deal with paper coupons or worry about points and have a promise of higher relevance, because the offers are based on their purchase and transaction history," Shevlin said.
And because consumers receive the funds at the end of each month instead of instantaneously, "they see more of a significant amount deposited," Witmond said. In fact, "an average participant may receive $200 to $300 in program rewards cash each year," he contends.
The program also may benefit banks, Shevlin said. Since customers have to go online to select and redeem the offers, "from the provider perspective, consumers are driven to the website, which leads to strong customer engagement," he said.