Chase Bank and Visa are testing out a trial service that will beam customized merchant offers and discounts via SMS text message to mobile phone users in the Phoenix area.

The program, which will start in the Phoenix area, could be a key test of mobile couponing as a driver for merchant uptake of mobile transaction systems, especially contactless payments for which Visa is heavily invested.

"The intersection of mobile technology and consumer financial services is an area of focus for Chase,” says Eileen Serra, a Chase Card Services executive. “We're using leading technology to deliver compelling offers from top merchants directly to consumers' mobile devices, and at the same time, helping to increase spending and create greater loyalty for merchants participating in the trial.”

According to a release, cardholders will enroll with preferences for offers and merchants that would be appealing to them. The early merchant participants in the pilot include Papa John’s, Circle K convenience shops, Gap’s Old Navy clothing stores, Macy’s department store and Marriott International. Fans attending Arizona Diamondbacks games can receive special game-day offers at Chase Field.

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