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AmEx takes to Twitter

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

The lines between social media and credit cards continue to blur as issuers look for new, hip ways to connect with consumers.

This time, American Express is teaming up with Twitter to offer virtual discounts, the credit card company said Tuesday. (Last week, LivingSocial announced a new credit card with Chase, while Barclaycard on Monday unveiled a "crowdsourced" credit card where an online community of cardholders helps determine the pricing and features of the card.)

American Express cardholders who sync their accounts with Twitter and tweet special deal hashtags will have that retailer's discount loaded onto their card. The cardholder will get the discount via a statement credit when they use their card at the retailer's store or online.

The company has already partnered with Best Buy, McDonald's, Whole Foods Market, Zappos, Century 21, 1-800-Flowers.com, Sports Authority, Virgin America, Ticketmaster and H&M, among others.

What do the retailers get in return besides a new customer? Your shopping habits. American Express will provide merchants with online and offline spending behavior of its customers, the company said in its press release.

Cardholders can find these special hashtags for deals on the issuer's website. Examples include tweeting "#AmexMcDonalds" to get $5 back on your next $5 or more purchase at the fast food chain when you pay with your American Express card. Century 21 is offering a $10 rebate on an online spree of $50 or more when a cardholder tweets "#AmexC21stores."

The latest effort with Twitter joins a long run of social media-inspired promotions by American Express. Last year, the company worked with Facebook to offer daily deals and with foursquare to offer mobile discounts.

It's all part of a recent migration toward social media by issuers as a new way to tap consumer interest. Credit card companies have been using Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to provide special discounts to fans and followers, to offer customer service help and/or to help direct the company's charitable giving.

Maybe it pays to stay "friendly" with your issuer. At least, virtually.

Are you connected to your credit card issuer through social media? If so, why?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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