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Capital One offers virtual deals

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

Capital One is the latest credit card issuer to offer digital coupons through a mobile app.

The company said it recently rolled out the new program called "Mobile Deals," which can be accessed by smartphone or via email. Cardholders simply download the app, click on the deal icon and start getting discounts from retailers.

Cardholders don't have to actively accept deals to get them. All they need to do is shop at the retailer offering the deal -- either at the store or online -- pay with their Capital One card and receive a credit on their credit card statement within 10 days. The app also keeps track of your account credits.

Company spokeswoman Sukhi Sahni says Capital One customizes the deal for each cardholder by monitoring his or her shopping preferences based on past purchases.

Capital One isn't alone in offering these virtual discounts. Credit card issuers are turning to these retailer discounts, called merchant-funded incentives in industry-speak, to replace lost revenue from recent regulations, according to a study last year by the Aite Group.

Earlier this month, American Express said it's piloting an app that offers a similar service to Capital One's Mobile Deals. The AmEx app recommends and ranks retailer discounts based on the cardholder's shopping habits and location. Cardholders can accept the offer, which is loaded onto the card. The credit shows up on the statement after the consumer makes a purchase at the retailer using his American Express card.

And in January, Bank of America said it's testing a similar program on employees in Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina. Wells Fargo, Citi, USAA and Discover also have their own versions.

Do you use these type of discounts from your credit card?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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2 Comments
Ray
June 01, 2012 at 8:26 am

I think this is a smart idea by the banks. Folks are addicted to smart phones and are always looking for ways to justify the added expenses they incur for these devices.

My guess is the deals available through these apps are mostly "smoke and mirror" discounts which you can get other ways and or they are only available off of full retail price.