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October 7, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Are card-linked offers the next big thing in online discount deals? Microsoft thinks so
We wrote earlier this year about Guy Shahine, a development lead with Microsoft’s Online Services Division, who was working on Bing Offers Card-Linked, which electronically links a user’s credit card with discount deals featured on Bing Offers so that the user doesn’t have to pre-purchase a deal or carry easily misplaced coupons.
Today, Microsoft offered a few more details about Card-Linked (which is still in beta and available for now only in the Seattle area), including that it works with any deals you see on any Microsoft properties, including Skype, Outlook.com and Bing Apps.
Here’s how it works: When you sign up, you tell Card-Linked which credit or debit card you’d like the offers linked to. To redeem offers, you make an eligible purchase at the retailer, who will charge the full purchase amount to your card. Then within a few days, Card-Linked automatically processes the offer discount on your card.
“The real benefit over the Groupon model is that you don’t have to prepay and you don’t have to bring in a voucher,” said Erik Jorgensen, general manager of local advertising with Microsoft. “What’s good for the businesses (offering the deals) is they only pay when it gets redeemed.”
(The businesses pay Microsoft an ad fee at the time the transaction goes through.)
Related to this new model of doing discount deals, Microsoft, along with credit card companies, banks and other companies, announced that they’ve formed the CardLinx Association to establish interoperability standards and common business practices and to promote the card-linked offers model.
So far, members of this association include Bank of America, Discover, Deem, Facebook, First Data, Linkable Networks, LivingSocial, MasterCard, Affinity Solutions, CardSpring, Cardlytics and Microsoft.
Tom Burgess, CEO of Linkable Networks, a card-linked offers company, says this model is “disrupting daily deals and disrupting the left-behind coupon industry,” offering customers a quicker way of redeeming deals and businesses a way to digitally get their deals to consumers without having to buy new point-of-sales technology.
His company is working with a grocery chain to provide card-linked offers through the chain’s website, and another large retailer is testing the model.
“We’re going space by space,” he said.