Many consumers are now taking advantage of social couponing services like Groupon and LivingSocial to find savings on items they may want to purchase. Now the nation's largest credit card lender is working on a similar program for its debit and credit card holders.
BankAmeriDeals, a kind of social couponing service that offers consumers daily discounts based on their previous card spending habits, is now being tested by Bank of America employees in three states and will be rolled out to its workers across the country over the next few weeks, according to a report from The Associated Press. The service works by offering Bank of America credit or debit card customers deals when they log into the company's online banking sites, based on what stores they've purchased from in the past. Consumers can then click the offers to link them automatically to the account, with no printing required. Currently, there is no timetable for the bank to introduce the service to the general public.
But instead of granting consumers the discount at the register, the program works more like a traditional cash back rewards program, by giving the consumers the lump sum of the money they saved using the service in one payment at the end of every month, the report said. Customers will typically receive 16 or 20 of these offers every month, but those who use it more often will likely receive more. Those who want to opt out from receiving these offers will be given the option to do so as well.
Bank of America is launching this program because it grants consumers what are essentially cash back rewards that it does not have to pay for, the report said. Merchants will be the ones offering and paying for these discounts, not the bank, but it still serves as a means of incentivizing card use and as a way of building loyalty. For this reason, other banks including Chase and Regions are currently testing similar programs.
Banks are still trying to boost use of credit cards since many consumers changed their purchasing habits during the recession and are still looking for ways to reduce debt. However, many Americans are slowly beginning to return to their pre-recession spending habits of adding to their credit card debt and then paying it off over time.