American Express updated its iOS credit card app this week and is poised to enter the daily deals market to take on successful coupon services such as Groupon.
The new feature is called “My Offers” and it’s currently in a pilot program for users of the American Express app. That app is built specifically for American Express cardholders and allows them to manage their credit cards remotely with the help of a 3G or Wi-Fi Internet connection. After users link a card to the app, the My Offers feature uses information about the things those users purchase, and uses that knowledge to bring them deals from their area related to the kinds of things they buy and like.
American Express’s knowledge of what its customers are purchasing using their credit cards gives it an edge over Groupon and other deal services offered by, say, Google. Because AmEx knows what you want to buy, it’s able to target deals specifically to you. That can be better for the consumer, because they get more relevant deals than they otherwise would.
More notably, though, is that it’s good for merchants. One of the major issues with Groupon is that in trying to attract new customers through a daily deal, small businesses can accidentally cannibalize their existing customer base by providing them a coupon when those customers would normally come in anyway, and pay full price. AmEx’s info about consumers means merchants can choose to exclude existing customers, for example, or people who have already used a deal at their establishment. And that can be more profitable for businesses.
But as VentureBeat reports, businesses aren’t just able to cut customers out of deals – they can also push loyalty rewards and other promotions, and AmEx provides them the information they need to do it. It potentially can give a lot of market research that bigger corporations are able to gather on their own to small businesses.
The AmEx app includes a new dashboard specifically for navigating deals, where users can check out their available offers and see them ranked by relevance based on their current location and spending habits. Using offers requires loading the offer to your credit card through the app, and then using the card to make a purchase. Since AmEx is facilitating the deal, the savings show up on your credit statement within a few days. You can also see what offers you’ve already used, what you’ve saved because of those offers, and what deals have expired.
The app is currently available for free in the iTunes App Store, although you’ll need to be an American Express customer to use it.