Groupon tries a customer loyalty program tied to your credit card

Credit card being swiped through a card reader

It’s always tough to keep track of those loyalty cards that stores give you.

But if Groupon’s new Rewards program catches on, you may not need to: The new service allows customers to use their own credit cards as loyalty cards.

There’s no sophisticated technology involved: If you’ve ever made a Groupon purchase before, the company already has your credit card number on file.

That means that when you go back to a merchant who’s using the Groupon Rewards program and ring up a purchase on the same credit card, Groupon will be able to track how much you’re spending there on an ongoing basis.

Once you hit a certain preset limit, whether it’s $50 or $500, you’ll receive a reward -- whether it’s a free product or special discount -- from the merchant.

From the AP:

If Groupon's new program works as company envisions, consumers who spend enough money to qualify would receive an 80% discount instead of the 50% markdown frequently given on its daily deals. For example, someone who spent $100 with a hair stylist might only need to spend another $20 to get the next $100 in service.

Now that Groupon has created a customer loyalty program, it’s almost inevitable that other daily deals sites will follow suit.

And merchants are always eager to see how much and how often their customers are spending, so they’re likely to take a chance on the new business model.

Groupon Rewards opened for merchant accounts in late September, and we should begin seeing promotions within the next few weeks.

Time will tell whether the trend catches on, but if the program proves to be popular, those little punch-cards could be on their way out.

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