Loyalty programmes – when they work – can be an enormously valuable part of a customer retention strategy. They’re one of the oldest marketing tactics out there, and with good reason: up to 67% of shoppers1 say they’d change their spending habits to make the most of loyalty rewards. But they’re hard to do well. Competition for customer attention is at an all-time high and 77% of rewards programmes fail2 within the first two years.

Card-linking is a great way to build reward programs that drive long-term loyalty and retention. That’s because it helps cut friction at the point of checkout, making it easy to redeem rewards whether online or in-store. When Britain’s largest shopping centre landlord, intu, wanted to get closer to its visitors, card-linking was the obvious choice.


Trevor Pereira, Commercial Director at intu, has one key goal – to get more customers visiting intu centres, and to keep them there longer. Fidel’s card-linking technology is helping do exactly that – and intu has seen a 47% increase in customer transaction value since launching their new card-linked loyalty app, Pocket.

Using Fidel’s API, customers securely connect their payment card to a loyalty programme in just a couple of clicks. Then, they shop as usual. Rewards and offers are applied automatically, with no need for QR codes, vouchers or store cards.

For businesses like intu, card-linking is a revolutionary way to create loyalty and drive additional revenue through their customer base. Here are three reasons why – and how you can use it to your advantage.

1. It gets rid of unnecessary friction

Cards, codes and vouchers all add friction for the user and increase the risk of drop-off. Card-linking cuts out those unnecessary additional steps at checkout.

Because it’s so easy for customers to link their cards to your programme, it also helps you create a better experience before they ever get to the point of sale. Prioritising the user experience and making it as easy as possible for customers to redeem rewards is crucial. It can take a long time before a customer is ready to buy, so you need to think through the whole journey.

2.  It lets you engage with customers in real-time

Customers are most engaged with your brand when they’re shopping with you. Notifying them of rewards and offers earned in real-time means you can improve their in-store experience.

Card-linking delivers granular data in real-time – including amount, location and merchant name – so you have a more complete picture of customer spending and can tailor your offering accordingly.

Ensuring that your offers and rewards resonate with shoppers is crucial – 31% of consumers feel that offerings aren’t personalised enough3, and that creates dissonance with your brand.  Delivering the right reward at the right time is the only way to ensure they keep coming back.

3. It joins up online and offline experiences

If you don’t have a holistic view of a customer’s interactions with you, you’ll struggle to deliver a seamless, joined-up experience.

Card-linking can give a more complete picture by tracking every transaction a customer makes with you – both online and off. It’s why intu chose card-linking to create the Pocket app.  “We’re trying to find the best way to blend our visitors digital experiences and habits with their physical shopping experience at an intu centre”, Trevor explains. “We want to reach people in a way that’s relevant to them wherever they are”.

To find out more about why intu chose Fidel’s card-linking API, how they created the Pocket app, and the results they’ve seen so far, read our Q&A with intu’s Commercial Director, Trevor Pereira.