In a move designed to increase loyalty, sales and traffic in stores where its ATMs are deployed, Payment Alliance International has partnered with a California company to offer coupons through Payment Alliance's ATM network.
Cardholders push an on-screen button to select money-off coupon offers that are available through Payment Alliance's ATMs, said Donna Embry, the company's senior vice president of strategic development.
Once the customer chooses a coupon offer, she types in her cell phone number. The ATM then sends the mobile phone owner a text message with a promotion code, notifying her that she can redeem the offer with the merchant. The mobile phone owner then visits the retailer and shows store employees the promotion code on her mobile phone, Embry said.
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"The merchant can read the offer on the phone, or if the retailer has Near Field Communication, the store owner can download the coupon," said Embry, adding that a key goal of the mobile-coupon offer is for retailers to gather cell phone numbers.
Payment Alliance entered this endeavor by partnering with Street Savings, an Orange, Calif.-based marketing company, to offer mobile rewards and mobile coupons through ATMs.
The companies are offering mobile couponing to retailers who resell merchandise.
"Our products are easy and affordable for merchants, quick-to-provision and work with the credit card terminals and point-of-sale systems agents already sell," said Pal Flagg, chief operating officer of Street Savings. "Now they are also the first way for consumers to participate in the benefits of mobile marketing via the ubiquitous ATM."
Payment Alliance, which is based in Louisville, Ky., manages 50,000 ATMs nationwide through a network of agents and market representatives.
The company deploys the machines in off-premises locations, including hotels, bars, supermarkets and banks.
The companies will offer mobile couponing to ATMs in restaurants, hair salons, barber shops, convenience stores and supermarkets. The mobile couponing also can help merchants quickly sell products, Embry said. "Suppose a merchant has milk that he wants to sell right away, he can send a message offering a free gallon of milk if the mobile phone owner buys a specific dollar amount of items while in the store."
Mobile couponing differentiates Payment Alliance ATMs from competitors, said John J. Leehy, lll, the company's president and CEO.
"By combining mobile with the ATM, we are giving agents a unique, value-added service that provides differentiation when competing for electronic payment services and ATMs sales," Leehy said. The mobile coupons also are expected to drive traffic to stores that place coupons on the site but have not installed Payment Alliance ATMs.
Payment Alliance and Street Savings will demonstrate mobile-ATM couponing during the Electronic Transactions Association Annual Meeting & Expo beginning Tuesday in San Diego. The company's ATMs will offer a $10 coupon to Gaslamp Quarter, a dining, shopping, entertainment and historic district in San Diego.
Mobile coupons are another way in which ATM owners and operators are attempting to drive traffic to locations where their machines are deployed. Bank Machine Ltd., a Cardtronics Inc.-owned company, is dispensing cents-off paper coupons for candy as part of a pilot involving more than 100 ATMs in the United Kingdom.
When told about Bank Machine's pilot, Embry said, "We've jumped over paper coupons and gone straight to mobile phones." Payment Alliance International's mobile coupon works on all cell phones, she said.