'Swipe & Save' Program Brings Deals to Debit Cards

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Beneficial Bank wants to steer you to purchases you usually make using your debit card and offer you rewards cash for the purchase. The program is called “Swipe and Save,” and Beneficial thinks it could change the way we use our bank check cards.

Here’s the deal: When a Beneficial bank user “swipes” his or her bank card (and taps in “credit” instead of “debit”), the bank will arrange to have any special deals from that retailer sent directly to the customer’s online banking homepage.

The Philadelphia-based bank says that the deals are immediate once they pop up on the website, and consumers can use the deals to save up to 20% on specific purchases, or get other discounts from favored retailers.

Signing up for the program is free for bank customers, but Beneficial says you also have to sign up for online banking. Past that, the process looks fairly simple:

  • Log in to your Beneficial Bank account go to the Swipe & Save homepage.
  • Click on the “New” button to check out fresh offers.
  • If you see a deal you like, activate it and use your check card to buy it.
  • The cash back will be credited to your Beneficial bank account. The money will appear within a few weeks.

If this sounds like a Groupon-type deal, that's because it is. Banks need to keep customers happy, just like any other business, and building brand loyalty via an online discount shopping program is a good way to do that.

“If you shop at Home Depot, for example, you can see special deals from the store," explains Denise Kassekert, a spokesperson at Beneficial Bank. “Just click on the Home Depot coupon on the bank Web page and you’ll see the cash back amount you’ve saved appear back in your bank account.”

Bank officials say you can buy a product or service online, or “swipe” the card at the store’s location. Either way, you’ll earn the discount and get the money you saved popped back into your account.

The deal works on the back end for merchants, too. Businesses get another outlet to market their goods, and also get to focus on customers who are more likely to buy their products and services.

Right now, there is no mobile banking app that allows Beneficial customers to tap into program deals via their cell phones, but if “Swipe and Save” proves popular with customers, then mobile swipes are only a matter of time.

Call it a win-win-win for the bank, for its customers and for merchants. It’s not often you can say that, and that’s exactly why you can expect other banks to follow suit with their own type of “swipe and save” programs.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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