Bank of America launched its new merchant-funded rewards program, BankAmeriDeals, to all its customers on Wednesday. The program offers cash-back rewards through customers’ online account statements. Previously, it had been available only in a few states, and to Bank of America employees.
The program works like this: Bank of America offers cash back deals based on a customer’s spending habits. The program, powered by Cardlytics, then feeds these in to customers’ online statements below relevant purchases. For example, under a purchase at McDonald’s, you might find a 10% off coupon for Burger King.
Customers then must opt in to the deal, which costs nothing, and “load” it onto their debit cards for future use within a certain timeframe. In order to redeem the deals, customers must use the proper Bank of America card when making the qualifying purchase. Bank of America issues the rewards on the following account statement.
The deals platform is compatible with Bank of America’s recently updated mobile app, too.
Other banks have rolled out similar programs in recent years. Ally Perks, from Ally Bank is very similar, except that it refunds customers immediately. Regions and Chase have similar programs, too.
Rise of merchant-funded rewards
Merchant-funded rewards programs have gathered steam after the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act went into effect last year. The rule put a limit on interchange fees for debit cards, which helped fund debit rewards programs in the past. Since then, banks have had to work with merchants to get debit deals back on the table.
The merchant-funded debit rewards trend dovetails nicely with the popularity of online coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Consumers have gotten more used to finding savings this way, rather than just seeking out miles and cash back on credit cards.
Bank of America hopes to include both local and national chain businesses in its new deals program. We confirmed that here in New York: both Burger King and Russian Samovar — a Midtown Russian restaurant — were offering deals.
Getting just 15% off might not put caviar in your price range, but it’s certainly better than nothing.