Shared transaction highway to deliver rewards
Welcome Real-time and Catuity have recently buried the hatchet and are now both working with Visa to develop solutions for smart card loyalty programmes.
Visa USA and loyalty reward software developers Welcome Real-time and Catuity have agreed to work together to develop inter-operable solutions for smart card-based rewards and incentive services in the US. This is the first time that competing companies plan to develop and market compatible reward solutions for banks and merchants. Until quite recently, Welcome and Catuity were at loggerheads over a patent dispute in the Australian courts. This was settled in an agreement announced by the two companies earlier this month.
Other companies too Now, Visa has appointed Welcome to define and implement a common approach for supporting multiple card technologies at a single rewards-enabled point-of-sale (POS) device. While initially focused on products and services by Catuity and Welcome, the resulting middleware will be designed to support a wide range of rewards and electronic-marketing solutions for smart cards and terminals offered by other companies. A similar approach will be applied for back-end customer-service functions.
Welcome was part of Visa's smart Loyalty working group in 2000. Catuity has been a smart Visa technology provider since the launch of the initiative in September 2000. Millions of smart Visa cards using Catuity technology have been issued.
Visa smart Rewards Meanwhile, Visa has unveiled its smart Rewards Platform, a fully integrated, chip-enabled rewards solution with end-to-end transaction and servicing capabilities. As well as enabling any combination of card issuers and merchants to jointly form rewards programs, the new platform is expected to reduce the time-to-market and thus accelerate the adoption of rewards on multi-application smart cards. The new platform is designed to support a range of customised or proprietary rewards services among issuers and merchants. The Visa smart Rewards service, to be supported by the new platform, features up to 36 concurrent programmes for electronic couponing and punch cards. Cardholders at the point of purchase can instantly redeem rewards for their frequent patronage.
Centrally hosted Unlike previous smart card initiatives, which focused mainly on card application technologies, this platform integrates its services seamlessly with Visa's existing payment infrastructure. Its backbone is a centrally hosted computing system that will manage the interaction between rewards applications on smart cards and software, and administration rules residing in point-of-sale terminals.
"By the very nature of their design, rewards services must be networked in order to achieve the greatest efficiencies and synergies. Visa's shared-system platform will accommodate multi-company connectivity, thus ensuring that any number of businesses can easily link their promotional efforts," said Patrick Gauthier, senior vice president of smart card applications for e-Visa U.S.A., a division of Visa U.S.A.
Key functions Visa will provide the necessary resources to support key platform functions, including:· Host-computer and telecommunications operations· Transaction processing, funds settlement, clearing and reporting· Programme set-up for card issuers and merchants· Complete implementation support· Marketing consulting services, plus access to extensive consumer research.
To support these and other functions being developed in cooperation with Catuity, Visa is working closely with processors and acquirers that serve a number of issuers and merchants nationwide.
The new Platform is expected to be available to card issuers and merchants later this year.