Welcome Real-time's XLS chip-card software will be used to implement a customer loyalty programme for the new EMV-standard 'WOW!' smart credit card which is to be issued by Mashreqbank in the United Arab Emirates.
Because banks in the Middle East - in line with Europe - have to comply with the EMV (Europay/MasterCard/Visa) smart card standard by January 2005, the region's banks expect to gain advantages in their markets through migrating to EMV with additional features such as those enabled by Welcome's XLS enhanced payments software.
It took Mashreqbank only two months to replace all of its merchants' POS swipe machines with XLS-certified EMV payment terminals. Several shops, restaurants, hotels, travel agents, and other retail outlets in the UAE are now equipped with Mashreqbank's smart machines and XLS. Furthermore, all existing Mashreqbank cards are now being upgraded to the new WOW! XLS-enabled smart credit card.
"WOW! credit card returns real value to our customers by earning money every day and by providing security, convenience, discounts, savings, and rewards promotions," said Abdul Aziz AI Ghurair, CEO for Mashreqbank.
"UAE customers will be rewarded on the basis of their spend pattern and loyalty toward the Mashreqbank card programme at more than 1,000 WOW! participating merchant outlets, covering all major retail categories within the Emirates," added Al Ghurair. "The new WOW! credit card has been warmly welcomed by retailers, airlines, hotels and other merchants who can also make use of the technology to automate their own promotions."
Private loyalty schemes
Mashreqbank believes it now has the infrastructure to increase its cardholder base and boost card usage. Participating merchants are able to automate their own loyalty programmes and are offering special discounts of anything from 5% to 35% according to the shopper's frequency or total spend. In addition, the bank is offering its own rewards programme, called MashreqPoints, which offers loyalty points earned on all spending through participating merchants.
Mashreqbank estimates that the value of the combined merchant and MashreqPoints programmes to cardholders is up to 25 years' worth of annual fees for high spenders, while even low-spending customers should see a payback equivalent to two years' worth of annual fees.
Mashreqbank will also benefit from cost efficiencies in its card marketing, through the real time reward accrual and redemption process. Communication with the merchant and cardholder about the frequency and value of their spending, and the calculation of pooled points, all happen at the point of sale terminal at the moment of purchase. This means that there is no need for the bank to mail out catalogues or points balance statements.