Walmart Pay, launched in late 2015, was seen as a major disruptor to some of the other mobile payment options because of the retailer’s huge retail footprint.
Though significant in many ways, the company’s move leaves out a major piece of the payments puzzle previously at the center of its mobile efforts: loyalty, Christopher Barnard, president at Points, tells Mobile Marketing & Technology.
“Loyalty provides the power to any [mobile payments] program,” Barnard says. Just as important is having a number of merchants where someone can earn or use their rewards. So most closed-loop systems with a single merchant, have deficiencies. However, Starbucks is a notable exception to this rule.
Loyalty-based transactions are a growing trend, Barnard adds, pointing to his company’s recent addition of La Quinta hotels and Suretap to the Points platform.
As of early February, La Quinta Returns members can leverage their accounts to browse thousands of luxury hotels and resorts and book the room of their choice can redeem and earn points at any of the more than 880 La Quinta Inns & Suites located in 47 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Honduras.
The partnership with La Quinta follows the pattern of growth Points has with its base of partners. In November of 2015, Points partnered with Suretap, a making Suretap the first mobile wallet to integrate loyalty cards in the Canadian market.
“With this partnership, we’re proud to join forces with one of Canada’s leading digital wallet providers. By providing Suretap wallet users with access to loyalty rewards management and transaction capability in one place, we’re excited to open the door to a better consumer experience in the wallet, and for loyalty programs to both better engage their customers and drive attractive incremental economics via this new channel,” said Rob MacLean, CEO of Points when the partnership was announced.
Launched in mid-2015 with support from Canada’s major wireless carriers, the Suretap wallet allows Android and Blackberry smartphone users to make quick, easy and secure mobile payment transactions at any retailer that accepts contactless payments, including credit, gift and pre-paid cards.