It was only a matter of time before credit card companies entered the location-based, social media scene. It was announced today that American Express and Foursquare have officially teamed up.
I remember when Foursquare hit the scene back in 2009. “This is stupid” I said. “Why would I want anyone to know where I am? This won’t last”
A year later I found myself on Yelp, a location-based website with a twist. You see, Yelp’s main purpose is for members to review and rate local restaurants and I found it an excellent tool then still feeling like a “no0b” (newbie) in the city of Raleigh, North Carolina. Yelp then introduced an application for smart phones which enabled you to “check-in” to places much like Foursquare. I thought it to be a brilliant idea! “Why would I NOT want anyone to know where I was?”
That’s how quickly our digital age and mindsets are shifting.
By the following year Yelp and Foursquare would each integrate local deals and specials into their platforms for members who “check-in” places. No longer was the quest of becoming the Duke or Mayor of some place of highest importance (that’s a blatant lie, I my Dukedoms very seriously) but the ease and ability to save money!
About a month ago I heard murmurs throughout the online world (aka Twitter) that Foursquare and Groupon were in talks about teaming up. As an avid daily deal junkie I finally joined Foursquare.
I have yet to see any sort of Groupon integration into the Foursquare community (although I don’t expect to for some time – which is probably two months by my best guess). However, today I saw a huge integration as Foursquare and American Express joined forces to create “savings” with “check-ins.”
This is not some little shift, like the integration of Bing on Facebook (which I’m still bitter about, FYI) but a huge step in the credit card industry to get their foot in the door on the mainstream location-based social platforms.
“To start, American Express will offer deals at Sports Authority and the clothing retailer H&M, along with a few restaurants in New York, like Union Square Cafe and the barbecue joint Blue Smoke. For example, shoppers who spend $75 at H&M will receive a $10 credit to their American Express accounts. Those who spend $50 at Sports Authority will get a $20 reward.” – Source
Reportedly, Foursquare will not see any revenue from the new incorporation of AmEx deals but it will potentially see future partnerships with other companies.
Great. If I see a check-in offer that says “As Mayor of T.G.I Fridays You’ve Been Pre-Approved For A Gold Card With Chase” I’m going to vomit. Fact.
Apparently American Express tested this merge in March at South by Southwest (SXSW) and found that 20 percent of those participating in the program spent more than American Express cardholders that didn’t have access to the program at the time.
While saving money is always a plus and to be honest, this new incorporation does seem inciting, the only thing I see is the amount of people that are going to put purchases they may have originally paid for with cash or debit cards on credit. Does this country really need more credit?
Saving with credit cards can be beneficial if done correctly and balances are paid off in full and on time. But fact of the matter is as we’ve seen over the past, oh, I don’t know, forever of credit card history, the number of cardholders that actually adhere to this practice are far fewer than those who push off payments or scrape by with bare minimum payments.
The majority of American Express cardholders are over the age of 35 and they are undoubtably trying to appeal to a younger demographic by incorporating themselves into Foursquare.
Oh goody. Debt by Check-In. I can’t wait to see how this one plays out….