The latest twist on the practice uses social and mobile channels to alert enrolled users to deals. The best-known examples of this are from American Express, which did an integration with Foursquare last year to alert checked-in users of deals at nearby establishments. And AmEx's "Link, Like, Love" program let Facebook users enroll to receive deal offers based on companies they have liked on the site.
But other banks such as U.S. Bancorp and Bank of America are exploring it too, working with vendors such as FreeMonee and Linkable Networks.
In the case of Placecast, users opt in to receive deal alerts through a relationship with their wireless carrier, credit card issuer or retailer. These alerts work much the way a Groupon or LivingSocial offer might, with the added benefits of (1) no need for a redemption code, and (2) the availability of customer transaction histories held by the credit card issuer to match users to retail offers.
In an example shared by Placecast, the offer might say, "Get a $20 statement credit when you use your card and spend $100 or more at Big Box Retail, 1234 Main Street.”
The Card-Linked ShopAlerts program has been available in beta with undisclosed card issuers since last spring. Placecast says more than 550 merchants have participated in card-linked offers so far, and the best performing category has been restaurants.