With Kard, banks and fintechs can create personalized rewards programs for credit cards – TechCrunch


Credit card rewards often play an important role in attracting users to a particular card over its peers. But for fintech startups newer to card issuance, setting up an attractive rewards program from scratch can be onerous, requiring the issuer to negotiate with individual retail partners and manage the complexities of integration on a case-by-case basis.

cardThe Rewards API as a Service streamlines the process for card issuers, allowing them to create a personalized rewards program tailored to their particular customer base by choosing from Kard’s set of merchant partnerships. Kard manages relationships with each company looking to offer rewards to promote its brand, which makes it easy for a new issuer to combine Kard’s offerings and integrate those rewards into the issuer’s own user interface, said the CEO and Founder Ben Mackinnon at TechCrunch. in an interview.

Mackinnon said he originally founded Kard in 2016 as a platform for consumers to compare and contrast rewards offers from different credit cards to optimize their spending. In late 2019, the company pivoted to work on a business rewards API after encountering significant difficulties trying to cater directly to credit card users without being integrated into each user’s personal payment flow, it said. -he adds.

Card’s team. Picture credits: Matt Urrea

The startup claims to serve traditional banks in addition to neobanks and banking-as-a-service fintechs. After first launching its API in 2020, Varo and Marqeta were two early customers, according to Mackinnon.

The company today works with about 30 issuers, representing 10 million consumers, Mackinnon said. It helps process around 60 million transactions a month and has seen its revenue grow 10-fold over the past year, according to Mackinnon, although he declined to share a specific revenue figure.

He describes the business as a two-sided market for rewards, with merchant partnerships on the supply side and card issuers on the demand side. For issuers, the API is powerful because it “connects them to merchants, brands, retailers that are essentially the funding vehicle for one of their rewards,” Mackinnon said.

For merchants, the appeal of partnering with Kard lies in its ability to drive customer acquisition. Kard only charges traders based on performance, Mackinnon said, meaning he gets paid based on his ability to generate trades for that trader. He noted that the majority of cardholders who work with Kard’s issuing customers are millennials or Gen Z.

“We have a very diverse clientele. We have a lot of consumers that marketers today find it very difficult to advertise to, so we’re a great way for them to do that,” Mackinnon said.

Ben Mackinnon, founder and CEO of Kard

Ben Mackinnon, founder and CEO of Kard. Picture credits: card

Kard makes money through a revenue-sharing agreement with every merchant who chooses to work with the company. Mackinnon described Kard as a “modern” rewards platform, differentiated by its unique merchant partnerships. Through Kard, issuers can access rewards such as crypto, fractional shares, lottery tickets, and local small business incentives.

The company announced today that it has raised a $23 million Series A funding round led by new investor Tiger Global, with participation from new investors Fin Capital and s12f. Underscore VC, which led Kard’s seed round in 2020, also participated in the latest funding.

It plans to use the capital to expand its merchant network and launch new rewards and loyalty-related products in the coming quarters, Mackinnon said. To that end, he hopes to triple the size of Kard’s 25-person team by the end of the year.

Traditional players in the rewards space have rewards programs that look and feel similar, Mackinnon said. Kard, on the other hand, is designed for transmitters who want customization, he added.

“For companies that maybe aren’t as interested in building their own experience or aren’t as product-focused, I think [the traditional players offer] a great solution for them,” Mackinnon said. “For emitters who want to build and design their own experiences, an API solution like ours is really the only way to do it today.”


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