Discover made major headlines earlier this month, becoming the second major U.S. network to add Apple Passbook integration to its mobile app and granting cardholders access to electronic cash back rewards.
What were some of the network’s incentives in adding Passbook integration, and how can its cardholders benefit? What does Passbook’s future as a mobile wallet look like? PYMNTS.com asked Sanjay Gosalia, director of mobile at Discover, to find out.
Below are our questions and Gosalia’s answers, presented in Q&A format.
PYMNTS.com: Why has Discover decided to jump on the Passbook bandwagon? What are some of the new opportunities this affords your cardholders?
Sanjay Gosalia: Apple’s Passbook provided an opportunity to further enhance the mobile and rewards experience of our cardmembers, allowing more options to redeem their Cashback Bonus rewards at the point-of-sale. Now, cardmembers can open Passbook and see their eCertificates immediately rather than logging into the Discover app to reach them. As always, we will continue to partner with our merchants to identify innovative ways to continue to leverage Passbook in the future.
Tell us specifically what features Discover’s Passbook integration enables. How does your Cashback Bonus/gift card system work?
From start to finish, eCertificates are linked to Passbook and the Discover mobile app. Discover cardmembers can redeem their earned Cashback Bonus for partner eCertificates from more than 60 merchants through the Discover mobile app and add them directly to Passbook to be used at the point-of-sale instantly. It’s simple and easy. Partner eCertificates also often come with added value, such as by redeeming $25 of Cashback Bonus for a $30 eCertificate. Please also see the attached PDF for our visual process to add eCertificates to Passbook.
Discover is the second major network to offer Passbook integration, following American Express, but it seems like your take on Passbook focuses more on payments with the Cashback/gift card system. Is that a fair characterization?
Discover is the first financial institution to directly integrate with Passbook from our mobile app and the only in the finance category to be featured in “Apps for Passbook” in the App Store. We designed the experience to best leverage Passbook’s capabilities for our cardmembers and merchants.
Popular sentiment states that Passbook is well on its way towards becoming a mobile wallet, and when major players like Discover sign on, it only reinforces that view. Do you see mobile wallets increasing in adoption in the near future?
At Discover, we believe in providing our cardmembers the choice, convenience and flexibility to shop and pay through their channel of choice, as illustrated by our partnerships with Google Wallet and now Apple’s Passbook. The ecosystem is still evolving, but the benefits are increasingly becoming visible for mobile payments.
Can you share with us any other mobile-minded projects Discover is working on that we’ll see in the first half of 2013?
While we can’t offer speculation on future projects, what we can tell you is that we are continuing to work in this space and identify relevant opportunities that meet the needs and wants of our cardmembers. We will continue to focus on value, service and rewards, and mobile will continue to enhance and extend those experiences to our customers.