Mastercard turns to AR to visualize loyalty benefits

Mastercard AR app

Payments giant Mastercard launched a new augmented reality (AR) app this month that lets cardholders get a bird’s-eye view of their benefits. It’s a move that the company hopes will drive engagement and loyalty, and add value to the offerings of its partner financial institutions.

“At Mastercard, we’re using our technology and solutions to deliver multisensory experiences for consumers every day,” said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard, in a statement. “By leveraging an intuitive AR design, cardholders can now easily find and fully explore their benefits that otherwise might have been overlooked.”

To access the app, users must scan their Mastercard to start the session to see portals corresponding to different types of Mastercard benefits. The portals offer an immersive, 360-degree experience, and users can tap on each item on their phone screen to learn about each benefit.

Cheryl Guerin, executive vice president of North America marketing and communications at Mastercard, explained that the augmented reality tools were developed after Mastercard noticed many customers did not understand the extent of their card benefits.

“It’s an ongoing challenge because you get a brochure in the mail with your card when it comes in, you may look at it then and kind of forget about it,” she said. “[With the augmented reality] you have the ability to have [information] right at your fingertips in a really easy-to-digest and immersive way.”

Guerin said some customers don’t know which card perks for which they are eligible, so Mastercard developed what it calls an entertaining way for customers to engage and learn about their benefits.

See also: What MoneyLion learned from its augmented reality experiment

In the past, other financial institutions have also experimented with virtual reality tools to improve customer experience. MoneyLion rolled out an AR tool called Grow Your Stack more than two years ago, with the objective of giving customers a visual representation of their financial holdings. MoneyLion has since retired the tool.

Other financial companies have dabbled in AR and VR technology to offer visual representations of financial products and benefits for customers. In 2018, USAA rolled out an AR-enabled car-buying tool that was discontinued after several months. Intuit has also experimented with visualizing a customer’s finances.

“It is hard, especially in consumer finance, to get your customer to change their ways, to break their routines, to add new apps or do something new,” John Caruso, chief creative officer of digital marketing and experience at design agency MCD Partners, told Bank Innovation. “There are many applications that make sense but getting the AR and VR experiences right for the customer is going to take some time.”

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