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BBVA Compass innovates bank mobile wallets with real-time rewards

The BBVA Wallet application has been downloaded more than 1 million times across several countries, less than two years after its launch. The ability for customers to redeem credit card rewards instantly after making a purchase was introduced in the app as part of its most recent update.

“As with most new innovations, our primary challenge was getting the ground-breaking technology to market quickly and first,” said Melissa Jankowski, executive director of issuing for BBVA Compass. “We’re pleased with our results.”

Instant redemption
BBVA Compass claims to the first major U.S. bank to offer its credit card customers real-time redemption of rewards earned on purchases.

The wallet sends purchase notifications to users immediately following the use of their BBVA Compass Credit Cards. These notifications now include cash rewards balances that can be redeemed for an account credit by responding to the alert.

For example, customers using a credit card to purchase a new TV could find out via an alert that they can immediately offset the amount of the purchase using their cash rewards.

When replying to a BBVA Wallet notification, customers can redeem cash rewards to offset as little as $1 of a purchase or all of it, depending on the amount of rewards available.

Banks continues to find that rewards are a valuable perk for credit card customers and an important driver of loyalty. By mobilizing the rewards for instant gratification, BBVA can enhance the experience even more for customers.

Accelerating growth
The BBVA Wallet provides users an up-to-date view of their purchases and reward balances. It was first launched in 2013 in Spain and introduced in Chile, Mexico and the U.S. earlier this year.

Turkey’s Garanti Bank, in which BBVA has nearly a 40 percent stake, launched the wallet under the name BonusFlas last week. This app has new features that are expected that will be launched in other countries, such as the ability to receive retailer offers based on geolocation.

BBVA Compass is bullish on the app’s future potential, with the pace of growth accelerating.

In the third quarter of 2015, the wallet was downloaded 358,000 times, compared to 87,000 in 2014 – a 311 percent increase.

As a result, BBVA now forecasts that the wallet app will be downloaded at least 5 million times by the end of 2016.

Initial results also show that wallet customers use their card more and spend more. In Spain, wallet users make 11 card purchases each month, 22 percent more than plastic users. They also spend 18 percent more on average each month.

By the end of the third quarter of 2015, Spain had 850,000 downloads of the app while Mexico had 164 000 downloads three months after a July launch.

Chile and the US are at earlier stages, with 36,000 and 7,000 downloads, respectively.

“Rewards remain an important driver of credit card loyalty,” Ms. Jankowski said. “Real-time rewards redemption allows us to constantly remind our clients how much we appreciate their business.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York