Reimagine rewards with card-linked offers

Card-linked offers are perfect for customizing and upgrading your rewards programs. Discover five reasons why more brands should use card-linked offers and three insightful tips on crafting a successful CLO partnerships strategy. 

Matt Moore
Matt Moore
Associate Manager of Product Marketing
Read time: 11 mins

Modern shoppers today are all about convenience on their shopping journey, embracing innovations like one-click buys, buy-now-pay-later options, and fast shipping. These advancements have wholly changed consumers’ expectations, setting a new standard for a seamless shopping experience.

With these developments, consumers increasingly gravitate toward reward programs to enhance their shopping experience. A reported 48 percent of consumers even join reward programs to show brand loyalty. They favor ones that are: 

✔️Easy to understand

✔️Effortless to use 

✔️Tailored to their unique preferences

Card-linked offers (or CLOs) link rewards to your debit or credit cards. These offers bridge the gap between the desire for seamless shopping experiences and the demand for user-friendly rewards programs.

By linking personalized and customizable offers directly to debit and credit cards, CLOs transform these everyday payment methods into powerful loyalty tools. This innovative approach facilitates cashless transactions and elevates the shopping experience by offering personalized rewards that resonate with individual consumer needs.

So what are CLOs, and what benefits can they provide for brands? Let’s find out. 

Key takeaways from this blog
  • Seamless integration with consumer lifestyle. Card-linked offers directly link deals to customers’ debit and credit cards, encouraging loyalty and retention. CLOs align perfectly with the modern consumer’s demand for convenience. 
  • Data-driven personalization. CLOs provide reliable customer data, allowing brands to craft personalized offers that resonate with consumers’ preferences and shopping habits. 
  • Enhancing brand perception. Through rewards such as early access to new items or loyalty points, CLOs enable brands to maintain product value while driving sales—all without relying on discounts.
  • Optimizing marketing strategies for in-store sales. CLOs provide insights into how online marketing efforts translate into in-store sales. This allows brands to effectively tailor their inventory management, in-store promotions, and overall marketing strategies.
  • Strategic partnership selection and management: Crafting a successful CLO strategy requires utilizing platforms like to discover vetted CLO partners, automating contracting and payout processes, and employing innovative tracking and reporting tools.

Card-linked offers provide big wins for shoppers and brands

Card-linked offers help shoppers save money and eliminate the need for easy-to-lose paper coupons or ever-shifting online promo codes. People use their linked cards with participating brands and automatically access discounts or cashback rewards. 

Partnering with banks, credit card issuers, and other parties to offer exclusive deals connects your brand to returning (and new potential) customers without risking your whole marketing budget upfront. Plus, accurate consumer data from publishers will help you tailor rewards and future offers to get the best possible results.

Card-linked offers boost sales

The major players of card-linked offers: Banks, reward apps and emerging publishers 

Alongside brands and shoppers, three main groups are involved with card-linked offers. They’ll each play different roles—all depending on your own industry or target audience: 

  • Banks such as CITI or Capital One are classic CLO publishers. These banks and card issuers bring established credibility to the table—along with secure access to useful data for brands. 
  • Rewards apps like Dosh and Airtime Rewards are card-linked offer businesses. They encourage users to link cards by offering cashback, points, or other rewards with partnering brands.
  • Emerging publishers cover other models that don’t slot perfectly into those first two categories. For example, innovative brands like Atlas Reality (a mobile games technology company) have already linked users’ cards and want new ways to improve revenue and brand partnerships.

5 ways brands can win with card-linked offers 

Card-linked offers extend a range of benefits for customers and brands alike. Customers appreciate the ease and immediate deals, and companies reap the rewards of customer satisfaction, increased sales, and trackable data trends.

These offers can maximize your budget and zero in on the right audience. So, here are the top ways this model encourages sustainable growth:

1. Attracts new customers with tailored rewards 

By integrating with a customer’s debit or credit card, CLOs ensure that rewards are easily redeemable—enhancing the overall shopping experience.

CLOs provide a direct path to personalization

This translates into a powerful tool for your brand to attract new clientele. Shoppers will likely engage with brands for the first time when personalized rewards align with their shopping habits.

Additionally, transaction data helps refine future deals and ensure new customer rewards remain compelling and relevant. Teams that adopt this strategic approach foster loyalty and boost acquisition rates, ultimately driving sales and sustainable growth. 

2. Raises customer loyalty with personalized offers

Maintaining customer interest and loyalty is paramount in an era where consumer preferences shift rapidly. CLO’s tap directly into consumer’s purchasing habits, rewarding them for their loyalty in a personal way that makes them feel valued. 

4 in 1 customers prefer CLOs

[Stats source: PYMNTS]

Additionally, feedback from CLO publishers helps explain customer spending patterns, enabling you to create offers that resonate deeply with your target audience.  A deeper discount on relevant products could drive more sales than a blanket 10 percent off store-wide. That way, customers feel seen, appreciated, and rewarded for sticking around.

For instance, the rewards and cashback mobile app Dosh provides personalized offers to nearby stores and restaurants when you turn on the location service within the app. 

3. Reaches the ideal audience with data from card providers 

Brands that tap into a rich data repository can move beyond the spray-and-pray marketing tactic to adopt more precise outreach strategies.

card-linked offers publishers

As CLO publishers and platforms help analyze spending patterns, geographical locations, and purchase histories, brands can tailor their offers to match the preferences and behaviors of their target demographics. 

For example, a chain of farm-to-table restaurants collaborates with a card provider to launch a card-linked offer aimed at local food enthusiasts. The partnership uses data to pinpoint consumers who frequently spend at local farmers’ markets and organic grocery stores within a certain radius. By understanding these spending behaviors, the restaurant can craft an attractive 15 percent discount on seasonal menu items for these cardholders.

This data-driven approach enhances the relevance of card-linked offers and increases the likelihood of conversion, fostering a more personal and engaging consumer shopping experience.

4. Encourages sales without perpetually discounting products

Some brands fear that constant discounts dilute value over time. However, card-linked offers can enhance brand perception and encourage sales without constantly lowering prices. Plus, even when brands offer cash rebates through CLOs, products keep their value in the customer’s eyes by staying full-price at checkout. 

Brands can employ several innovative strategies to encourage sales while maintaining product value. A key tactic is to focus on experiential rewards. 

CLOs create a sense of exclusivity and urgency

Rather than offering a direct discount on products, a brand could provide exclusive access to VIP events or early product releases for customers who purchase through CLOs. This would add a layer of exclusivity and foster a deeper connection with the brand.

Another approach is leveraging loyalty points. Customers earn points for every purchase made through a CLO. They can then be redeemed for products or services, encouraging repeat business without directly reducing product prices. This system rewards engagement and loyalty, turning occasional buyers into brand advocates.

These strategies cultivate a feeling of belonging and recognition among customers. It motivates sales through value-added experiences rather than relying solely on discounts. Brands reserve premium positioning while driving engagement and loyalty.

5. Optimizes marketing strategies for in-store sales

Card-linked offers give unmatched visibility into how online marketing efforts relate to (and drive) in-store sales. These CLOs give you a comprehensive view of customer behavior across all channels. 

This dual approach boosts customer engagement and provides critical insights into purchasing patterns. For instance, by tracking the redemption of personalized offers in physical locations, brands determine which online strategies best promote in-store traffic and conversions.

In-store metrics also optimize inventory management, tailor in-store promotions, and increase cross-channel engagement. 

data empower brands

3 tips to craft a successful CLO partnerships strategy—from partner selection to data analysis 

Whether you’re looking to drive sales, enhance customer loyalty, or position your brand more competitively, use these tips to guide you through each step of developing a comprehensive CLO partnerships strategy.

1. Find reliable and vetted CLO partners

The value of CLO partnerships lies in their capacity to extend a brand’s reach and resonate with a broader yet highly targeted customer base. Collaborating with the right CLO partner amplifies the visibility of your offers and lends credibility to your brand. 

Consumer trust in your partners is crucial in turning interest into sales, ultimately contributing to sustained loyalty to your brand.

technological infrastructure

For a more streamlined approach, brands could use partnership management tools, such as, to access vetted CLO publishers such as: 

  • Open-banking partners powering major bank loyalty programs. These third-party financial service providers link with established banks to give customers more choice and freedom.
  • Card-linked offers partners with unique audiences that sign-up to receive cashback and rewards or use their branded bank cards. 
  • Payment-linked offer networks of CLO publishers and banks pushing rewards for open-banking programs and card-linked offer partners. 

2. Automate the contracting and payout processes

Automating the Contract and Pay stage reduces administrative overhead. Automation streamlines critical operations, eliminating manual errors and reducing the time spent on paperwork. 

This efficiency accelerates the setup of new partnerships and ensures that existing relationships are maintained smoothly—with all contractual obligations and payouts managed accurately and on time.

automated approach

Both parties have real-time access to performance data and financial transactions, fostering trust and simplifying reconciliation processes. This level of transparency is crucial for resolving disputes swiftly and maintaining a healthy, long-term relationship.

Partnership management platforms have built-in automation tools that help teams save time, onboard partners faster, and avoid the common pitfalls of manual payouts. 

The platform enables brands to run CLO campaigns in the same place as other partnerships. This means you can centralize the automation of partner approval and manage payment on one user-friendly platform. 

The platform’s capability to calculate payouts, manage invoicing, and adjust payouts based on predetermined factors (such as order size) significantly increases efficiency.

There’s also potential confusion around “double-dipping” commission payments in the CLO landscape. What if shoppers use a CLO along with a separate discount code from a different partner? A purpose-built management platform like tracks each purchase correctly and pays commissions based on your custom contracts.

3. Use innovative tracking and reporting tools to make data-backed decisions 

Card-linking technology directly links a user’s credit or debit card and their purchase with a brand. Customers get rewarded straight into their bank card/app without clicking any affiliate links or using vouchers, creating a frictionless experience. 

Detailed tracking allows brands and their card partners to monitor these interactions in real-time, identifying which offers resonate with consumers and which may need adjustment. This immediate feedback loop is invaluable for agile marketing strategies, permitting quick pivots that align with customer preferences and market trends.

Additionally, historical purchase data collected from CLO partners empower brands to direct their promotions toward specific demographics. This allows for personalization, geo-targeting, and, most importantly, driving users to shop in-store.

Equally important is the role of sophisticated reporting tools in understanding the broader impact of CLO campaigns. Comprehensive reports such as’s Behavior Report can dissect various dimensions of campaign performance, such as demographic engagement, spending patterns, and redemption rates. 

improved ROI

Management solutions such as allow CLO partners to upload data directly to the platform. They can also include additional transactional information, including zip codes, locations, and the last four digits of bank cards. Brands can view this data directly from their dashboard without the need to view reports off-platform and upload the data manually.


What makes Card-Linked Offers so different from classic rewards programs?

Card-linked offers (CLOs) stand distinct from classic rewards programs through their innovative integration with consumers’ existing debit and credit cards. They eliminate the need for additional steps or physical coupons to redeem rewards. 

This direct linkage streamlines the redemption process, making it more appealing and effortless for customers, and allows for a level of personalization and customization previously unattainable in traditional rewards schemes.

Can brands of all sizes benefit from card-linking technology?

Yes, brands of all sizes can significantly benefit from Card-Linked Offers (CLOs). CLOs provide a versatile and effective way for smaller brands to grow their customer base by making personalized offers and flexible rewards more accessible. For established brands, CLOs offer an opportunity to reinvent and optimize existing rewards programs, ensuring they remain competitive and relevant in today’s market. 

Are CLO rewards instant for customers?

Yes, almost all CLO deals are applied instantly—improving the customer experience and streamlining the rewards process for brands. 

Redefine rewards with card-linked offers 

Card-linked offers redefine the essence of customer loyalty and brand interaction. By embedding convenience, personalization, and immediacy into the shopping experiences, CLOs help brands connect with their audience on a deeper level, fostering loyalty that transcends the transactional.

Brands that dare to embrace CLOs will navigate the complexities of modern consumer expectations and thrive within them. With the right strategies, tools, and partnerships in place, businesses of all sizes can harness the full potential of CLOs. Your brand can turn every card swipe into a moment of connection, every purchase into an expression of loyalty, and every offer into a catalyst for growth. 

Card-linked offers (CLOs) are disrupting the affiliate industry, moving away from traditional models. They provide significant value to brands, expanding the publisher landscape beyond coupons, deals, and loyalty programs. Watch this session with Laura Press, Head of Affiliate and Partnerships Education, and Carrie Paradas, Director of Global Product Partnerships at Fidel API, to get the full scoop. 

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