Sky News announced this week that Lloyds Banking Group plans to invest in loyalty app Bink. According to the source, Lloyds will invest “millions of pounds” in exchange for a minority stake in the U.K.-based fintech startup.
Founded in 2015, Bink enables consumers to forgo traditional plastic loyalty cards by registering their debit or credit cards and linking them to various loyalty schemes. The company’s technology helps retailers identify and reward customers each time they shop, offers banks a way to keep their cards top-of-wallet, and provides a simplified way for shoppers to earn rewards.
In 2019, Bink formed a strategic partnership with Barclays, which made a $13.5 million (£10 million) investment. This deal made Bink accessible to Barclays’ seven million U.K. customers.
Barclays customers can find Bink within their existing mobile banking app, where they can join, accrue, and redeem rewards. Other users can download the Bink app and establish their Bink wallet to begin building rewards.
Lloyds’ partnership with Bink is expected to go live in the next six months, but it is still unknown the amount, or at what valuation, Lloyds plans to invest in Bink.
Bink’s card-linked offers tool is very reminiscent of the many loyalty and rewards schemes that rose out of the mobile wallet craze in 2015. When NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy became promising enabling technologies, many startups (and even some established companies) tried to replace consumers’ everyday mobile wallets. Though mobile wallets failed to take off seven years ago, they are making a comeback today thanks to increased digital adoption.
Given that consumers are finally ready to adopt these new technologies, perhaps Barclays and Lloyds are on to something. Is this the start of a card-linked offers and merchant-funded rewards resurgence?