Determined not to let competitors like Facebook fully co-opt its main business--"checking in"--Foursquare Thursday announced a partnership with credit card company American Express. The deal would give exclusive discounts to cardholders at select Foursquare venues.
In March, American Express tested a similar feature with Foursquare at the SxSW conference in Austin, Texas. When cardholders spent at least $5 at a local Austin merchant, the company credited $5 back to their accounts. The response to the offer was said to be "overwhelmingly positive."
It was also a boon for those retailers: Amex told the New York Times on average cardholders were spending some 20 percent more compared to non-cardholders. Thus, the offers seem to give consumers more incentive to spend.
How It Works
Users need to link together their Foursquare and credit card accounts. When checking in to a participating location, a 'load-to-card'option will appear. If you click that and then pay with the linked American Express card, a discount will appear on your monthly bill.
"The savings are automatically credited to your account within a few days," says Tristan Walker, Foursquare's director of business development.
Two retailers already participate: H&M offers $10 back when you spend $75, and Sports Authority offers $20 back when you spend $50. At least four New York City restaurants also offer specials: Blue Smoke, Union Square Cafe, Untitled, and The Modern.
Foursquare said that it would announce other deals as the company signs up new partners.
Certainly, Foursquare faces an extraordinary amount of pressure as others move in on what was its signature feature. Striking deals like this one with American Express though broaden its appeal, which obviously is crucial if Foursquare wants to stay relevant.