It started out back in 2008, back when Bing was still Live Search, and Microsoft introduced “cashback”, a program to reward users for searching. The cashback program ended, but more or less morphed into Bing Rewards and Bing Offers, offering users ways to gain points or get deals just by using Bing (and hopefully increasing market share at the same time).
Now, Bing is taking steps to make using Bing Offers even easier, with a pilot program running in Seattle called “Bing Offers Card-Linked”. A post on the Bing Search Blog describes how it works:
“Bing Offers Card-Linked” works in 3 simple steps: Sign Up. Discover. Shop & Save.
1. Sign Up. You can sign up by adding just 2 pieces of information (Microsoft Username/Password and Credit/Debit card) on the www.bing.com/offers website (1-time requirement). All available deals are then linked to your card and ready to use right away.
2. Discover. You will be reminded about local deals on the Bing Offers website, via email subscriptions, and on a variety of Microsoft devices and services, such as Skype and Bing Apps.
3. Shop & Save. When you use your card to make a qualified purchase at participating local business, just as you normally would at a retail store or a restaurant, you are immediately notified about your savings and you will receive the discounts directly on your card statement.
Microsoft is expecting to expand the program to other cities soon, and appears to be serious about the card linking strategy, announcing in a press release the formation of “The CardLinx Association“, in partnership with Bank of America, Discover, Deem, Facebook, First Data, Linkable Networks, LivingSocial, MasterCard and others.
The new founding CEO of The Cardlinx Association, Silvio Tavares, described its mission, speaking at the Money 2020 conference in Las Vegas:
The CardLinx Association brings together thought leaders across a variety of important linked industries, allowing us to define a set of standards and services that will make it easier for consumers to shop and for merchants to sell their goods and services
The new program will take some of the hassle out of Bing Offers, allowing users to take advantage of the deals without having to print up coupons or show a QR card, or keep track of the various offers and remember to submit them. With Bing Offers Card-Linked, you’ll be able to (once you’ve completed a one-time sign up) simply use your designated card to pay for Bing Offers services and receive the deals.