Card-Linked Marketing

Card_linked Marketing

Exploring the Perks and Pitfalls of Card-Linked Marketing

Card-linked marketing, or CLM, became a hot topic for both brick-and-mortar and eCommerce merchants over the last several years. This innovative tactic can enable better customer targeting and significantly reduce the cost of marketing…but does it really deliver?

Let’s take a quick look at CLM and see whether it’s really all it’s cracked up to be.

What is Card-Linked Marketing?

Card-Linked Marketing

[noun]/* kahrd lingkt mahr-ki-ting/

Card-linked marketing is a method of delivering targeted ads to consumers via their online bank statement. These digital offers are uploaded straight to their credit or debit account, and can be used automatically at checkout.

With CLM, consumers receive digital offers along with their online bank statements, and any that catch the bank customer’s eye are instantly attached to that person’s payment card. The customer is automatically credited for the promotion at checkout; no coupon codes or vouchers necessary.

Card-linked marketing is:


No need to worry about turning-off customers who don’t want to receive offers.

Backed by Data

Promotions are provided based on actual purchase history, meaning they’re more relevant.


CLM brings the customers to you; less need to attract them with ads, coupons, or email offers.

Easy to Track

CLM produced very precise feedback to gauge the effectiveness of your campaign.

Customer Targeting: The Curse of CLM

Of course, card-linked marketing is not a guaranteed hit. You need to carefully analyze your results and examine how well offers are delivered to the customer to get the most out of CLM. Otherwise, you can very easily fall victim to poor targeting.

Poor Targeting Causes Problems.

Think your marketing is the only thing at stake? Think again.


Remember: CLM is intended as a targeted marketing tactic. It doesn’t work if it doesn’t communicate effectively.

Targeting refers to more than simply identifying a customer, because while you might have the right buyer, you may have the wrong place or time. This inability to predict relevance, especially when combined with excessively-long redemption windows, is a key shortcoming of card-linked marketing. Addressing these concerns demands sophisticated predictive analytics to get the right offer in front of potential customers at the right time. Otherwise, you might face negative consequences:

Customer Disengagement:

A previously-loyal customer might be annoyed and turned-off by repeated irrelevant offers.

Negative ROI:

The point of marketing is to capture new customers. You would be wasting money to invest in CLM tactics on a shopper already intent on making a purchase.

Other Factors to Consider

So, we know that poor targeting can reduce the effectiveness of CLM. However, there are other unknowns that can throw a wrench into your ROI calculations as well.

Fraud Can Corrupt Data

Accurate customer data and records is vital to the success of card-linked marketing. Fraud can corrupt that data, though, making it more difficult to get an accurate impression of customer trends and behaviors.

That’s especially true when it comes to friendly fraud; looking at it from a merchant’s perspective, friendly fraud is a passive fraud attack that is hidden behind a false criminal fraud claim. You’re dealing with an additional level of misleading transaction data if a customer makes a purchase, then claims that purchase was unauthorized and files a chargeback.

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General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation—or GDPR—is a sweeping policy change effective as of May 2018. The GDPR guarantees European consumers have a “right to be forgotten” under EU law. This means a person can demand that businesses destroy all records and data regarding their personal history at any time, and that business must comply. If you do business in the EU, or even sell to customers anywhere in the EU Digital Single Market, you are obliged to follow the GDPR.

GDPR will impact the effectiveness of card-linked marketing, because CLM relies on careful analysis of customer data. If a customer requests that their information be destroyed, then you no longer access to  the data you need, and CLM becomes impossible.

CLM is a Value Tool…if Used Properly

Card-linked marketing continues to grow with each year, but to make it worthwhile, you need to engage in this practice strategically. This means targeting customers, managing data effectively, and ensuring that fraud does not corrupt your customer insights.

That last part can be a major sticking point for merchants, as it’s nearly-impossible for the average merchant to distinguish between a true criminal fraud attack and friendly fraud. You can’t target customers with the necessary level of precision without that insight, and as a result, your CLM strategy can’t be as airtight as you need it to be.

Fortunately, there is a solution. It is possible to distinguish between friendly fraud and criminal fraud, saving your card-linked marketing strategy and reducing overall chargeback issuances in the process. Click below to learn more.

Prevent Chargebacks.

Fight Fraud.

Recover Revenue.