Canadian Tire Bank wants to gamify mobile banking

New mPlay & Pay app puts a big emphasis on real-world rewards
Eugene Roman, Canadian Tire Corp. CTC, and Cam Thomson, CTFS Digital Marketing Manager, Canadian Tire Financial Services, introduced the new mPay & Play™ app.

Eugene Roman (left), Canadian Tire Corp. CTO, and Cam Thomson, Canadian Tire Financial Services digital marketing manager.

Canadian Tire has launched a new app for holders of its cross-branded Mastercard that blends utilitarian functions like everyday mobile banking payments with loyalty badges and promotional offers.

“We wanted to put something out that would really engage our customers in the card’s value proposition, and really get them a little closer to the rewards,” said Cam Thomson, digital marketing manager with Canadian Tire Financial Services. “We think we can engage customers to another level, if we come up with something that’s fun and exciting and very different than what other financial institutions are putting out there. ”

The mPlay & Pay app, which is only available to Canadian Tire Options Mastercard members, offers standard mobile banking features like account balances and payment history, as well as contactless mobile payments at Canadian Tire retail locations. It also tracks the customer’s Canadian Tire Money balance, and any Money they get from using the card.

Where the app breaks away from the mobile banking crowd is with its built-in loyalty rewards system. Members can earn badges for actions like using the app to pay at Canadian Tire or Sport Chek stores, buying groceries with their Mastercard, or switching to paperless e-statements.
Thomson stressed that earning badges isn’t merely for vanity. For every 10 badges earned, customers get a 10x multiplier on the amount of Canadian Tire Money they collect over the next ten days. On top of the 10x bonus Money they already get for using Canadian Tire’s Options, that works out to about 8% cash back on Canadian Tire purchases, Thomson said.

Canadian Tire worked on the app with Mastercard and Philadelphia-based dev shop Empathy Lab. Thomson said the team spent more than a year reviewing several hundred apps across banking, retail and quick service restaurants to get a sense of what worked and what didn’t.

They ended up taking a lot of inspiration from the Starbucks payments app. “When you look at mobile payments and getting people engaged in something that is basically a digitized coffee punch card, they’ve done something special,” he said, noting that over 20% of Starbucks total sales now come through mobile payments. “We wanted to take the bits and pieces that we think they’re doing really well and marry them with things that we do really well.”

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