- Mastercard is set to release an app in the second quarter of 2020 that shows cardholder rewards in an immersive augmented reality (AR) experience. The computer-generated imagery will include a series of 3D interactive portals, each showcasing account features such as shopping and loyalty benefits, according to an announcement Wednesday.
- When mobile users open the app, it will ask them to scan their Mastercard with their smartphone camera to start an AR session. The app then prompts them to scan their surroundings before showing the AR images of three portals, labeled "Experiences," "Everyday Value" and "Peace of Mind."
- Users can learn more about card benefits by tapping on a portal. For example, tapping on a digital rendering of golf clubs will open a pop-up that explains how cardholders can access Mastercard's Priceless Golf program to book tee times at resorts and room upgrades at hotels. The app will be available in Apple's App Store in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2020. Other regions and devices will be added this year.
Mastercard's AR app aims to help the payment network stand out from rivals by educating cardholders about benefits they may never use. About half (47%) of consumers switch cards to get better rewards, but only a third of them completely understand those benefits, according to a consumer survey by J.D. Power cited by Mastercard. AR can be an way to illustrate those rewards by engaging consumers with content that's more immersive than websites, TV and print.
The AR app is Mastercard's latest push into multisensory branding to connect with consumers who are bombarded with marketing messages and may not see much difference among payments companies. Mastercard in September introduced two custom flavors of French cookies to its brand that cardholders can buy on its Priceless.com website. The company also added "sonic branding" to its identity, and commissioned an original song based on the branding.
Mastercard's experiential marketing efforts also include food and hospitality programs such as Priceless, a culinary collective started last year to showcase a rotating selection of top-rated, destination restaurants from around the world. But Mastercard isn't alone in expanding its mobile marketing efforts to foster greater loyalty with cardholders. American Express in November added a restaurant booking tool to its mobile app, letting Platinum Card and Centurion members make reservations at more than 10,000 eateries worldwide.