Mike Isaac

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Foursquare Opens Up Check-In Deals to More Kinds of Plastic

Aiming to beef up one of its longstanding revenue streams, Foursquare announced on Tuesday that it will now accept Visa, Mastercard and debit cards in conjunction with its check-in deals program, an initiative previously open only to a smaller group of cardholders.

The program builds on Foursquare’s partnership with American Express, which launched just under two years ago, which allows Foursquare users to redeem special discounts and deals by checking in to local businesses after linking their Foursquare accounts to their credit card. The idea was, according to Foursquare, to make the experience less awkward than pulling out a paper coupon or waving your phone in front of the cashier (a la some daily deals services).

So in theory, the easier and less clumsy the process, the more folks will want to do it. And that makes everyone happy — including Foursquare’s bottom line.

“When users are having a great experience and merchants earn more money, we earn more money in the process,” Foursquare product manager Noah Weiss told AllThingsD.

Which is something Foursquare needs to take more seriously as it begins to mature and think of itself as a growing, viable business. The company of course has its previously announced paid promoted updates pilot program to offer businesses more ways to lure in customers, but that’s still being fleshed out, and needs time before it scales widely.

That, combined with Foursquare’s added analytics dashboard that can help business owners see more information about the types of people spending money at their stores, could prove to be a fairly powerful tool set for understanding their customers.

For now, with any luck, the number of people using Visa, Mastercard and debit cards — which is pretty much everyone in the U.S. — will beef up Foursquare’s deals revenue. That is, if folks continue to check in.

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