American Express is ready to embrace the future—or at least that would appear to be the case if their use of blockchain technology is any indication. The company has deployed Hyperledger technology in its revamp of the American Express Membership Rewards Program, making it the first major US-based financial services loyalty program to do so.
Thanks to the use of blockchain, merchants accepting American Express payment will be able to both offer customers the chance to earn American Express points and earn membership rewards through merchant programs.
For now, the program is in the pilot stages, and the company is only partnering with Boxed, an online wholesale retailer. Right now, customers can earn rewards with Boxed and 5x points with American Express, depending on the products and brands purchased. Depending on how the pilot project goes, the program should roll out to nearly all American Express merchant partners in the coming months.
According to the two companies, one success they have seen thus far is that the program allows them to better target specific items and brands, encouraging more customer interest. Merchants can also make offers tied to specific dates and times.
In an effort to encourage merchant adoption, American Express fully manages the technology behind the program. While it used to take months for merchants to enter their rewards program, it should now take days. However, merchants will have full control over the offers made to customers and the marketing. American Express will simply make certain that all offers are in line with their brand values and follow merchant agreements.