The Importance of Offering a Secure Loyalty Program

I recently read an online article by Susan Torpor, about how cyber crooks are now turning their attention to those loyalty cards stuffed in wallets and dangling from keychains. Several large retailers have been forced to send a warning to their loyalty card members about security breaches in which the crooks are using up the customer’s loyalty points, getting free merchandise and selling it online. It got me thinking about the trouble and money that some businesses go through in order to provide a secure loyalty program to their customers and to protect the data they acquire.

It’s hard to believe that people would benefit from stealing loyalty program points, but you would be surprised what seems valuable to those crooks. In her article, Susan mentions how crooks rack up by acquiring gaming consoles by using stolen points and then selling them online. Furthermore, many loyalty programs require passwords and personal data in order to join the loyalty program. Once they hack into the account all that information is up for grabs and they certainly value that data.

Most people have dozens of these loyalty cards hanging from their key rings or stuffed in a really fat wallet. Many people have grown tired of them, but if they frequent a place enough, they enjoy the benefits these programs provide. However, if most people are like me, they often visit a place and spend a couple of minutes looking through their wallet for the card only to not find it at all. Well, it turns out that the cyber crooks are looking for them also.

How do businesses deal with this new threat? Large corporations may have whole departments dedicated to security but they still have problems like Target and Toys R Us, as of late. Loyalty programs are so important however, the businesses almost are forced to provide this service to their customers. So how do businesses protect all this data collected and used alongside the loyalty cards?

The answer is simple. Don’t collect it.  Don’t collect any personal data. Don’t store personal data. Don’t give swipe cards that can be lost or stolen. Instead, implement a digital rewards platform that only collects the mobile phone number and first name of the customer.  That is all the info a business needs in order to contact their customers, reward them for loyalty check-ins and keep them coming back.

TL Connects’ digital rewards program does just this. Businesses using this platform do not have to worry about their data getting compromised. Their customers don’t have to worry about hackers stealing their hard-earned progress toward a reward.  The only way a thief can steal a customer’s reward on this platform is to steal a phone and keep coming into the store to earn the reward, which of course is highly unlikely to happen. On this platform the only way a user gets the reward is to check-in with his/her mobile phone number then show the reward text to the cashier or server.  There are no passwords to a personal account or personal information to steal. Even if their phone gets stolen or lost, the customer can still shut it down and recover their phone number and not lose even one check-in towards their reward goal.

Businesses using this platform do not have to worry about their database getting hacked.  All the data is kept and protected by TL Connects so the business reaps all the rewards of having the customer’s data without the worry of having to protect it.  With the mobile phone numbers collected, the business can send text messages to their subscribers alerting them to great deals and offers. They can also send automated text messages to customers who have not visited in a certain amount of time. With that feature, an absent customer gets an incentive to go back to the store/restaurant within 7 days of getting the text to redeem the offer.

In today’s cyber world, can your businesses afford to offer anything besides a true, secure loyalty program to your subscribers?

* Article referenced – Hackers target passwords and loyalty cards, by Susan Tompor

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