Mastercard to acquire loyalty platform SessionM

Global card scheme Mastercard has entered into an agreement to acquire SessionM, a US-based customer engagement and loyalty platform.

SessionM is used by a range of companies – including retailers, airlines, restaurants and consumer packaged goods companies – to build stronger relationships with their customers.

Mastercard said the deal would allow it to help brands around the world deliver personalised, real-time offers and comprehensive campaign measurement using “robust, data-driven insights”.

Francis Hondal, president for loyalty and engagement at Mastercard, commented: “Consumers' expectations about their experiences with brands are changing.

“We believe that the future of loyalty needs to be re-imagined to enable seamless digital experiences, and SessionM’s consumer-centric capabilities will help us broaden our value to marketers across sectors in exciting new ways.”

SessionM’s technology platform is viewed by Mastercard as a method of providing an end-to-end loyalty offering to its business partners, from data management and campaign execution to programme measurement.

Lars Albright, co-founder and CEO of SessionM, which is based in Boston, Massachusetts, said the deal would enable his business to bring its innovative technology to even more customers worldwide.

The proposed SessionM acquisition – terms of which have not been revealed, although the deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter – follows Mastercard’s takeover of Applied Predictive Technologies, an analytics tool that gives brands, including UK electricals retailer Dixons Carphone, a chance to measure the impact of their business decisions and marketing activity.

“With our suite of data-driven services, we aim to help our customers end to end – from advice to execution and everything in between,” explained Kevin Stanton, chief services officer at Mastercard.

“Our complementary technology and teams will help brands drive greater loyalty with both proprietary and card-based programmes.”

Meanwhile, on the day Mastercard announced its intention to acquire again, rival card scheme Visa revealed it has completed the takeover of the token services and ticketing businesses, formerly known as Bell ID and Ecebs LTD, from chip provider Rambus.

Visa said the move strengthened its tokenisation capabilities beyond card-based payments on the Visa network, to those on domestic card networks, account-based and real-time payments.

Once integrated, Rambus’s tokenisation technology is expected to improve Visa’s ability to reduce fraud and offer more secure payment solutions.