CANADA - Tags: FOOD BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT
Tim Hortons employees prepare coffee before the company's annual general meeting in Toronto, May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Peter Jones (CANADA - Tags: FOOD BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT) - RTR3OCNS Peter Jones/Reuters
With the press of a button, Tim Hortons is hoping Canadians will warm to a new credit card partnership.
The coffee and doughnut chain has joined CIBC for the "Double Double Visa Card," which includes physical buttons built into the plastic.
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Cardholders can press one of two options on the face of the card — a button that accesses their Visa account or another that lets users redeem loyalty points for products at the company's restaurants.
Each button has a coloured light that illuminates when the user activates one of the options.
The CIBC and Tim Hortons card allows users to earn points on purchases they charge to their no annual fee Visa card, collecting a cent on every dollar in Tims Cash rewards.
The Tim Hortons-branded credit card is the first step in rolling out a loyalty program. The company has yet to announce when the full-fledged rewards program will debut.
The Tim Hortons credit card was officially launched Tuesday.
Tech analyst Carmi Levy said the card is a smart way for both companies to build brand loyalty.
"This is the new trend in retail — partner with a financial institution, lock them into payments so that you're more likely to pull out your CIBC card every time you go to Tim Hortons. This is all about loyalty, this is all about locking in your customers and creating habits that pay off for a very long time to come," he told CBC News.
He said the scheme would help CIBC, which is smarting from TD Bank taking over the Aeroplan credit card file. It lost more than 500,000 credit card customers when Aeroplan moved to TD.
"This is a massive coup [for CIBC] simply because few retail brands are as iconic on the Canadian landscape as this one. It touches you first thing in the morning, it touches you through the work day, I mean this really is how Canadians identify when they are on the go."
While it may seem a good deal to get rewards, for consumers, the tradeoff for any loyalty card is that they are sharing data about their own shopping habits.
"You have to watch what happens to your personal data because that is the payment that you are making as a consumer to be part of this digital age," Levy said.
"Every time you pull your card out, and you swipe it, they learn something more about your habits which they then use to tweak their offerings both at Tim Hortons and CIBC. You have no control over where that info goes and ultimately that is the way business is done today."
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