Visa Enters The Location-Based Mobile Marketing Space With New iPhone App

Visa today launched its official iPhone application that also marks the company’s first foray into location-based mobile marketing.

Like many LBS apps already available, Visa’s new iPhone app will determine a users location to serve up nearby offers from participating retailers.  The app stores each customized offer and allows the user to redeem Online or in brick and mortar locations.  Upon opening the app and clicking on an offer, a map is then displayed with directions on where to redeem the offer from retail stores.  For launch, Visa is working with around 50 hand-picked retailers such as 24 Hour Fitness, Meineke, New York & Company, Holiday Inn, Hard Rock Café and Zales, with many more on the horizon.

The new app also includes standard features for Visa account holders, such as the ability to locate and map ATMs and view account information.  Account holders with Visa Signature cards will even get “extra special offers” in addition to the offers available to all Visa account holders.  While the offers are said to be “tailored to the user,” the only customization available for users is the ability to select categories for offers, such as clothing, jewelry, travel, dining, entertainment and other retail goods.

“Merchants are looking for new and more efficient ways to reach customers, while budget-conscious consumers expect a more rewarding and convenient shopping experience,” said Bill Gajda, Head of Mobile, in a prepared statement. “The Visa Mobile application meets the needs of both merchants and consumer and brings one of the most trusted brands in payments to the iPhone.”

In any other case, I’d say that this was just another location-based app that aggregates nearby deals, which isn’t that original these days.  Being a Visa-branded app, however, changes the dynamic and overall appeal from a consumer standpoint.  It should be interesting to see what other brands sign-on in the near future and to see some response, usage and conversion data.