Card-Linked Offers POWER User Engagement, User Retention, and IGNITES FinTech Cardholder’s Evangelism

In a world where top apps come and go by the minute, there is a never-ending battle to claw your way to the top of — and stay atop — the App Store rankings. Apps that don’t deliver a seamless, top-notch experience risk losing users to the competition on a daily basis. Increasing user engagement, optimizing user retention, and ultimately creating brand evangelism are top priorities for app developers and can be a winding road to navigate.

This is especially true of FinTech apps, which are challenged with marrying personal finances, investing, and financial literacy into one seamless experience. Card-linked offers can provide a unique competitive advantage for publishers and developers by providing users with built-in financial incentives to use their platform.

FinTech App Concept

Merchant-Funded Offers

Card-linked offers are a win/win for FinTech apps because they are merchant-funded, meaning they are displayed on your FinTech app but are paid for by the merchant themselves. With merchant-funded offers, FinTech apps can create an additional revenue stream while providing value for their cardholders. Imagine a user engaging with your app sees a 5% cash back offer to shop at Macy’s; that offer and the cashback would be funded by Macy's.

Aside from profitability benefits, FinTech apps that leverage card-linked offers have reported increased loyalty and app activity. One Empyr publisher partner conducted a study in 2018 comparing the difference between the 28-day activity of cashback users vs. likely cashback users pre and post signup. They discovered a 3.45% (+/-.493%) increase in 28-day activity after a cash back program signup.

Bottom line: if users associate spending on your FinTech app, credit or debit card with free cash back or loyalty points, they are more likely to use your card online and at the register.

Measuring Engagement

App launches, session length, and time in-app are traditional ways that developers keep a constant pulse on the health and wellness of their users. Naturally, one would think that the higher these numbers, the healthier the user base, but that is not always the case.

A more accurate measure of user engagement is to make contextual comparisons; isolate the industry within which your app operates and compare from there. For example, how often are you in your Delta app versus your Instagram app versus your Audible app? Engagement within your specific industry will change the expectations you have for app engagement.

Let’s Talk Retention

User retention is traditionally measured in two different ways: percentage of users who return to an app one month, two months, and three months after download, and the number of users who return a certain number of days after download.

According to a Localytics report, roughly 30% of users return to the app 1 day after download. That number greatly depreciates to 11% 14 days after download. 14-days, therefore, marks an important threshold for determining true user retention. In this pivotal time period, a few key things need to happen:

Convenience. Make your app and services as accessible as possible. Tap into the mind of your users and think about what it is that they truly care about. Thinking one step ahead and granting your users something they didn’t even know they needed is the key to retention. Consider user workshops, surveys, or app heat maps as starting points for understanding your users.

Personalization. People innately want to be cared for and heard. Leveraging instant messaging, live chat, and social platforms creates a level of personalization that can make the difference between someone staying with your app or choosing to go to a competitor. If your user thinks Facebook Messenger is invasive but loves live chat as a quick way for 1:1 help, you have found your method of personalization. If you don’t know where they are, ask!

Gamification. Gamification offers strong incentives and a clear path to achievable milestones. You want your users to feel encouraged and committed to the program while offering key differentiation points from the competition. Card-linked offers are a great way to reward users for choosing your app and incentivizing each step of the gamification process. You can infuse card-linked offers into points, tokens, cash, or a myriad of other redeemable rewards. What better way to create a divide than literally rewarding the customers who choose to do business with you?

Surprise and delight. Empyr is in the business of delighting your FinTech app users, and card-linked offers are invaluable for user retention. Leveraging Empyr’s technology and relationships with the major credit card brands moves you that much closer to exciting and delighting specific audience groups with appropriate offers and messages. Seeing how much they can earn in cash back, savings, points, or unlocking additional rewards are all meaningful ways for your users to play along.

Let’s Talk Evangelism

What turns users into raving fans? In a day and age where one single message can attract thousands, how do we harness the ability to “go viral”?

By tapping into the right audience for your app, and going one step further and delighting them, we increase the likelihood of them 1) coming back and 2) bringing a friend with them.

Card-linked offers can reinforce the power of referrals and viral shares with real, tangible results.


There is no one silver bullet to get your app to the top, just a lot of silver BB’s combining to push the envelope and deliver a great overall user experience. If you are looking for a new way to get your users engaged, stay longer, and spread the word while monetizing along the way, consider adding card-linked offers to your app.

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