SXSW Interactive is testing ground for new coupon service

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by JADE MINGUS

KVUE

Posted on March 11, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 11 at 7:19 PM

AUSTIN — The interactive portion of SXSW is a test lab for companies who want feedback from tech savvy consumers. This week a company is testing a new coupon service to give visitors a taste of Austin's famous food trailers.

Coupon giant RetailMeNot is beta testing new technology that lets customers put coupons directly on credit and debit cards. No online code is required, there is no need to scan bar codes on a mobile phone, and there is also no need for printed coupons.

The coupon is applied at the point of sale when the credit or debit card is swiped.

"It's really easy for the consumer and really easy for the merchants because it's integrating with their existing hardware," said RetailMeNot spokeswoman Kristen Nelson. "It's no extra step for them — they are able to get out discounts in a new way."

This week, RetailMeNot is testing the technology with itw "What the Truck?!" campaign, offering SXSW visitors discounts to 13 Austin food trailers.

This is how it works: Customers sign up at RetailMeNot's mobile site and register their credit card information. Users choose the coupons they want and link them directly to their credit and debit cards. When customers make a purchase, the savings are automatically applied. The coupons are free.

The coupon campaign runs through Tuesday, March 13.

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