You can see these promotions across Asia, where many banks are still active in merchant acquiring and see it as a useful support function for their card issuing business. Some banks are finding that without direct control of acquiring, it is much harder to develop marketing promotions and partnerships with merchants (more here on banks having second thoughts about outsourcing their acquiring activities).
I took this picture on Saturday at a restaurant in Singapore. This promotion is exclusively for Citibank cardholders. When I paid, I saw that there were several terminals behind the counter, one of them a Citibank terminal. So Citibank has an acquiring relationship with the restaurant, but so do UOB and DBS, suppliers of the other terminals behind the counter.
Then, at a Caltex petrol station, I got this offer when I used my HSBC card. The offer is stapled to the credit card slip (it could have been printed at the bottom of the credit card slip instead, and targeted based on my prior fill-ups at Caltex, but it wasn't). Again, just like the prior example, Caltex has an acquiring relationship with HSBC.
Here are a few other examples of bank/merchant joint promotions:
Old, boring cards have trouble competing side by side with new generation cards
A crowd of cards caught copycatting, doing their best to look exactly alike
Another ‘Exciting-new-card-versus-boring-old-card’ picture
Tod’s leather goods
Making credit and debit cards more valuable in the Philippines
Since I was in reporter mode, I couldn’t help stealing a picture at an iconic retailer in Singapore that every Singaporean knows, Mustafa Centre.
You can clearly see 5 terminals here representing 5 different acquirer relationships. If you look closely, you can see the main feature that requires all these terminals – credit installments, with each bank offering their cardholders a slightly different plan.
Why doesn’t a third party processor offer a universal installment plan application that can link up to any of these banks through a single terminal? That would bring costs down for the bank, reduce counter top space for the merchant, simplify procedures for the clerk, open the installment feature up to lots of other banks that don't do acquiring, and provide the third party processor with a cool feature to help win new business.