Visa, Gap use text messages to mobile phones for promotions

Customers show the text to a sales clerk to receive a discount

Credit-card company Visa and clothing retailer Gap, are using (SMS) text messages to deliver promotions and discounts to Gap customers' mobile phones, the companies announced.

The system, which uses Visa's global processing network, will be expanded to retailers nationwide, Visa said, but no timeline was announced.

Gap and Visa began a pilot of the real-time text message system in November. Customers enrolled via a secure website and were sent various Gap offers when they made certain transactions with their Visa cards, such as shopping at a store within a specified zip code or time period. Once the offers appeared on their phones, the customers redeemed the offers by showing the text messages to Gap sales clerks.

Jim McCarthy, Visa's global head of products, said Visa is able to process transactions quickly so that retailers can reach potential customers carrying mobile phones while they are out shopping.

Amy Carr, director of customer relationship management strategy at Gap, said the Visa system has given retailer insights into its enrolled customers that was not possible before, leading to improvements in targeting promotions to customers.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is .

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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