Burger King Tests Smart Card, Loyalty Program

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Burger King customers at four Long Island, NY, restaurants can earn loyalty points toward free food by using a smart card from Mondex USA.

"This technology is a new innovation that we are interested in from a convenience standpoint," said Charles Nicolas, a spokesman for Burger King Corp., Miami. "We are testing the program for six months, and we'll take a look at the results before deciding beyond that."

Burger King has been dabbling in a number of loyalty programs, including punch cards, and is interested in implementing a loyalty program across the entire chain, Nicolas said.

The Mondex smart card is an electronic cash system that uses a credit-card-like piece of plastic with a microcomputer chip embedded in it. Card dispensers inside the Burger King restaurants allow customers to obtain the cards, featuring the Burger King logo, loaded with $10 to $20.

Customers can order their meals in the usual way and pay using their Burger King/Mondex cards. Customers confirm the payment, and the amount is deducted from the card. Value-loading devices in the restaurants allow cardholders to add more money to the cards by using their ATM cards.

Customers receive one loyalty point for every dollar spent. Points are stored on the chip at the time of purchase. Ten points earns the customers a free breakfast value meal, 15 points gets them a free Whopper sandwich value meal and 20 points a free value meal of their choice.

Later this summer, customers will be able to use the Mondex cards at the drive-through window at two of the restaurants.

The program represents the first time that customers can receive and re-load Mondex cards at a merchant's store location and the first time that Mondex is testing an on-chip loyalty program.

The owners of Mondex USA, San Francisco, including Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank Universal Card Services, MasterCard and First Chicago NBD, plan to test other programs this year that will motivate card use in the U.S. marketplace. Chase Manhattan has upgraded seven of its ATMs in the area to allow customer to load Mondex cards.

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