Digital coupon provider Coupons.com Inc. is offering consumers the option to link the site's offers directly to their credit or debit cards.

In introducing the new program, Mountain View, Calif.-based Coupons.com allows consumers to link digital coupons to Visa, MasterCard or American Express payment cards for automatic redemption at checkout.

Initially, 12 offers from restaurants or specialty retailers will be available to consumers. The offers come from Travelocity, Vitamin World, Puritan Pride, Pipeline, Athleta, Banana Republic, Old Navy, GAP, Tilly's Dress Barn, Perfumia and The Body Shop.

"We always look to innovate in ways that help consumers save money," Bruce Sattley, senior vice president of product management at Coupons.com, states in a press release.

Consumers register a Visa, MasterCard or American Express card on the Coupons.com site or through the Coupons.com mobile app and select the offers they want. They redeem the offers when swiping the payment card at the point of sale.

Merchants offering the rewards will operate through the company's CardLink iQ card-linked program platform, which provides promotion management and real-time reporting for measuring campaign performance.

Card-linked offers have exploded in popularity in recent years as all parties involved in such programs find benefits, says Scott Strumello of New York- and London-based Auriemma Consulting Group. Auriemma recently studied card-linked programs, finding them popular for both merchants and consumers.

"The card networks have good reason to do this because they want to drive volume on their networks," Strumello says. "The individual banks have pursued it because they see it as a way to add value to their card programs and it doesn't cost a lot."

Banks can also leverage their customer data and website to enroll cardholders in the programs, he adds.

And consumers find it easy to sign up for card-linked services and generally like saving money, Strumello says.

It's a competitive market with the likes of Cartera Commerce, Cardlytics, Womply and others.

"I think there is room for all of these players in this space," Strumello says. "I think they can all be successful without falling over each other."

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