Barclaycard entered the loyalty market with its Freedom initiative and has been exploring various different mobile contactless payment methods to make the lives of consumers that bit easier.
The latest diversification comes from Mastercard with its clumsily titled Advisors Merchant Solutions (AMS) service that catapults the brand into previously unchartered territory.
Mastercard, you see, is to use the data gleaned from customer transactions to help retailers better target customers. And as if that was not enough those benevolent souls will also use the data to execute direct marketing campaigns to its cardholders on behalf of retailers.
For credit card brands, diversification into marketing and data analytics appears to be such a no-brainer that it is a wonder that Mastercard and their like have not tried it before.
The intelligence that payment services firms can provide retailers at the coal-face should prove to be invaluable. Data on what, where, how and when consumers buy can help retailers determine why existing and prospective customers behave.
It is also a natural diversification for a firm that processes payments to throw the data back at retailers to their ultimate benefit.
Credit card brands would exist in a near opportunity cul-de-sac if operating exclusively in the payment market. Business to business opportunities are limited.
For retail direct marketers, Mastercard can offer the data, but can it offer the insight?