Checking in gets interesting with Foursquare’s Amex deal

Foursquare: deal with Amex

In spite of predictions that Facebook Places would kill off Foursquare, the geo-location social network is still going strong, revealing this week that it has 10 million members and a new partnership with American Express.

The deal works in the United States and will see American Express users required to sync their cards with a Foursquare account in order to get discounts at retailers and restaurants.

The New York Times reports that cardholders checking in to the clothes store H&M and spending $75 will get a $10 credit on their Amex account, for example. That’s a compelling reason to check-in. It also reports that Foursquare is not getting any revenue from the deal with Amex.

Previous ‘deals’ on Foursquare don’t really require much more than a Foursquare user showing their smartphone to the venue owner as proof, but as Techcrunch points out, because of the synchronization between the Amex card and the Foursquare account, it is possible to see exactly how many people are taking up an offer and when and how and so on. That accountability that marketing people so long to have, in other words.

The Amex/Foursquare deal could really target a whole other segment of the market that is put off by Groupon’s hard-sell tactics and somewhat lower-end offers. For example, Groupon Now is offering a 50% off deal at this place that already offers discount coupons on its website, while Foursquare has an Amex deal with this place.

I’m still inexplicably happy being rewarded with Foursquare badges and mayorships, and discovering helpful tips like: “Don’t chew gum or they wont let you taste the wine before you choose.” (that’s a real tip for Le Beaujolais wine bar in central London). But it’s interesting to see the direction the whole check in/geo location social network is moving in, and whether it will (a) provide any genunine benefits for consumers and (b) make any money for anyone involved.