Flux brings its digital loyalty stamps to U.K. challenger bank Starling

Flux, the London fintech startup founded by former early employees at Revolut, has deepened its partnership with U.K. challenger bank Starling to add Flux-powered loyalty points to Starling’s mobile banking app.

It builds on earlier Flux integration that sees Starling support item-level digital receipts powered by Flux and supported merchants (to date, this includes all 111 EAT stores in the U.K. and Bel-Air).

Here’s how the new loyalty functionality works: Once you’ve enabled Flux within the Starling app, you simply spend at supported merchants using Starling and any loyalty rewards you earn are automatically displayed in your Starling account alongside a fully item-level digital receipt. After you have accrued enough loyalty to qualify for a free item, Flux will send cash-back to your Starling account on behalf of the Flux retailer.

The idea is to make loyalty stamps digital in the same way as receipts, which not only reduces cumbersome use of paper, but also speeds up the checkout process and makes loyalty something you — as the customer — never have to really think about.

This tallies with research undertaken by Deloitte, which Flux is citing, that says although 41 percent of U.K. consumers use brand loyalty schemes, an estimated 10.3 million people possess unused loyalty points which total more than £4.5 billion.

(Of course, if everybody did redeem their free items, you have to wonder what the net effect on the loyalty schemes on offer would be, but that is probably a discussion for a different day).

Now of course, Flux/Starling isn’t the first to offer digital loyalty, even for in-store as opposed to online purchases. Card linking has been around for a while, with major banks also jumping on that bandwagon. Meanwhile, services like Yoyo Wallet are making a digital loyalty play via a bespoke app and payment method (Yoyo has also integrated with Starling).

However, what makes Flux interesting is the way it wants to integrate at the banking app level in order to offer a consolidated view of your earned loyalty points across all your bank accounts.

This means in theory that if you earn Flux points with one bank card, they’ll be displayed in and can be redeemed from any other bank cards/accounts that you have also linked Flux to. This small pieces, loosely joined approach is at the very heart of Open Banking and Flux’s longer term strategy as an FCA authorised AISP (Account Information Service Provider).

The fintech startup is already working with Barclays and Monzo, in addition to Starling. I’m told that providing consolidated views across payments accounts with enriched data is key to Flux’s strategy for the year.