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Kard raises $23m Series A to power card rewards

By Edlyn Cardoza

April 29, 2022

  • API
  • BaaS
  • Fin Capital
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Kard, Tiger Global, Rewards-as-a-Service, API, Fin Capital, s12f, Underscore VC, Varo, FinTech, BaaS, Instant Cashback, USAKard, the rewards-as-a-service API that connects modern card issuers to the brands their cardholders love, recently announced that it has raised a $23 million Series A round led by Tiger Global. Also participating in the round are Fin Capital, s12f, and existing investor Underscore VC, which led Kard’s Seed round and several strategic angel investors. Kard will use this round to expand its merchant network and product suite and bolster hiring efforts across all departments, including engineering, product, sales, and account management.

Kard is the first rewards platform that services explicitly the entire spectrum of card issuers, including traditional banks, Neobanks, banking-as-a-service providers, and the broader FinTech market — anyone building a unique card experience. Rewards programs have become table stakes for cardholders in a crowded and competitive market but building a rewards program from scratch requires finding and integrating with retail partners, matching card transaction data to specific locations, negotiating ad rates, managing settlements, and more. Kard’s capabilities handle all of this, allowing any card issuer to seamlessly embed a fully customised and tailored rewards solution into its own user experience, optimised for its unique customer base.

“The response from both sides of our market has been amazing to see,” says Ben Mackinnon, CEO of Kard. “We knew from the beginning that our platform would offer a major upgrade compared to others in the space, and the traction we’ve seen in the last year alone has validated our expectations. We make rewards simple for everyone, from our issuers and merchant partners to everyday cardholders. I’m excited for this next stage of growth as we scale our product functionality and drive increasingly more value to cardholders.”

Kard launched its rewards API in early 2020, partnering with Varo and other large US Neobanks attracted to Kard’s unique capabilities and customisable rewards program. More than two dozen new partners partnered with Kard in 2021, marking Kard’s expansion into the broader FinTech and banking-as-a-service industries. Marqeta partnered with Kard to offer its card-issuing customers seamless integration of the Kard platform into their offering. Kard now powers rewards for more than 10 million cardholders, processing more than 50 million transactions per month, nearly a ten-fold increase in the last six months alone.

Unlike other rewards platforms, Kard enables issuers to build unique rewards and loyalty experiences quickly and easily by leveraging Kard’s APIs and network of retail and merchant partners. Card issuers like Varo embed a rewards program completely tailored to their unique customer experiences in weeks instead of months. Cardholders can earn instant cashback, fractional shares of stock, redeemable points, and even cryptocurrency. Kard handles the complete backend, allowing issuer partners to focus on what they do best: building amazing experiences for cardholders. Issuers see an increase in total customer spending by 37% after rolling out a Kard rewards program.

“Unlike other solutions, Kard’s model allowed us to build our own bespoke experience and control how our customers engage with rewards,” says Behzad Behrouzi, VP of Product Management at Varo. “Our ability to tailor the experience to our customers, combined with Kard’s growing merchant relationships, got us excited about working with Kard. We look forward to continuing our partnership.”

Kard also works with a network of merchant advertisers, helping them build targeted offers to appeal to the right shopper at the right time and capture incremental market share within a highly desirable audience. Offers are translated into each card issuer’s native format — cashback, points, and more — and the cardholder experience is entirely frictionless. Kard’s partner national merchants, advertising agencies, small e-tailers, and in-house digital advertising teams are seeing 11% higher average order value, higher purchase frequency, and 10:1 to 15:1 returns on ad spend.

“Kard has created an innovative and easy-to-use platform that allows card issuers to build customizable reward systems, while also providing merchants a way to capture market share and drive revenue,” said Alex Cook, Partner at Tiger Global. “Kard recognizes the importance of a competitive rewards program to issuers, merchants, and cardholders, and we’re excited to partner with the Kard team.”

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