Personal Finance

A Hassle-Free Daily Deal?

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Daily deal websites can seem so exciting at first. Sign up and you’ll be inundated with deep discount offers at your favorite merchants and fun new stores you’ve never heard of. The price cuts can be as high 50%, sometimes even more.

But the excitement can wear off quickly. After you join, the number of e-mails flooding your inbox can be overwhelming, especially if you sign up for more than one site. And the process of redeeming your coupon can be cumbersome. You have to click from the deal site to the retailer, type in your credit card info, print off a coupon, take it to the merchant, and wait at the counter for them to approve it.

For such a new, fast-growing industry, it all seems a little slow.

“Overload is starting to happen,” says Paul Gain, CEO of MonsterOffers.com, a daily deal site. “People really like getting a deal. But right now the process involves lots of steps.”

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Now MonsterOffers.com is teaming up with the online payments company Zala to make things simpler. The companies will soon be offering a prepaid debit card. Consumers can load money onto the card, and use it online or via mobile app to make discounted purchases. When they arrive at the store, they simply swipe the card to complete the transaction.

“Our goal in the next couple months is the to offer a one-click payment solution,” Gain says.

Monster Offers is an aggregation deal site, meaning that it takes deals from hundreds of sites, puts them all in one place, and lets people tweak the offers they receive by geography and interest—restaurants, for example, or hair salons or bake shops. That’s different than many deal sites, which tend to offer just one main deal per city every day.

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Likewise, Gain hopes his new debit card will be picked up as a payment option by hundreds of different deal sites.

“We’re not a competitor to Groupon or Living Social or the hundreds of other smaller sites out there,” he says. ”We’re focused on the financial transaction part of it, and we’re out to partner with all of them.”

The cards will be part of the Visa, MasterCard or Discover networks, so they can be used at any store that accepts those credit cards, regardless of whether the retailer participates in deal sites. Some participating retailers may use the cards to offer some kind of rewards program for repeat customers. In the future MonsterOffer and Zala also may try offering some kind of points-based rewards system, says Gain.

Image: Alan Cleaver, via Flickr.com

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