Online food ordering and delivery app Zomato, on Monday, announced the launch of a co-branded credit card along with RBL, and Master Card, that will help the online food delivery platform further cement its position in India’s dining market by offering benefits such as Zomato credits on purchases, and increase the reach of its flagship membership program Zomato Gold.
In the first twenty four months, RBL, and Zomato are aiming to issue 1 million credit cards to Zomato’s users in India.
The card that starts with an annual membership of ₹500 (plus taxes) for the basic edition will also offer a complimentary Zomato Gold membership to its credit card holders, apart from offering Zomato credits on online and offline spends. The premium edition is priced at Rs3,000 plus taxes.
The move comes as more companies and banks are luring shoppers with co-branded credit cards, especially as experience-seeking millennials seek to draw better benefits from travel, dining out, and entertainment-related financial products.
The card comes under two variants, the basic Edition Classic card and a more premium Edition Card. The key features of the basic card include Zomato credits with every use—that are linked to online and offline spend of the credit card users and can be redeemed at restaurants listed on Zomato; and those that accept Gold on dine-in; apart from a complimentary Zomato Gold membership (city variant).
Users of the more premium Edition Card version will be offered the Gold global membership, and lounge access at all major domestic airports, apart from benefits linked to their spends on fuel, entertainment, shopping that translate to in-app Zomato credits.
The move, said executives, is made keeping in mind the growing popularity of dining out among India’s urban millennials who are increasingly using apps to order meals at home or eating out. Benefits linked to dining could help users sign up for such financial products.
“At the end of the day you have to be present in the customer’s life cycle—especially wherever they make payments. Zomato automatically comes in to the picture—it is a high frequency usage platform,” Utkarsh Saxena, head products, credit cards, RBL Bank said. He added that, online food delivery is a growing trend and RBL’s strategic partnership with Zomato represents an opportunity to offer an innovative experience to our customers. Saxena said this makes it the first card where a food aggregator has come together with bank to launch a financial product.
RBL Bank has over 2.5 million credit cardholders currently. It services over 7.8 million customers currently. Zomato, on the other hand, is present in over 500 cities in India, with over 2 lakh delivery partners that ferry orders throughout the day. The number of restaurant listings globally on Zomato stood at 1.5 million as of September 2019. Its Gold program has 1.4 million subscribers, the company said in its half yearly report in October last year.
However, in 2019 the online food aggregator faced a severe backlash against Zomato Gold—a paid program launched in 2017 that gives diners complimentary offers on eating out. On August 15, a few hundred restaurants led by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) staged a log out of platforms such as Zomato Gold, Dineout and EazyDiner over deep discounts doled out by them. This eventually turned into a large-scale protest.
However, Zomato later agreed to limit the benefits given to diners on Gold, but subsequently extended the Gold program to deliveries too.
The economics of the two cards have been worked out between Zomato and RBL bank that will fund the benefits being offered to users of the card. Restaurants, on the other hand, will continue to give the discount as they did as part of Gold offers. “Those are discretionary discount offers that restaurants will continue to give, this product is designed between RBL and Zomato and the economics of it is between the two of us,” Pradyot Ghate, vice president, product, payments and partnerships at Zomato said.
Ghate added that the move is designed to broaden the loyalty of its programs such as Zomato Gold, and help Zomato become part of larger lifestyle choices being made by urban shoppers.
This article was first published on livemint.com.