Citi lets cardholders redeem rewards with app

NEW YORK (AP) ? Want to your redeem rewards points while shopping? There’s an app for that.

A free application introduced Thursday will let Citi credit cardholders redeem their rewards points immediately while shopping at Best Buy stores. The bank says it’s the first rewards program that gives customers a way to redeem points on their mobile devices.

The Details

The application is available for iPhones, iPod Touch and Android devices. After downloading the app from the Apple App Store or Android Market, cardholders are prompted to sign in using their name and password.

Citi card holders scan or type in barcodes of products at Best Buy and redeem reward points immediately. Users can also browse the rewards catalog for items that are available for in-store pickup or opt to have products delivered.

Citi’s “ThankYou” program can be found at .

The Background

Retailers see mobile shopping is a major growth opportunity because consumers often use their phones to look up locations and compare prices.

Most shoppers still don’t purchase items on their phones, but that’s expected to change eventually. Forrester Research sees mobile commerce accounting for $31 billion in sales by 2016, up from an estimated $6 billion this year.

Because all banks have reward programs with very similar product offerings, the way they deliver the points becomes a selling point, notes Ralph Andretta, executive vice president of Loyalty and New Products at Citi. For Best Buy, the partnership extends the company’s reach and draws in new customers.