Instant rewards emerge for credit, debit cards

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If you love to rack up points and get cash back on your credit-card purchases but would like more immediate gratification, two new services do just that.

American Express and Coupons.com in April 2014 each introduced a free service that lets you link your credit or debit card to coupons to earn automatic discounts, gift cards and statement credits.

Coupons.com’s service, which is called Card Linked Offers, allows members to register any American Express, MasterCard or Visa credit or debit card. After your card is linked, you simply use the card to make the purchase, and the discount or reward is credited to your account automatically. Customers get a text or an email that confirms that the coupon was accepted.

American Express’ program, which is called Amex Offers, works much the same way, although your reward is a credit on your next monthly statement.
For both services, we found offers in May 2014 that ranged from 15 percent to 50 percent off purchases at national retailers or chain restaurants.