UK-based Collinson Group has increased its loyalty capability through the acquisition of Welcome Real-time, in a move that tightens up the process and combines Collinson’s expertise with WRT’s technology writes Patrick Brusnahan.

While Collinson has good experience of the financial market through its work with Visa and MasterCard but is looking to increase its financial services offering to retail banks with Welcome Real-time (WRT).

Joining Collinson’s loyalty capability group, currently consisting of ICLP and Collinson Latitude, and bringing a reach to over 100m consumers worldwide, Collinson Group chairman Colin Evans has said that Welcome Real-time will be the ‘mutually beneficial’ push they need to expand further into the financial sector.

Talking to Retail Banker International, Evans said: "A combination of its technology, think tens of patents, and our wider skills in this financial playbook, from China to the States, I think it’s a natural fit. Welcome Real-time gave us an opportunity to align our 20-odd years of experience in this space with their technology. There is a natural affinity for us."

As Collinson works mainly with card companies rather than banks, the deal is well placed to give Collinson a boost into the FS sector. Welcome Real-time provides banks with point of sale technology that allows them to provide special offers, points redemption and real-time communication. Evans said: "It brings us into a space that, clearly, we haven’t got much experience whereas they have much experience."

According to Evans Welcome Real-time decided they would require more investment if they were going to be able to remain and compete in a market that has changed considerably due to digital adoption and regional variations.

In terms of the benefits for Welcome Real-time, which will keep its own brand within the group, Evans said: "It’s now about global activity, you need the ability to respond in different markets. We’ve dealt with every card association and most banks. That gives us an opportunity to be aware of the very different dynamics in the market. They didn’t have that reach, so they required more investment."