PCATS to Develop New Loyalty Data Standards

Tech alliance hopes to accelerate program availability

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) said that it will be developing and adopting a U.S. domestic standard for the exchange of transaction information to enable integrated transaction loyalty implementation.

An initial meeting of the Working Group within the Retail Financial Transactions Committee has been scheduled for April 13, 2006, at the PCATS national headquarters office in Alexandria, Va. PCATS is soliciting the widest possible participation on this Working Group, which will be chaired by PCATS [image-nocss] member, Pat Lewis of Oasis Stop N Go, Twin Falls, Idaho.

This new initiative will provide a standardized format for the exchange of data related to loyalty programs, including the issuance and redemption of rewards and other applications specific to the petroleum and convenience store industry, the group said. Having a standardized data format will help facilitate integration of point-of-sale (POS) interfaces for use by different loyalty programs, thereby affording retailers the opportunity to participate in multiple programs at the same time without experiencing increased POS costs.

Current programs use both standalone devices and integrated POS systems to capture data and transmit it to the loyalty host for processing. Increasingly, such processes are mirroring financial transaction processing and thus, are raising similarly technological issues. Developing an industry standard that governs the exchange of loyalty data between POS vendors and loyalty partners will accelerate the availability of loyalty programs and create additional value for the petroleum/c-store industry.

PCATS is also considering development of an independent certification process for data exchange, similar to that used to certify the POS and back office system interface in NAXML. The loyalty value proposition for PCATS members would allow POS and loyalty providers to certify their applications against the standards only once.