20 years of PAYBACK: Germany’s passion for points

PAYBACK celebrates its 20th anniversary on March 13th.

  •   Daily shopping partner for 31 million customers in Germany

  •   Germans have saved €3.5 billion with PAYBACK over the past two decades
  •   Strong digitization: Approx. 10 m customers are using the PAYBACK app 

  •   Managing Director Bernhard Brugger: “Very well positioned for the future”

PAYBACK celebrates its 20th anniversary on 13 March. The bonus programme was the first of its kind when it was launched in 2000, bringing many retailers and service providers together under one roof, and enabling customers to collect points quickly with their shopping and save money. PAYBACK sparked a real craze in Germany: just one month after its launch, the programme already had one million customers, and today PAYBACK is part of everyday life for more than 31 million consumers in Germany. There is a strong trend towards mobile: Almost 10 million customers are collecting points with the PAYBACK app. “PAYBACK has changed as radically as shopping and life itself in recent years. We are well placed for the future”, says Managing Director Bernhard Brugger, who has been involved with and driven the programme from the very beginning. For years the company’s digitization strategy has been to make the programme highly mobile, and it keeps attracting strong offline and online brands to join its alliance.


Benefits for customers: easy-to-collect, secure points that pay off

PAYBACK started with nine partners and today unites 680 companies under one roof – from Aral to dm-drogerie markt, Fressnapf, Penny, Real, Rewe and Telekom to AboutYou, Expedia and myToys. Here, customers can collect points, activate coupons, enjoy benefits and save money with just a card or the PAYBACK app. The mobile payment function integrated within the app is the most popular payment solution in the country, ahead of Apple Pay and Google Pay, according to a current study by the Bundesbank. PAYBACK is used roughly 5 million times a day. Customers who use several partners and redeem coupons can easily save between €200 and €300 a year. Points worth €3.5 billion have been saved over the past 20 years by customers. Spending points directly at the check-out accounts for 80 per cent of these redemptions. The value of the points is simply deducted from the price. North Rhine-Westphalia is the German state with the most collectors.  

Benefits for companies: targeted marketing and digitization

PAYBACK helps companies to shift their communications strategy away from anonymous consumers towards named customers, and to switch from generic marketing to rewarding shoppers with points. Customers join the programme because they want special offers and coupons from their favourite companies. So PAYBACK points not only give businesses the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition, but also to provide the “right” customers with focused campaigns and to measure success accurately afterwards. In the twenty years of its existence, PAYBACK has developed an enormous reach, with 31 million customers and impressive international know-how in customer loyalty and the digitization of the retail sector. In 20 years, two partners of everyday life have left the programme: Obi in 2007 and Galeria Kaufhof at the end of 2019. Kaufhof latterly accounted for 2 per cent of points collected.

Successful internationalisation in eleven countries worldwide to date

The Munich-based company has successfully rolled out its product to eleven countries so far, with consumers as far afield as Poland, India and Mexico now collecting PAYBACK points. At the same time the company is known for giving a very high priority to data protection and data security and enjoys a high level of trust on the part of both customers and companies. Data are neither sold nor disclosed between partners. PAYBACK has its data protection set-up audited every year by TÜV.

The success of PAYBACK began with a grand vision in a small office in Munich. Today 1,000 people in Germany work for the company, which has been part of the American Express Group since 2011. Founder Alexander Rittweger left the business at that time. 2019 was the most successful year in the history of PAYBACK. For two decades, PAYBACK has worked by applying its rule of offering tangible added value for customers and partners. And with 680 partners that reward 31 million customers in Germany with points for their shopping, it does so successfully every day.