In a Nutshell: With so many credit card reward options available today, it can be difficult for consumers to determine which rewards program best suits their needs. Kudos helps consumers stay informed of the plethora of reward options available. Its Boost feature increases the credit card rewards consumers can earn. Kudos also recommends which credit cards may align better with a consumer’s spending habits. It uses 256-bit encryption to keep stored data secure and private. Kudos works within browsers to provide users an enhanced, seamless shopping experience.
Increasing inflation rates can motivate shoppers to seek discounts and seasonal sales to help take the sting out of the rising costs of goods and services. Credit card rewards provide consumers with savings opportunities above and beyond discounts offered by retailers.
Tikue Anazodo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kudos, a company helping consumers maximize the credit card rewards they earn on each online shopping purchase.
In the late 2010s, Anazodo worked for Google where his responsibilities included helping to scale Google’s mobile payment service, Google Pay. Anazodo said traditional digital wallets at that time were much more focused on merchants than on consumers, even though the wallets positioned themselves as a tool to aid consumers.
“Product managers who work at firms that build and develop consumer wallets spend 95% of their time trying to figure out how to integrate their products with merchant interfaces,” Anazodo said. “We wanted to flip that script and start with the consumer. We focus on finding out the areas where consumers can truly derive value from their wallets and purchases.”
Anazodo said Kudos doesn’t require any merchant integrations. Instead, Kudos works via a browser extension that is enabled to function on websites that sell products and services to consumers.
Anazodo said there are two types of credit card users — those who carry a balance each month and are thus primarily concerned with interest rates and those who pay their credit card balance in full each month.
“Those who pay off their balances each month are often more focused on credit card rewards,” Anazodo said. “There are over one billion credit cards deployed in the U.S. today, and approximately 70% of them offer rewards. We focus on developing solutions for those users who use credit card reward programs, and we’ve drastically simplified their rewards-based shopping experience.”
Kudos Boosts Rewards at Select Retailers
Kudos partners with 15,000 merchants, including popular retailers Dell, Sephora, and Walgreens. Anazodo said Kudos’ merchant partners pay Kudos commissions when consumers make a purchase using Kudos’ service. The merchants pay this commission, Anazodo said, because merchants recognize that shoppers have a higher probability of purchasing an item when the transaction triggers a financial incentive, or reward, for the consumer.
Consumers activating Kudos’ Boost feature when making a credit card purchase see their credit card rewards grow. Boost enables consumers to earn two rewards — their regular credit card rewards and matched rewards from Kudos. For example, consumers whose credit card offers cash back of 2% on purchases will see their rewards double to 4% with Boost.
“We don’t push people to make purchases they weren’t already considering making,” Anazodo explained. “Rather, we emphasize that if you’re going to make a purchase, you may as well earn rewards for it. The price of rewards is already baked into what consumers are buying, so why not get what you’re paying for? If you’re making a purchase without a rewards credit card, you’re essentially funding someone else’s rewards.”
Kudos users can further amplify their savings by referring friends and family to join the Boost program. After enrolling, users can refer friends and family online. Boost users who refer three participating users per quarter enjoy Kudos’ highest level of reward status. Boost rewards do not expire as long as users are active. Rewards earned through Boost accumulate, and consumers can redeem their rewards for gift cards.
“We’re looking for ways to make points redeemable outside of gift cards,” Anazodo said. “For instance, I could imagine a scenario where we partner with a credit card issuer so that users can transfer their rewards to be redeemed for airline tickets.”
Consumer Security and Privacy is Prioritized
For consumers with multiple credit cards and access to various rewards programs, it can be time-consuming to ascertain which card will yield the optimal rewards for which purchase.
Kudos helps users determine which credit card to use for each purchase. Consumers who’ve shared their credit card information with Kudos can allow Kudos to calculate which of their cards they recommend using on a specific site.
Kudos provides a card comparison tool on its website, where users can search and compare the characteristics of over 1,900 credit cards.
Anazodo said Kudos’ credit card discovery tools can provide users personalized recommendations for new cards. Kudos leverages information consumers share, including spending habits across different categories, credit cards they already own, credit scores, and preferences for interest rates and annual fees. From there, Kudos recommends cards that may give the consumer better rewards than their current cards.
“We not only make suggestions, but we quantify the impact for consumers,” Anazodo explained. “We show the user how their cards compare to other card options on the market, and we show them the value they could get from opening and using a new card. We also show the continuous value of any suggested new card, so consumers are aware of benefits that can expire over time, such as introductory or sign-up bonuses.”
Anazodo said customer security and privacy are of the utmost importance to Kudos. It encrypts customer credentials with 256-bit encryption, which, Anazodo noted, is the same level of encryption major banks use.
“We only track information from shopping sites,” Anazodo said. “And we don’t sell data to any third parties or use data in a way that would feel like a violation of privacy. Ideally, every time Kudos collects customer information, we are able to provide something of value back to the consumer.”
Kudos Simplifies the Online Shopping Experience
Kudos provides an onboarding process for new customers, including a demonstration of how to use its tools and services. After onboarding, Kudos presents users with options that, if implemented, can simplify their shopping experience.
Anazodo said customers may wish to enable an autofill option so they don’t have to interrupt their online shopping to search for the card details required to complete a purchase.
“Our onboarding process is very straightforward,” Anazodo said. “Post-onboarding, we continue to communicate the value of our services in a very clear way. For example, customers don’t have to store their credit card information with us if they’re uncomfortable doing so. But we’ve found that people more often do choose to share their card information as they learn to trust us and see how great their experience with us is.”
Kudos’ blog provides readers with credit card news and tips to get the most out of their cards. The blog also highlights savings and reward opportunities for cardholders.
Kudos delivers a customer experience that is as unobtrusive as possible. Anazodo said customers using Kudos’ browser extension solution don’t have to remember to use Kudos each time they shop.
“After enablement, Kudos will automatically appear on website checkout pages, showing customers which credit card they should use for the purchase and auto-filling the credit card’s details, including the card’s CVV code,” Anazodo said. “We want to be with our customers as they make a purchase instead of forcing them to remember Kudos each time. We aim to provide our customers an experience that is as spotless and seamless as possible.”