RALEIGH — Malls have lost customers to both the convenience and lower prices of the superstores, but the malls are trying to lure customers back in with a new type of reward card.
The Mall VIP Visa credit card is being offered at North Hills Mall in Raleigh and Cary Towne Center. When you buy something at participating malls, you earn 2 percent of all card purchases, and 1 percent when not at the malls. Visa then sends you VIP Dollars, redeemable at any of the affiliated malls.
Participating malls have a variety of perks available to anyone who has one of the VIP Visa cards. Some of those perks are reserved parking, free gift wrap all year and free stroller rental.
Shopping centers across the country have banded together to offer this card in part to win back traffic they have lost to the so-called big box retailers. Mall merchants believe this gives them an edge over stores not affiliated with the VIP card.
The mall VIP cards should get a good workout with the holiday shopping season fast approaching.
In two months more than 2500 people have signed up for the VIP card at the North Hills Mall alone. By December about 700 malls will participate in the VIP card program.
In the Triangle, malls participating include: North Hills Mall, Cary Towne Center and Golden East Crossing Mall.
Reporter: Len Besthoff