PAYBACK was created and developed by Alexander Rittweger (born in 1965), who began his career as a business consultant. He managed a strategic project for Deutsche Lufthansa, which involved consultations regarding Lufthansa’s Miles and More program. The spectacular success of this frequent flyer scheme inspired Alexander to create a multi-partner program with the participation of Germany’s largest retail and service companies. In 1998, together with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Roland Berger, he established Loyalty Partner GmbH, initially employing three people and having no investment capital.
The first goal was to find the right partners for the PAYBACK program: Companies with an established market presence, attractive to customers doing their day-to-day shopping. For the program to operate effectively, both from the members’ and the service providers’ standpoints, two issues were of particular importance. First, partners had to operate in various sectors of the offline and online market. Secondly, all participating partner brands had to share the same ethical values as PAYBACK.
In Germany, the PAYBACK program was launched in the year 2000, and soon became very popular. Within just one month, more than one million customers joined the program, and PAYBACK became an undisputed market leader. Currently, 35 retail companies and more than 600 online partners participate in the German program, and the partner portfolio keeps expanding. In response to customer expectations, the card has been upgraded and enhanced with debit and credit card functionality. Both versions are very popular in Germany.
On average, program members save about USD 280 per year. The partners in Germany are leading companies from various market sectors, such as Apollo-Optik (optical company), Aral (petrol station chain), Dänisches Bettenlager (furniture vendor), dm-drogerie markt (drugstore chain), Galeria Kaufhof (department store chain), Linda Apotheken (pharmacy chain) and Real (hypermarket chain) as well as companies that operate online, such as Amazon, Apple, Dell, eBay and Sony.
Poland was the first international market targeted by PAYBACK; the program was launched in September 2009. Within six months of the launch, the number of active PAYBACK cards exceeded five million, and now one in every six Polish households uses one. In June 2010, PAYBACK has taken over a controlling stake in India's leading loyalty programme "i-mint". One year later, PAYBACK India sets out to transform how India shops. And today, even Mexican and Italien customers can collect points with PAYBACK!