A picture of the new foursquare/Amex service which links an Amex card to a user's foursquare account and gives automatic deals for local merchants.
A picture of the new foursquare/Amex service which links an Amex card to a user's foursquare account and gives automatic deals for local merchants. Foursquare

These days, it seems everyone is getting in the localized deals game. The latest craze is linking automatic discounts with a real life item.

Google launched Google Wallet, which is a mobile platform that automatically can pay for and give discounts on real world items using near field communication (NFC) technology. Now, American Express and foursquare are jointly launching a similar service using Amex's plastic credit cards and foursquare's localized deals service. The service was actually piloted for a few months and will run nationwide.

It allows American Express holders to link foursquare to the card and automatically redeem merchant deals without any coupons, special codes or NFC technology. The service uses American Express Smart Offer APIs and the following website, sync.americanexpress.com/foursquare, to link the card with the foursquare account.

Once the cards are linked, they can take advantage of any special on foursquare. All they have to do is check in to the merchant using their mobile device and the special is loaded automatically.

Our national launch with foursquare reflects our continued focus on digital innovation aimed at bringing value to cardmembers and merchants where they're already engaged and focused, Ed Gilligan, vice chairman at American Express said in a statement.

Big name retailers such as H&M and Sports Authority have already signed on. The companies have also gotten deals from various New York City restaurants. The first deal with H&M allows users who spend $75 to get ten bucks back. American Express expects more local and national retailers to join in the coming months.

The success of our pilot just a few months ago proved that American Express' digital capabilities and foursquare's expanding application created something extremely powerful. We're thrilled to take this partnership to the next level. For us, this is just the beginning.

The launch follows Google's introduction of its Google Wallet service. Google teamed up with Citi Bank, Mastercard, First Data, Sprint and numerous retailers to roll out a contactless NFC based cell phone payment platform. That service allows people to pay for things, get deals and use gift cards all at once.

Partnering with American Express to offer Specials to their millions of cardmembers on a nationwide basis not only allows us to provide a completely seamless redemption experience to both users and merchants, it also enables merchants to really measure the success of their offline marketing efforts with foursquare, Dennis Crowley, chief executive at foursquare said in a statement.

Despite the safety uncertainty regarding such technology, many analysts are convinced mobile payments are here to stay.

Tim Armstrong, a malware researcher at Kaspersky Labs, said, It's unavoidable at this point. It's going to happen with Google, Citibank and a few others behind it. It's not a matter of if, but when.

Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna