A new rewards program launched this week in Missoula and it's the first kind in the state.
Missoula Federal Credit Union is rewarding its customers for swiping their credit or debit card at a local merchant.
The system is called, “Buzz Points” and it’s already in places like New York and Texas.
"It's a hyper local program. You earn points wherever you use your card but if you go to a local merchant, you earn more points and if you go to a preferred local merchant, you earn even more points," said Senior Vice President with the Missoula Federal Credit Union Joni Walker.
Walker’s looking for businesses to sign up to be preferred merchants. Those merchants can make special promotions to Buzz Points members at the credit union and bring in traffic to their own business.
"It's great advertising for the merchants. I don't see how it could hurt. You know, they’re getting emails or promotions directing people towards us," said The Sweets Barn Downtown Owner Missi Nordberg.
But Nordberg has one question.
"I would like to know more about it and what it involves and the cost," said Nordberg.
NBC Montana found out you have to pay to become a preferred merchant and offer promotions to members.
"What kind of fee? You know, how much, how often? Is it a one-time fee? Is it monthly?" said Small Wonders Partner Gerry Olson.
That monthly fee costs’ anywhere from $50 to $150.
NBC Montana went to the Orange Street Food Farm and found out through the credit union that they are the first confirmed preferred merchant in Missoula for the Buzz Points program.
"I can't see this program failing here in Missoula, our community is so big on local," said Orange Street Food Farm Floor Manager Vanessa Hendrix.
Not only is this program new for the Missoula Federal Credit Union but the Buzz Points system is new for the Orange Street Food Farm and they're expecting plenty of competition.
When you sign up to be a local merchant, you get to track your shoppers' demographics.
“They have a way for us to gauge, I guess sort of the demographic of Missoula and where people are shopping and we can sort of gauge our marketing based on that," said Hendrix.
The Orange Street Food Farm signed up for 6 months and it’s costing them $50 dollars per month so far. They want to see how the program works out for their business.
NBC Montana broke down some of the statistics.
The Missoula Federal Credit Union reports customers who sign-up for the program bring in an average of $8 a month more per customer to the bank.
Backers also point out that up to 58% of local businesses profits are estimated to stay in the community compared to a maximum of 33% for a national business.