Verizon has invested $400,000 into a small startup called CardStar according to The Wall Street Journal. CardStar, who’s based out of Boston, has already received a $1 million investment round from 3 different venture groups, and has over 700,000 users, is a service that works on Android, BlackBerry and iPhone which enables people to store their loyalty and membership card information on their mobile phone. Those who shop at the same handful of stores, plus have an access card to get into your local gym, know the hassle involved with carrying a wallet loaded to the gills with plastic cards.
With Verizon’s investment in CardStar, America’s largest wireless operator is possibly looking to offer the service to their customers as a convenience that they can either charge for or offer as a benefit that’s exclusive to Verizon customers.
“The carriers have long been looking at the mobile wallet idea, especially mobile payments,” said Andy Miller, CardStar CEO. “But mobile payment is not here yet. So, what else is in someone’s wallet? A lot of different cards, and the common thread is loyalty cards.”
If you’re one of those people who like to carry around a Baskin-Robbins card that offers you a free ice cream after you fill your tubby ass 10 times at other Baskin-Robbins stores then be excited. Be very excited. The other group of people who this could serve are the kind of folks who exhaustively go through weekly circulars, clipping coupons to save every last penny on whatever goods happen to be marked down.
Shouldn’t these type of reward programs work via NFC? Oh wait, I forgot, there are no mobile phones on the market with NFC. At least not in America and Europe. Maybe we should learn something from the Japanese other than their work ethic and healthy cuisine?
[Via: NFC World]