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CardStar to distribute Groupon location-based mobile deals

CardStar Inc. is extending the reach its mobile loyalty platform by distributing Groupon’s daily deals to its 1.3 million iPhone application users in more than 160 cities.

CardStar, which claims to be the first mobile loyalty application to integrate with Groupon’s open API, is has updated its iPhone application first, but plans to extend the daily-deal service to its other platforms as well. CardStar also has applications for the iPad, Google’s Android, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, with Nokia’s Symbian on the way.

“Our goal is to push coupons and deals to consumers based on their loyalty-program memberships, only providing offers for the places we know they shop often, rather than targeting by demographics,” said Danny Espinoza, Washington-based chief technology officer at CardStar. “We also want to fold in any other type of relationship they might have with mobile commerce services, so we’re integrating with Groupon’s open API.

“It is a great infrastructure to provide metadata on location-based deals,” he said. “We can connect CardStar customers with hyper-local merchants that we do not have access to because they do not have plastic card-based loyalty programs.

“When you click on Groupon within our iPhone app, you get access to local deals near you.”

Groupon features a daily deal on activities, landmarks, retailers and restaurants in more than 500 markets worldwide. It delivers more than 650 daily deals globally.

CardStar is a software company that develops mobile applications that perpetuate the use of loyalty cards and mobile coupons. It claims to have more than 1.5 million active users in all 50 U.S. states and more than 180 countries worldwide.

Mobile local deals
Through the virtual Groupon card accessible via CardStar’s iPhone application, users can access daily deals offered by national and local retailers specific to the user’s current location.

The Groupon card is an extension of CardStar’s mobile couponing feature designed to provide local businesses and merchants with another touch point to reach shoppers in their area.

CardStar is branching into new forms of loyalty via partnerships with services such as Honest Discounts and Groupon in order to give users access to savings outside of traditional retailer rewards programs.

Mr. Espinoza said that he sees bringing deal services such as Groupon into CardStar’s mobile platforms as a major stepping stone towards making the mobile wallet a reality.

“With the Groupon integration, we wanted to take it a step further to make sure it fits the brands, with actual deal information and eye-catching photos,” Mr. Espinoza said. “The big next step is looking for mobile commerce systems like Groupon and folding them into CardStar to consolidate consumers’ entire shopping experience.

“Mobile couponing is a really exciting space, with the development and the rise of a lot of different businesses and services taking advantage of mobile and providing mobile commerce, loyalty and couponing,” he said. “Big players are moving to create a mobile wallet, from Isis and Google’s NFC push to rumors of the iPhone with NFC.

“That will propel a lot of consolidation in this space, and as more mobile commerce services converge onto the phone, the big guys will consolidate and provide more branded services for payments via your phone, which will include coupons, loyalty and daily deals.”

Final Take
CardStar for iPhone v3.2