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Mobile loyalty card aggregator CardStar integrates LBS via Foursquare

Mobile loyalty card aggregation platform CardStar is targeting early adopters with the introduction of check-in functionality via location-based service Foursquare.

Consumers who store their loyalty card information on the platform’s iPhone application can now automatically check-in at merchant locations on Foursquare whenever they use CardStar during purchases. The objective of the integration was to create a better experience for existing users, as well as winning over new users looking to use their loyalty cards and Foursquare simultaneously.

“Users give us feedback all the time,” said Andy Miller, CEO of CardStar, Hartford, CT. “Some wanted a favorite places feature and others love to check-in.

“Our goal with our current user base is to be filling their needs,” he said. “And, we can attract new users because we have this [check-in] functionality – the convenience factor if you will.

“If I can check-in automatically when I shop, that saves me from having to switch to a separate app.”

CardStar applications are currently available on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms.

Foursquare integration
CardStar’s coupon aggregation platform lets uses enter their loyalty program numbers from businesses, and generates a mobile loyalty card that they use instead of a physical card.

Here is a screen grab of a loyalty card on the CardStar iPhone application:

All the information is stored on the native device so that users can access their digital loyalty cards even if they do not have mobile service.

CardStar says it hopes to improve the application experience for current users, while also attracting a new crowd of early adopters to the platform.

“We have a different demographic than location-based services, who at this point attract early adopters,” Mr. Miller said. “Our crowd tends to be more mainstream – a mix of soccer moms, early adopters and people into saving money and being green.”

CardStar developed Foursquare integration using the location-based service’s application programming interface.

The check-in functionality will be available on CardStar version 3.0 for the iPhone, which will soon be available in Apple’s App Store.

Users will be able to check-in to retail locations on Foursquare whenever they use the corresponding loyalty cards to make purchases, simply by syncing their Foursquare accounts to the CardStar application.

While CardStar is currently only releasing the Foursquare functionality for its iPhone application, it plans to extend the feature to the Android and BlackBerry platforms.

CardStar addressing privacy concerns
CardStar is also protecting the identities of its platform’s users with the addition of an anonymous database system called CardStar Connect.

The new privacy feature generates an anonymous user ID when consumers store their loyalty card information on the platform, so that it is only accessible with the use of a private PIN number.

In addition to allaying privacy concerns, the introduction of CardStar Connect means that users can now access their loyalty card information across multiple devices.

“Our application has been updated such that we have a lot of privacy concerns – both from users as well as merchants we deal with,” said Andy Miller, CEO of CardStar, Hartford, CT. “We don’t have any right to know about a lot of information about cardholders.

“We have been really cautious with privacy issues, making sure we do everything in an anonymous fashion, and to facilitate that we created CardStar Connect,” he said. “Now, we can back up your card database anonymously in the cloud.

“This lets you sync from one device to another, and enables us to have all sorts of new services in the platform.”

Final Take
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York