There are plenty of companies that are trying to digitize the loyalty card space. Punchd, which was just acquired by Google, lets customers accrue digital versions of buy-10-get-1-free cards. PlacePop also offers a similar application. Now SparkBase, one of the largest processors of traditional private label gift and loyalty card programs to the financial and merchant services industries, is launching its mobile version of loyalty cards.
Paycloud eliminates loyalty cards, allowing customers the option of waving a smart phone at a participating merchant’s countertop sensor to check in, redeem rewards and coupons, and track their loyalty account status. Launching initially at 55 local Chicago merchants, Paycloud is accesible via designated iPhone and Android apps.
SparkBase has integrated Zoosh, a NFC technology that doesn’t integrate a chip, into Paycloud. Any terminals or POS system that currently integrates with SparkBase’s processing network will be able to accept Zoosh-enabled transmissions by plugging in a sensor that retails for under $50.
It’s actually similar in functionality to Square’s recently launched Card Case. But Square’s feature is attached to the credit card reader that merchants use for transactions.
Paycloud could have scalability issues. The company claims that there will be more than 200,000 businesses participating nationwide in the Paycloud network in the next year. But scaling to this level is easier said than done.