Swarm now lets you use your coin stash to buy perks

Swarm, Foursquare’s app to let you check into locations, today launched a new feature that makes it possible to finally spend those coins you’ve been amassing. Starting today, you can exchange coins for perks.

I'm writing this at TechCrunch Disrupt, so it's only apt that my highest-scoring check-in happened here! #CoinRich

I’m writing this at TechCrunch Disrupt, so it’s only apt that my highest-scoring check-in happened here! #CoinRich

Users can still earn coins by checking into venues, with bonuses for checking in with friends, collecting a number of the same types of venues (say, parks, bars or beaches) and various other activity in the app. What’s new is that you can finally start spending those coins.

The company has teamed up with a small number of companies for its launch, but is rapidly expanding the functionality. To fuel adoption of the perks, Swarm uses your location to show nearby available perks. Great for advertisers on the platform to try to guide footfall and nifty for customers who want to cash in on their Swarm obsessions.

The way it works is that you spot a perk you want, check into the venue and you’ll be presented with a scratch card. Scratch it and the coin cost is revealed. Accept, and you’re good to go — show your screen to the venue to redeem your perk.

The new app — version 4.7, released today — also introduces a trivia game about your activity. I’m already looking forward to¬†snarky questions about when I last¬†went to the gym. (Spoiler: Lol.)

Foursquare came under heavy criticism when it split its app into Foursquare and Swarm as two separate apps just over a year ago, but the strategy appears to be paying off. Foursquare became a TripAdvisor-like “where can I find coffee near me” or “what’s a good sushi restaurant around here” app. Swarm transformed itself into a more socially oriented app. It still feeds its data into Foursquare, of course, but it’s now more focused on hanging out with your friends or facilitating serendipitous meetups when an old buddy is in town. The company reports it has had more than 10 billion check-ins in its history and is seeing a whopping 9 million check-ins on Swarm daily.

The Foursquare app itself also received an update, which completely overhauled its search functionality.