A smartphone app that connects with Eftpos and credit cards so users automatically earn rewards points when they make a purchase is about to be launched in the United States and Vietnam.
Wellington twins Matt and Brady Thomas, 26, first developed the technology for Reward Junkie as a daily deal smartphone application under the name Deal Junkie, but found too many limitations in that crowded market.
"Those deals are all about winning customers, but businesses need to get them back," Matt Thomas said.
"We were really passionate about doing something that helped businesses beyond just getting customers in the door."
Reward Junkie works by benefiting both users and businesses.
Consumers earn rewards points every time they buy at a Reward Junkie partner and can see how many points they have by looking at the app. With GPS functionality, it helps users find places to eat, drink and shop near their current location by listing how many metres away Reward Junkie partners are.
Businesses benefit by encouraging customers to come back to earn and redeem rewards points, and through gaining the customer profile and shopping habits data Reward Junkie captures.
Security is not an issue because consumers only give the first and last few digits on their cards without surrendering any expiry dates, and the information is held on a secure server.
The application, which is free to download, is used by 5000 people at 70 Wellington retailers registered as rewards partners, including bars Mishmosh, General Practitioner, Little Beer Quarter and St Johns Bar.
"We wanted to create something like Fly Buys for the smaller guys, and make it a lot more interactive as well. That is quite a passive scheme where you have to carry around a card and pull it out if you want to but this is automatic,” Matt Thomas said.
The brothers are in talks with some bigger businesses about white-labelling the application's software so existing loyalty schemes and large retail chains can have their own apps using Reward Junkie's technology.
The Eftpos and credit card linking system launched on August 31, but the app operated previously under a system where users scanned QR codes at retailers to earn points, which only worked well for small purchases.
This system is more easily integrated with other businesses such as clothing retailers.
Businesses decide the value of their points. One restaurant might give a free side of fries with every $30 purchased, while another could offer 25 per cent off any burger bought with 10 points earned through previous purchases.
Within the past month Reward Junkie signed a contract with a reseller, who is taking the application into Vietnam and the enormous United States market, but it is early days for details of that arrangement.
The Thomas brothers, who live together, play pool together and used to work together at software company Provoke Solutions, hope to have 2000 merchants and 400,000 users signed up to Reward Junkie within a year.
"New Zealand has been a nice test bed," Matt Thomas said.
"Wellington is awesome because businesses are really receptive to new things and Wellingtonians are quite tech savvy so they have these smartphones and are willing to give the app a go."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Are you concerned that the US could be spying on you?Related story: Cause for concern over US email spying
Scary games scare the crap out of me
TGIF: Nuclear Submarine edition