CardStar iPad application branches out to coupons

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CardStar's first iPad application, which could be available for downloading as soon as this week, is a shift from its mobile phone predecessors. Instead of serving as simply a loyalty-card consolidation utility, the iPad app will give marketers the opportunity to share coupons and offers with their members.

CardStar for the iPad is awaiting review by Apple and should be available for downloading this week, according to the company.

CardStar said August 31 that it has partnered with Zavers, a mobile coupon provider. As a result, CardStar users can now access coupons for grocery store chains such as A&P, The Food Emporium, Pathmark and Waldbaum's.

“This is really the direction that we're taking the entire company and the product,” said Danny Espinoza, chief technology officer at CardStar. “Paramount to that is establishing these partnerships with third parties that have services that make sense in the mobile commerce realm and getting those inside of CardStar.”

The start-up is in talks with other mobile coupon providers, Espinoza said.

CardStar plans to add coupons and offers to its iPhone, Android and BlackBerry applications. An iPhone app update is planned for late September, while Android and BlackBerry releases are expected before the end of the year.

CardStar users can digitize their loyalty cards by entering the cards' numbers into the app, which recreates a barcode that cashiers can scan.

Loyalty club members may view coupons and offers using the iPad app. Users can drag the coupon to their card. The discount automatically is applied at the point of sale when club members present their digital or actual loyalty card.

“Since we have this dedicated user base and since people are using CardStar in the store, we realized that this is an interesting avenue for creating a new channel, kind of a marketing channel, between users and the places they like to shop,” Espinoza said.

Since launching in January 2009, CardStar has been downloaded 2 million times and has 700,000 active users, according to the company.

Verizon invested $400,000 in the Boston-based start-up in August.

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