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Visa offers deals through iPhone app

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Visa released an iPhone app December 14 that directs users to nearby discounts and deals by making use of the phone's GPS technology. When a user logs into the free app, they can browse offers from the 50 merchants that Visa has signed up so far, locate nearby retailers or ATMs, search by category (e.g., entertainment, food & drink) and store offers they're interested in within the app.

Participating retailers include Papa John's Pizza, Hard Rock Cafe, Holiday Inn, Cold Water Creek, Jos. A. Bank and Zales, among others.

Monitise, a UK company, helped Visa develop the app.

The screenshots that accompany the app promo in the iTunes store make it appear user friendly, but to activate the app you have to enter a whole lot of information that could prove a stumbling block for anyone who is less than a 1000% Visa fan. This includes a Visa card number, expiration and security code; mobile phone number, name, billing address and e-mail address. Visa says it needs this information to coordinate the program, including crediting your Visa account and determining eligibility, but in an age of Groupon (and its number of local competitors) where anyone can participate with a few short clicks, Visa's app seems unnecessarily overwrought.

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