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Verizon invests in mobile loyalty and coupons specialist CardStar

Verizon Ventures has invested US$400,000 in mobile loyalty card and promotions start-up CardStar, The Wall Street Journal reports:

CardStar is just one of many companies with an app to organize membership and loyalty cards. But the company differentiates by also offering a back-end system that functions like a portal for merchants. Merchants, no matter small, can launch their own promotions, discounts and loyalty programs with CardStar, alerting users to the deals via the application.

CardStar has 2,000 merchants — from major airlines and chain stores to mom-and-pop operations — signed on to use the system. Some of these merchants have point-of-sale scanners that can read bar codes, and others don’t. The merchant portal offers various other options for merchants with low-tech point-of-sale systems.

The investment follows the news last month that Verizon Wireless has formed a joint venture with AT&T and T-Mobile to introduce NFC services in the US. The joint venture has partnered with Discover Financial Services and Barclays for payments services, but observers believe the companies’ main focus is on the creation of a next generation advertising platform that would tie together consumers’ transaction histories and their current locations to deliver highly targeted location based mobile advertising solutions.

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