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Contraptions From The Future That Will Change Your Life: Part 2: Paycloud, Your Mobile Wallet

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Recently we sat down with the folks from Paycloud, a new mobile wallet program being launched in test pockets in Andersonville, Bucktown and West Lincoln Park by suburban-based TransNational. They launched and began phase 1 in July, and are now getting ready to start phase 3, which is a national launch -before this happens we wanted to understand this system -and we want you to too, because it's the future. Paycloud takes only a few seconds to understand and only a second to use.

From our initial point of understanding Paycloud, which was designed by a tech company, Sparkbase, this seemed like one of the smartest ideas budding in the mobile wallet field -eliminating the bulk of your wallet. We're accessory-minded so we love wallets, but afterall, we hate loading up our collectors editions Comme des Garcons with too much plastic, on top of that, coffee punch cards (ahem King Cafe), and our LoyalTea card (Argo Tea), plus business cards. Ideally, in the future we'd like to eliminate our credit cards too.

The free app, available in the Apple App Store, Paycloud is the first mobile wallet built around a robust loyalty and gift card technology platform and works today with over 50 million iPhones and Android smartphones. The app allows you to earn loyalty points connect with offers businesses already have, view informational offers and tips, redeem offers similarly to Foursquare, and view daily promotions like GrouponNow. On this same note, to start a coffee card or to "unlock a special" (aka) a reward of a loyalty program, you only need to open the app and hold it up to the Paycloud terminal.

But what really sold us on this app is the redemption aspect for gift cards. This is the first feature that sets this app on becoming the one app to replace your wallet- you can use gift card credit and pay for purchases through Paycloud. In the Paycloud app you can see all of your rewards and credit from a single place, no calling sketch 1-800 numbers, no logging onto a site to see the status of your balance - its all real time results. So this is pretty darn close to eliminating most of the contents in your wallet as soon as you don't have to pay for purchases using gift card credit and this can link directly to your personal checking or credit.

According to the The Gartner Group this technology won't gain widespread consumer adoption until 2015 because of the difficulties of starting a mobile wallet system and linking to a merchant's credit card system. Until that time the Paycloud system functions using an an encrypted ultrasonic signal emitted from the phone’s speaker called Zoosh (when you launch the app, the Zoosh signal is transmitted to the Paycloud terminal).

Businesses using this app for gift & loyalty programs now range from clothing to coffee, The Red Balloon Co. to Green Genes, from Bananas Foster to The Coffee Studio. Response has been steadily good from these businesses and the slew of other early adopters aside from a few Zoosh malfunctions at the coffee studio. We're anxious to see the turnout of phase 3 set to happen on October 27th and find out how the rest of the nation adopts the app that will eventually replace your wallet entirely.
· Paycloud [Official Site]


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