New mobile loyalty app wants to tap out competition

There have been a lot of mobile loyalty programs popping up around the city - all with the aim to make your life simpler and your wallet a little roomier. But new kid on the block, AvidTap, hopes to take out the competition by letting you earn rewards and pay for products all with just one tap.

AvidTap is well poised to be a leader in the mobile loyalty app space. The team, made up of former Well.ca employees, has made some technology choices which makes their solution available for all phones - both smart and dumb - and they have already managed to signup over 40 partners around the city while still in beta. On top of all this, the app doesn't just want to replace your loyalty cards, but your gift cards too.

The first point of difference for AvidTap is in their use of technology. Where some of the others in the space have focused on the use of QR codes, or interaction with an iPad - AvidTap has chosen to use a newer technology called NFC (near field communication) which lets users "tap in" at participating locations to earn their points.

While NFC is convenient, it isn't widespread with only Android and newer BlackBerry devices supporting it. For those devices that don't support NFC (like iPhones or older features phones), AvidTap has implemented a "tapper box" which produces a code for users to either enter into the AvidTap app or to text in.

But where AvidTap really differs from the rest of the pack is in its mission to replace the plastic gift card. Users can purchase virtual prepaid cards from participating locations. The purchase of a gift card is just like any other but instead of receiving a physical card which you need to remember to bring with you, the money is made available from the AvidTap app.

Right now the process for both the merchant on the payment piece is a pretty onerous one requiring the merchant to send the funds by email and the user to attach the funds to their app using a code. The AvidTap team is already working on ways to smooth this out as they continue to make improvements for their product.

AvidTap already has more locations on board than some of their competitors which puts them at a competitive advantage in the race for market share in this space. They have already signed on 40 partners with over 50 merchant locations. What could tip the scale for them is a deal with a major Fashion brand in Canada which should be happening this summer.

You can try tapping in with AvidTap at a wide range of places around the city including CafĂŠ Pamenar in Kensington Market, Tea Shop 168 in North York, Super Food Eateries on Adelaide Street West and all 5 La Mexicana restaurants.

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