August 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

Mobile tech vendor seeks to ease the strain on wallets—literally

Many consumers’ wallets and purses are busting at the seams with loyalty cards from all the merchants they patronize. Cerado has launched an iPhone app that enables users to use images of their loyalty cards instead of the cards themselves.

Many consumers’ wallets and purses are bulging with loyalty cards, membership cards, credit cards and other pieces of plastic. It seems sometimes one could use a second wallet or handbag just for the ever-growing number of cards.

Mobile technology vendor Cerado Inc. believes there’s a market for a niche mobile solution to ease management and carrying of loyalty cards. It has introduced Scanaroo, an iPhone application that enables consumers to take close-up pictures of loyalty cards and store and organize the images. The goal is not to have to carry loyalty cards at all, using the iPhone, instead.

After a card has been photographed and stored in the Scanaroo library, a consumer can read the number of the card to a cashier or, in some cases, let the cashier scan the card’s bar code image directly on the smartphone. Some types of bar code readers can scan from a computer-based image; others cannot.

“Mobile phones and Scanaroo today do for loyalty and other cards what the iPod did years ago for CDs,” says Christopher Carfi, CEO of Cerado. “It used to be you’d grab a half-dozen CDs on your way out and hope you had enough and the best ones for the day. Then the iPod came along and you could have every CD you owned on one, small mobile device. The iPod was transformational technology. And so are mobile phones. In this case, it’s Scanaroo carrying all your cards on one, small mobile device.”

Cerado is running paid search campaigns to promote the new app, as well as using social networks Facebook and Twitter to generate word of mouth.

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