Quidco iPhone app offers cashback for check-ins
Quidco have launched a free iPhone app (soon to be available on Android) that applies the practice of cashback to your local high street spending.
We'll get the disclaimer out the way immediately - Bitterwallet is part of the HUKD family of blogs; Paul Nikkel is a founder at HUKD and also a founder at Quidco.com. Regardless, if you're the frugal sort then it's worth having a play with this app, because it's packing a lot of features not seen elsewhere.
If you're already registered with Quidco, you can sign in immediately - if not, you'll need to create an account. Once signed in, there are three ways to earn or save money with the app;
• find nearby deals and offers at local retailers and restaurants
• register a credit or debit card and earn cashback on in-store purchases
• earn cashback for simply checking in at selected stores
There are dozens of apps that use geo-location to find offers and deals in your neighbourhood, but it's the other two features that set the app apart. Being able to earn cashback for physical transactions is an enormous boon, and cashback for check-ins isn't something we've seen before - attaching a monetary value to an activity sometimes considered pointless will get plenty of consumers interested.
There are limitations; the app won't replace use of the Quidco website, even though it tries. You can browse online cashback deals using the app, but then you're diverted to the website of the retailer in question. Unfortunately, most retailer sites aren't optimised for mobile phones, and trying to order anything through a fully-blown website on a mobile device is beyond tedious. A good idea would be a dedicated button to place a bookmark on your Quidco account, so you can easily find an offer once you're on a PC.
It'll also be interesting to see how much abuse the paid check-ins receive - while plenty of users may incorporate the check-ins into their shopping routine, there are bound to be others who spend their days checking into shops to rack up a free money without spending a penny in them. That said, the check-in radii are very tight - you can't check into a store from your bed like you often can with Foursquare or Facebook. Perhaps the lure of cash will generate enough additional foot traffic to make it worthwhile for retailers.
As an app, it's well designed and simple to use; maps and listings are clear although there are a few bugs to work out, with information being clipped or not displayed properly in places. Above all, it's offering something genuinely different to the local deal features offered by Facebook, Foursquare and Groupon; if it can convert its web users to mobile and avoid losing money to check-in abuse, this app could quickly establish itself as a worthy accessory for consumers.