NEW YORK (MainStreet) —The well-seasoned ad slogan of "membership has its benefits" can spur us to sign-up, buy-in and join now, but have you ever made a purchase, bought a ticket, paid admission – all at full price – to moan after-the-fact with a forehead-slapping, "Geez, I had a discount for that."
Between all the alumni groups, professional associations, buyers' clubs and credit card offers, who can keep up with the discounts we are entitled to? Now you won't have to miss another money saving moment. A handful of discount-driven apps can help you squeeze every buck for all it's worth. Most of us know about Groupon, Foursquare and Google Shopping, but there is a new generation of bargain-hunting apps being born -- including Bync, Key Ring, Larky and Zoomingo -- all promising to help us save money, gain insider perks and never miss a markdown.
Bync : Sync the Discounts
"I had the idea for after getting frustrated with the offers I was receiving from daily deal sites," says Ryan Bales, founder and CEO of Bync. "The majority of these offers ended up in the trash because they weren't based on my interests, but rather, my location. In other words, just because there is a spa down the street, doesn't mean I'll get any value out of a spa offer. I wanted to create an app that knew the stores I shopped at the most and provided me with offers that I'll actually use."
According to Bales, Bync offers users relevant discounts by securely syncing the app to your bank and credit cards, discovering where you shop the most. Bync then sends you alerts when your favorite stores have a discount you may be interested in.
"The really cool aspect of Bync is that since it's synced to your bank, every time you shop at a new store, it will automatically start providing you with offers from that store," Bales says. "The result is that users save money on the things they buy every day, rather than being constantly hassled to buy things they wouldn't normally buy."
Key Ring: Seeking an End to Reward Card Chaos
Key Ring CEO Chris Fagan says he's waging a war against chaos.
"Key Ring was created to solve a simple program loyalty card overload," says Fagan. "The app is first and foremost a utility app that helps consumers fight reward card chaos. Having their loyalty cards with them on their phone allows Key Ring users to actually earn rewards and reap the benefits of the loyalty programs they've joined."
It's all about compartmentalizing.
"Key Ring lets consumers scan and save their loyalty and membership cards in the app," Fagan says. "They can also save gift cards too. With a free account, the user's cards are securely backed up in the cloud. In addition to always carrying their digital cards with them, Key Ring allows consumers to join new loyalty programs in their area and access money saving discounts and coupons."
Larky: The Discounts You Deserve
Having recently raised seed funding of $650,000, Larky helps you "get what you deserve." Gregg Hammerman is the co-founder explains the genesis of his company:"I'm a pretty typical guy. I have a wife and two kids, a membership in AAA, my alumni association, the children's museum in town, and a professional association or two. Every one of these associations mails me information each year to tell me of all of the great discounts, perks and benefits that I'm entitled to. Through my membership in the University of Michigan Alumni Association, I can get a discount on Ford cars. From my membership in the Detroit Zoo, I get a discount on Pittsburgh Paint. If I use my Visa card to pay for my car rental at National, the collision coverage is covered. I can get a discount at Hard Rock Cafe Detroit with my AAA membership. Thomson/Reuters, a previous employer, provides a discount at Best Buy. The idea for Larky was to create a free, easy to use platform that would always remind me of what I deserved from every program I was involved with so I never spent more than I should."
Hammerman says users don't have to enter any account numbers or confidential information to get going. With the mobile app, users can set it to get alerts when they are near a merchant offering a discount. Larky launched with data for more than 2,500 programs.
Zoomingo: Zip Based Savings
Shirish Nadkarni, CEO of Zoomingo, came up with the idea for his app while shopping with his wife. "I noticed that often my wife wouldn't make a purchase because she wanted to check out other stores to see if they had a better price," he says. "I tried out some of the bar code scanning apps available at that time but they didn't work for us. It was a hassle to use them and most of the times they failed to recognized the item. And when they worked, they compared prices to online stores, and we were interested in looking to make purchases at local stores. I saw the need for a simple shopping application that provided shoppers with information on what was on sale at their favorite local stores."
Nadkarni says you can fire up the app in any Zip Code in the U.S. and it will show you all the sales nearby, by store or category. You then browse through the items and can save them to a shopping list. Alerts remind you of these items, along with other location-based sales and highly-rated discounts recommended by the Zoomingo community.
So whether you want your discount based on relevance, convenience, membership or location – there is a free app to help you get your fair share of savings.