Google kills off Punchd mobile loyalty card app

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will sunset mobile loyalty card application Punchd in mid-2013, roughly two years after acquiring the startup behind the service.

Available for Google's Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) rival iOS, Punchd was designed to replace physical punchcard versions of retailer and restaurant loyalty programs, generating a QR code scanned at checkout and rewarding consumers for their repeat business. Co-founders Reed Morse and Grantland Chew created the Punchd app in 2010 during an Android software development course at California Polytechnic State University and later secured funding from Initio Group.

Google acquired Punchd in July 2011, spending a reported $10 million; the move followed just weeks after the introduction of the Near Field Communications-based Google Wallet contactless payment app. Last October, Google Wallet expanded to include support for SingleTap, which enables consumers to redeem coupons and/or earn rewards points, but despite expectations Google would also integrate Punchd into Wallet, it remained a standalone app.

Google will discontinue the Punchd apps on June 7, and from that date forward, merchants will no longer honor Punchd loyalty cards. Users can continue to earn punches and redeem rewards at participating businesses until that date, however. "We remain focused on developing products that help merchants and shoppers connect in new and useful ways," said Google Vice President of Engineering Venkat Panchapakesan.

For more:
- read this Google Official Blog entry

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