Most people probably carry around a few point cards from some of their favorite retailers in their wallets. Although if you live in Japan, chances are that the number of point cards you carry is much higher. One startup hopes to remedy this by providing a smartphone application that lets you store all your point cards in one handy place. It’s called Poica, and so far its available for iOS and Android, but in Japanese only (although the interface is simple enough to figure out).
The app hinges on its bar-code reader. For many point cards in Japan, a retail clerk would scan the bar code on the back of your card and then have access to your information. With Poica, you can scan the bar code from your favorite point cards, and then store that bar code on your phone so that you can show it to a clerk later on. The idea, obviously, is that you would no longer need to carry all those plastic cards in your wallet. You can see the application in action in our video demo below .
Poica also lets you organize your catalogued point cards into groups, such as book stores, restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, or electronic retailers. But technically speaking, I guess almost any card with a barcode would be acceptable. I even store some of my wife’s cards, just to impress her when I get dragged along shopping!
There are some drawbacks however. Not every point card in my collection comes with a bar code. Some of them just include a number, in which case, you cannot enter your card into Poica. But given that it’s a free app, it’s hard to really go wrong with Poica. In contrast, Card Bank – a similar application – costs 99 cents.
Poica just released a 2.0 version a few days ago with a few minor improvements, so now is as good a time as any to check it out.
Note that the bar code in my video is not an actual point card, but just the bar code from a random book. ↩