Verizon Makes Small Bet On Mobile Loyalty-Card Program

A $400,000 investment by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) in start-up CardStar Inc. may not sound like much, but it’s a hint that wireless carriers are realizing that commerce is going increasingly mobile, and that there are various ways for operators to get in on the revenue earned by enabling such transactions.

CardStar is the creator of a mobile-phone application that enables users to consolidate all of their membership cards and loyalty programs – be they frequent flier miles or buy-one-get-one free offers from a local merchant – in one place.

“The carriers have long been looking at the mobile wallet idea, especially mobile payments,” said Andy Miller, CardStar’s chief executive. “But mobile payment is not here yet. So, what else is in someone’s wallet? A lot of different cards, and the common thread is loyalty cards.”

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