As promised back in February, Plink has launched a mobile app for iOS that will change the program from “set it and forget it,” linking your debit or credit card to the program and earning points for qualifying offline purchases, to now have the ability to push notifications to your phone if, say, you’re in the area of a participating merchant, or maybe to remind you on the weekend that they offer points for buying movie tickets at particular chains.
One of the promised features of the app was the ability to earn points for checking in at their partner stores, restaurants, and movie theaters. I gave the app a test-drive yesterday and was disappointed with how this works in the current version of the app.
First of all, connecting the app to your Facebook account, so you can broadcast your checkin (and you referral link) for those bonus 5 points was a little tricky. It involved going into the settings for your phone and giving FB permission to connect. (I’ll have more detailed instructions on how to do this later today and will update this post as those become available. It took a little trial and error, but it wasn’t that difficult.)
Once you do, you’ll be able to “check-in” anywhere. From your own home bathroom if you want. That’s a pretty serious glitch that I think will be addressed in a future update. But don’t get any ideas: you won’t earn points for that checkin; it’ll just update your FB and send out your referral link. No, the only way you’ll actually EARN those points that your FB said you did is if you get off your toilet and actually go to Burger King, Taco Bell, Outback, or whereever AND make a purchase with your Plink-registered card over the required minimum amount.
Those of us hoping that the new Plink app would be something similar to Shopkick, where you actually do earn points just for walking in the door of Target, for example, are going to be sadly disappointed. At this early stage of the app’s development, there’s concern, says Casey Golubeiski (Plink’s Director of CRM) that people would abuse the system by doing drive-bys of all the local participating merchants and just gobble up the 5 pointers without making a purchase.
So is the “check-in” really a CHECK-IN? Not so much, imho: it’s an announcement that you’ve made a purchase, sent out to your Facebook pals, along with your referral link in exchange for 5 points, worth $.05.
In sum, I’m not blown away by this first pass at Plink’s mobile app, but I can see they’re working on it and I think they’ll be ironing out the kinks before long. Casey was very gracious in answering my questions and it’s clear that the Plink team has worked hard on this. I’m hopeful that getting the word out via Facebook that so many people really are using Plink without any problems will help eliminate the hurdle many have had to get over mentally, which is handing over their debit/credit card login information in order to link the card.
I’m a user of the program for over a year with no problems whatsoever and I’ve received several Amazon GCs for really doing nothing except what I would’ve done already (eat at Taco Bell and Burger King). I like Plink and recommend it. If you wouldn’t mind joining with my link, I’d be ever-so-grateful.