With Apple Pay now available, we are avidly watching to see how it will take off as people get more used to ditching their wallets and using their phones to pay for purchases. But for those of you not about to lay down the cash for a shiny new iPhone 6, there are apps like CardBlanc for you. It not only provides a mobile payment system, but access to your favorite stores all in one app.
And the truth is, those digital natives that are also known as your teenage kids will probably use more than you do. Which is why it’s a good app for parents to know about.
If you haven’t heard of it, CardBlanc is a digital shopping mall and payment system that lets you pay directly to about 100 retailers currently linked through the app–places like Target, J. Crew, Saks, Tory Burch, L.L.Bean, and those that are more Millenial-targeted like Forever 21, NastyGal (lovely name), Urban Outfitters, Free People, and Delia’s.
Although the app assigns you a “CardBlanc credit card,” it’s really just a clever name for a unique number linked to your PayPal account for your purchases. Once you have an account, you can scroll through the list of stores and then begin shopping at their mobile sites. When you check out, there’s a “Pay with CardBlanc” button that will automatically withdraw the funds from your account.
The good thing is, for young adults who are managing their finances, as opposed to credit cards, it’s not possible to overdraw your CardBlanc account. You can only spend whatever funds you have allocated to the app, which could be great money management training wheels for teens. However there is a feature that lets kids hit up parents (or grandparents?) with a CardBlanc email or text to request additional funds, as you can with PayPal.
Young adults 18 and older can set up their own CardBlanc account, or parents can set up accounts for kids 13 and up, should you feel your young teen is ready for a mobile payment and shopping system on their phone. That’s really your call.
The whole service feels similar to me in concept to the VenMo shopping app which we covered a while back, but with a bigger social element for those who are are happy to share every cute pair of earrings and sparkly nail polish they’ve just bought, while commenting and liking others’ hauls. Plus you get rewards for shopping through the app, like access to VIP sales and special discounts.
Not sure how my boring toothpaste and Ziploc sandwich bag purchases on Target would fly – Great toothpaste, I love that minty flavor! – so this is definitely more for people who want to share fashionable picks and get some virtual back-pats for it.
Profile picture of brooding teenager optional
One gripe I do have is that your only option for setting up an account is doing so through Facebook. It irks me when any app only gives you that single option in fact, especially with so many privacy concerns that keep cropping up. Otherwise, it’s all pretty straightforward.
As far as security, CardBlanc guarantees bank-level encryption and security, which of course, should be the price of entry. Even though I’m somewhat of a traditionalist with my real credit cards (and their own related reward systems) and sometimes, actual cash in my wallet, there’s is something very convenient about having access to all your favorite stores through one app and using one payment system to make the purchases.
Just don’t count on me to share my most recent purchase of sensible shoes.
CardBlanc is available for free on iTunes. An Android version is in the works.