LOS ANGELES-Just in time for the holiday shopping frenzy, two startups have rolled out mobile apps designed to help consumers choose which credit card to use at checkout.

Wallaby Financial released a free app that helps iPhone users determine which card will yield the most perks. Wallaby supports more than 300 cards. The small comfort for those credit unions that don't offer perks with their cards is that the solution cautions cardholders that the recommended card may not be the best deal.

"The app allows users to get a real-time recommendation of the right credit card while shopping on the go to maximize their rewards," said Matthew Goldman, Wallaby's founder and chief executive.

Which card Wallaby determines is ideal for the cardholder depends on data points, such as limited-time offers and type of transaction. After a consumer tells the app which type of cards he has, Wallaby will recommend which card to use at nearby shops or restaurants.

Wallaby also offers a cloud-based digital wallet that houses all of a consumer's credit cards and links that payment data with a physical Wallaby Card. As the wait list for those wanting the physical card is long, Goldman says "the app lets us give access to everyone right away while we continue to ramp up."

The new app also gives people the ability to decide whether or not to take Wallaby's advice. "We tell them what the deal is so they can make an individual decision," Goldman says. "Just because it's the best deal, it's not necessarily a card" the consumer wants to use.

Wallaby is also developing an Android app that Goldman expects to launch by the end of the year, reported American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal.

 

'Financial Advocate on the Go'

Meanwhile, Glyph launched an iPhone app that aims to guide consumers into picking the best plastic while they're out shopping.

"The consumer needs-we believe-a financial advocate on the go," says Mike Vichich, the Detroit-based startup's chief executive. "There's no real advocate for the consumer at the point of purchase."

On that note, he points out two primary benefits of his company's inaugural product, which lets consumers view the annual percentage rates, annual fees and reward details on more than 250 credit cards.

First, like Wallaby, Glyph's app recommends which cards to use at nearby stores in order to maximize the credit card rewards when users tap on button labeled Guru.

Second, the app's dashboard shows a user what portfolio of cards they should have to avoid leaving any money on the table. In other words, the mobile app feature helps consumers find out about credit cards that would earn a consumer more rewards on their purchases, such as 6% cash back on groceries.

As with Wallaby, Glyph users do not have to provide their sensitive credit card data. Instead, consumers tell the startup which type of cards they have.

Vichich foresees a user sweet spot with business travelers, small businesses and people who are in the habit of pulling out their phones to do things while out.

Glyph is working with Yodlee to synchronize credit card account information into its offerings. It also has plans to offer bill pay to users.

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