Belly: Smartphone app lets customers earn rewards at Chicagoland businesses

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If your wallet is like mine, it's bursting at the seams. And not because of the overflow of cash.

As a guy who spends his days zooming all over the Chicagoland area, I tend to gather an obscene amount of loyalty cards. You know, buy six cups of coffee get one free. Scan your preferred card for 25 cents off your next bagel. Cash in this receipt for a free "save the tigers" poster at an Orland gas station.

OK, that was a Seinfeld reference.

Chicago-based Belly is a new app helping to make loyalty rewards much easier. More than 500 businesses around the Chicagoland area are using it. All you have to do is download the app, then when you're out shopping and see a Belly iPad at the register, scan in. You'll earn points, and as you do, bigger and better rewards.

The company launched towards the end of last year. They now have partnered with more than 500 Chicagoland businesses. Check out the full list and all of the different rewards on their website.

So how does Belly make money? Businesses are allowed to use the service for free for the first month. After that, they're charged a monthly fee.

I spoke with Belly co-founder Logan LaHive today. You can see the full piece on tonight's WGN News at Five. We went to two Lakeview businesses using the service - Southport Grocery & Cafe at 3552 N. Southport and Dog-A-Holics at 3608 N. Southport.

So what do you think? Do you think there is room for another tech-based, check-in reward system with Facebook and Foursquare in the market?

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