Store cards, get gifts

JunoWallet lets you get free promotional mobile gift cards and certificates, securely store your existing gift cards, check balances, and buy gift cards at discounts.

If you're feeling a bit like George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode "The Wallet," chances are you have a few too many scraps and cards stuffed into your carryall. Luckily, we live in the digital age, where much of the information you need to keep on your person can be stored in your mobile phone. For example, for those of us who cart around a cadre of gift cards from various establishments, JunoWallet provides an app for that.

On the surface, JunoWallet is a pretty simple iOS app that serves to securely store the numbers and pins for existing gift cards from businesses such as Starbucks and the Gap. You can then redeem them directly from your device, which eliminates the need to carry dozens of pieces of plastic in your wallet or purse. It also helps to ensure that you always have the information handy, which is good for those of us who tend to forget our gift cards at home the day we want to use them.

But beyond being a receptacle for existing gift cards, JunoWallet offers a host of other neat features for shopaholics. For one, it serves up gift and promotional certificates that can be used for a variety of products and services, from travel to food, effectively offering "free money" coupons to users. Also, users can convert Foursquare and JunoWallet check-ins into points that are redeemable for gift cards. In addition, you can buy gift cards from directly within the app and get bonus gift cards and discounts by doing so, as well as give and get cards and certificates to and from other users.

In practice, the app works great--especially for getting discounts. However, not as many establishments as we'd like are supported by the gift card feature. Also, we had some performance issues on our iPod Touch where the service kept asking us to log out and back in again. Performance was better on the in-house iPhone. Some of the promotional certificates are more useful than others, and they almost invariably require a certain dollar amount be spent--but that's OK, as they're meant to act as a discount, not offer something entirely for free.

Of course, there are some potential downsides to the check-in feature. Be aware that you're making JunoWallet aware of your location so it can alert area businesses that you are nearby, thus allowing them to send relevant deals your way. You do at least have the option to turn off push notifications if you want.

As JunoWallet is completely free and offers a great way to at least carry all of your gift cards in one compact package--your phone--we have no problem recommending it. Just be aware that some of the promotional deals come with a price.

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