Bling Nation Transforms Mobile Phones Into True Digital Wallets in the Palo Alto Community and Stanford University Campus

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Forget about carrying cash or credit cards - you can now pay for coffee or dinner with your mobile phone! Bling Nation, which offers mobile tap-and-pay point-of-sale services, today announced the expansion of its mobile phone payment service to Stanford University. With hundreds of Palo Alto businesses already signed up with Bling Nation, consumers and students can now enjoy using their mobile phones as their ‘digital wallets’ on-the-go with tap-and-pay technology.

“Bling Nation is a great service and as a small business owner it helps me reduce costs, drive repeat business and stay relevant in a college town,” said Jean Paul Coupal, owner of the Coupa Café.

Forget about carrying cash or credit cards - you can now pay for coffee or dinner with your mobile phone! Bling Nation, which offers mobile tap-and-pay point-of-sale services, today announced the expansion of its mobile phone payment service to Stanford University. With hundreds of Palo Alto businesses already signed up with Bling Nation, consumers and students can now enjoy using their mobile phones as their ‘digital wallets’ on-the-go with tap-and-pay technology.

Following the successful introductory program with PayPal employees and other early adopters, Bling Nation is opening up this innovative payment system to the broader Palo Alto community and on the campus at Stanford University. Any consumer with a PayPal account can easily sign up for a BlingTag®, a quarter-sized microchip sticker that adheres to the back of their mobile phone, enabling transactions at the point-of-sale. Currently, more than 6,000 active BlingTags are being used in Palo Alto with more being added daily.

Many Silicon Valley companies have signed up with the innovative program, providing their employees with BlingTags, including tech giants PayPal and Facebook®, as well as a variety of local startups in the area.

“We saw a tremendous surge of interest and participation during our introductory program with PayPal in Palo Alto, and look forward to continue the momentum as we expand our services to Stanford University and beyond,” said Meyer Malka, CEO for Bling Nation. “Palo Alto is our fastest growing market to date! From local merchants in downtown Palo Alto to the Stanford campus, we are adding new business partnerships to our growing Bling Nation family every day.”

“Bling It” at a Store Near You
Hundreds of merchants are taking advantage of Bling Nation’s lower transaction processing fees and easy-to-use loyalty programs. In fact, Bling Nation is hosting “Bling Days” with local Palo Alto businesses throughout September and October, helping build awareness of the tap-and-pay payment system and merchant rewards, discounts and loyalty programs for local consumers. Local businesses will host 2-hour events at their stores, distributing BlingTags, linking to PayPal accounts and offering prizes and incentives for participating shoppers.

Additionally, Bling Nation will be promoting its tap-and-pay services to Palo Alto residents directly through a variety of events and marketing efforts. For instance, Bling Nation recently worked with Yelp on a pub crawl that attracted several hundred Yelp Elites to local bars and restaurants. Yelp and Bling also plan to hold a Passport Week in October with participating merchants in downtown Palo Alto. During Passport Week, consumers will have the opportunity to take advantage of discounts and promotions at various Bling Nation and Yelp merchant partners throughout Palo Alto.

“Bling Nation is a great service and as a small business owner it helps me reduce costs, drive repeat business and stay relevant in a college town,” said Jean Paul Coupal, owner of the Coupa Café. “For my business, it has been a great way to help reach and connect with consumers with a loyalty and rewards program that I can customize for my customers.”

One example of a merchant that knows the value of Bling Nation is Bon Appétit Management Company, an onsite restaurant company that offers full foodservice management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues. During the introductory program, the Bon Appétit cafés on the PayPal campus experienced a major shift in transactions, as PayPal employees increased their use of Bling Nation at the point-of-sale, accounting for up to 30 percent of transactions at its peak. As a result, Bon Appétit is planning to roll out the Bling Nation solution to several other cafes.

On Campus with Bling Nation
In addition, several merchants on the campus of Stanford University have embraced Bling Nation payments, such as Coupa Café, CoHo Café, Fraiche Yogurt, Jimmy V’s, Rays and The Treehouse, giving Stanford students an opportunity to “Bling It” first hand. To help educate this large group of mobile device enthusiasts on the Stanford campus, various promotions and marketing events will be taking place in the coming weeks to help build awareness for Bling Nation, including visibility through street teams, partnerships with student organizations and sponsorship of sporting events, such as men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and the Stanford vs. USC football game on October 9, 2010.

“Bling Nation is a perfect fit for Stanford University campus, as the students are addicted to their mobile phones and can’t wait to try the next cool technology,” said Stephanie Werner, student at Stanford University. “One thing Stanford students keep with them at all times is their cell phone, so it makes sense that the phone can be used for purchases on and off campus.”

About Bling Nation
Bling Nation mobile payment services connect local financial institutions and businesses, allowing customers to use their mobile phones to tap-and-pay for purchases and receive text account balance and transaction confirmations at the point of sale. Businesses and financial institutions eliminate payment processing middlemen, while differentiating their services and supporting community “shop local” programs. For additional information, visit http://www.blingnation.com or follow us at http://www.twitter.com/blingnation.

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Mary Placido

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