I don't know about you, but for me, trying to keep up with endless stacks of customer loyalty cards is not one of my natural strengths. Don't get me wrong. I want the savings (heck, I need the savings) a good customer loyalty program can offer. But sometimes (often) life just gets in the way. Recently I was browsing through my iPhone Passbook and came across an interesting app called "Belly." It's free. It works at thousands of stores. And using a loyalty card is totally optional. I hope Belly can help you the way it’s starting to help me!

1. What is Belly?

Belly is a new kind of customer loyalty program that helps ensure you get your loyalty points every time you shop. There is a loyalty card (an actual hands-on scannable card). But you only need to use it ONCE…after that the app takes over—unless you actually like carrying a loyalty card with you.

2. How can I get started with Belly?

It’s easy to get started using Belly—here is a step-by-step how-to guide you can follow.

  1. Use the online or in-app store locator to find the nearest Belly retailer near you: https://bellycard.com/locations
  2. Visit that retailer and pick up your scannable Belly card.
  3. Download the app of your choice and scan the card using the app.
  4. Enter your email address (or sign in with Facebook) to complete your registration.
  5. Now, every time you visit a Belly-friendly location, open the app and scan it using the retailer's in-store Belly tablet (the same tablet you use to pay for your purchases).
  6. As your points accumulate, you become eligible to redeem rewards (you can visit your Accounts page online or "My Stuff" page in-app at any time to see all points accumulated by retailer).

3. How do I redeem Belly points?

This is very easy too—here is a step-by-step guide.

  1. When you visit a Belly-friendly retailer and scan your app on the in-store tablet, a list of rewards will automatically pop up.
  2. The ones you are eligible for will appear in blue.
  3. Click on the tablet next to the reward you want to redeem.
  4. Click "confirm" to verify your selection.
  5. Show the tablet screen to any store employee to redeem your reward.

4. What kinds of retailers use Belly?

Tablet-based payment systems are fast replacing traditional cash registers and invoicing. What this means is that all kinds of retailers use Belly—and more are added each day. Here is a short list of some of the many types of businesses using Belly.

  • Car wash and detailing services
  • Coffee and smoothie shops
  • Cafes and fine dining restaurants
  • Clothing and accessories shops
  • Beauticians, nail salons, estheticians, tanning salons and barber shops
  • Food trucks
  • Fitness centers
  • Pet shops, salons, and gift stores
  • Fast food and convenience stores

How to save using Belly

There are three major ways to save by using Belly—two are finance-related and one is time-related.

  • Keep all rewards in one place while on the go: Whether you use Belly or Passbook (which integrates with Belly) you can now ensure you never miss out on earning points.
  • Belly Bites: This brand-new program is at this moment rolling out across the country. Belly Bites lets you try something new—absolutely free—at local retailers.
  • Redeeming points for rewards: When you visit a retailer, you get points for that visit. As those points accumulate, you become eligible for rewards. For example, say you visit a pastry shop for a croissant. When you arrive and scan your Belly app, you see you can redeem a reward for a free coffee drink.