Dosh is a new app that is currently in public beta. Dosh is a card linked loyalty program, it works as follows:
- You link your debit or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Amex)
- You’ll receive credit (“dosh”) for making purchases with Dosh partners
The credit can then be donated to charity or transferred to your bank account. They also have a travel section where you can earn credit for booking hotels, renting cars or booking activities. According to this SEC filing they raised $2,305,000 in a seed round (total investment now exceeds $6 million).
According to Dosh they have partnered with over 100,000 brands and merchants to offer their users opportunities to earn credits. Currently, it seems that the card-link offers on Dosh are all for restaurants. Card linked loyalty programs are nothing new, we have a whole post comparing the different options. Dosh runs on Empyr, along with a number of other loyalty dining programs that run on that platform (MOGL, Living Social, Swagbucks, Yelp).
The main problem with card linked loyalty programs is if they are truly set and forget then there is no added value to merchants (they aren’t getting any incremental sales). It’s also difficult to get merchants to enroll in these programs as it’s usually not possible to restrict what transactions do and don’t earn rewards (e.g you can’t restrict a purchase that uses a coupon for example).
Dosh aims to provide value to merchants by using geo-targeted offers. When there is an offer in your immediate area you’ll be alerted to that specific deal.
There are also serious privacy and security concerns. Data breaches are becoming more and more common and giving an app access to payment data can be a scary proposition. All apps and websites will state they have state of the art security, but data breaches can and still do occur.
Aside from the card-linked offers for in-store purchases, Dosh also features a robust shopping portal. Some of their rates seem decent; as always, check around to make sure you get the best rate.
Dosh has a referral program which usually offers $1 for the new member and $5 for the referrer. The bonuses are only given if the new member links a card in the Dosh app.
If you’re interested you can support the site and say thank you by using my link. You can also share your own Dosh referral links in this linked post (please do not share them in this post, as I’d like to keep that for discussion about the app itself).
It’s impossible to judge an app before it’s actually launched and you’ve used it. I’m not a big fan of handing over payment data to an app, I’m also not a huge fan of being notified about offers that in all likelihood I have no interest in. For me this is definitely a wait and see type of app. I’d be interested to hear others thoughts in the comments below. Update: As some readers pointed out, I’m probably being overly negative. This app does have promise and could be very useful depending on the type of deals they offer.