Clinkle

Mobile wallet that treats you & friends to fun surprises

Discussion

most upvoted
Ben (Kenobi) Parr — Captivology / DominateFund
So it's a card that... Gives you rewards? I mean... Isn't that like every card out there?

Why... Why would I use this over my Amex or another card?

Their pitch is... Incomplete. Flat. Unappealing. No reason to switch.

I'm just sad about the whole Clinkle episode.

These comments are gonna be a shit show.
Murat Mutlu — Co-Founder, Marvelapp
Some seriously good animations on this
Jonathan Moore — Designer & Founder, Style Hatch
@mutlu82 I'm loving the "treats" animation.
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Rob Ryan — Product Designer, Shift
@Moore thanks guys :-)
Tori Bunte — PMM, HPE Storage
Talk about pivoting.
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Rob Ryan — Product Designer, Shift
@stttories gotta give the kids what they want, ya know?
Yury Lifshits — Managing Director, Entangled Solutions
— A debit card
— An app showing transaction history
— Rewards shared with friends
— Sending cash to friends

Did I got it right?
Corey Gwin — PM, SweetLabs, coreygw.in
@yurylifshits I had the same struggle. Still wondering why I should want this? Clearly I'm not the demo.
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David Kettler — Engineer, Patreon
@yurylifshits yup! with plenty more in the pipeline :D
Mark Egerman — Cover, Co-Founder
As a former regulator and co-founder of a mobile payments startup, this one's a headscratcher. Is this a less profitable version of HigherOne? Is it Simple for a smaller market and four years too late? Do they think there'll be enough prepaid interchange to pay for rising customer acquisition costs, loyalty programs, and infrastructure? This has become a fairly mature and competitive market - they're going up against WalMart and AmEx, and it seems like a company with such a troubled history chose to pivot into an extremely tough spot.

And then there's the future regulatory headaches that are coming down the pike. It's unclear how much of the advertising about fees on the website would survive Reg DD scrutiny if this were a debit card. It's not. Like Simple, it's a general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid card. There aren't substantive regulations on disclosure yet, although the CFPB has announced rules coming in this area: http://files.consumerfinance.gov...

Still trying to figure out how this is going to work out well.
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David Kettler — Engineer, Patreon
@megerman Hey Mark! We don't make [EDIT: profit] on interchange, and don't plan to [EDIT: we get the standard interchange income for issuing banks as revenue]. All of that money goes back into the Treats program.

As far as fees, we have a pretty comprehensive set of disclosures on our site, all of which we are presently waiving (and hope to eliminate entirely as we gain traction).
Mark Egerman — Cover, Co-Founder
@21echoes That's not too surprising, given the relative bargaining power with your issuer - most startups can't really control much of those economics. But not taking any interchange and remitting it all to the networks or your issuer, that seems off.

Still, the formula for a GPR is pretty straightfoward. Fees + Interchange + Float - Customer Acquisition - Overhead - Fraud = profit. Sounds like you have no interchange revenues, a costly loyalty program, and there's no way you're going to make money off float given what interest rates are. This isn't rocket science - this is just the very straightforward economics of a well-understood product that anyone can buy off a j-hook at a WalMart, CVS, etc.

Breakage can't save this model either - escheatment takes care of that. LevelUp tried losing money on interchange and making it up on loyalty, but well, they quickly learned that didn't work. So I just don't get the economics at play for this product. Unless this whole thing is a loss leader to move students onto higher-margin financial tools, consider me puzzled.

Cover is hiring. We make money on every transaction. I highly recommend it.
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David Kettler — Engineer, Patreon
@megerman Sorry, to be clear: we don't make *profit* on interchange, we re-invest it in Treats (our rewards program). Edited my comment above accordingly.
Michael Dempsey — Frontier Tech at Rothenberg Ventures
@megerman This is one of the best comments I have ever read on PH.
Derek Shanahan — Pub Strategy @ SuperRewards
@mhdempsey Agree. Would love for a Clinkle investor to come in here and respond re: economics of the model.
Jack Dweck — Product Manager at Unroll.Me
Nice site, but really confusing.
Adam Evers — Builder - Internshipsinsf & Coindera
@jackdweck +1 and agreed. Super confusing. What do you do exactly? I want to sign up but figure it's just Venmo on steroids?
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Rob Ryan — Product Designer, Shift
@adamevers I might be able to help:

1) it's a pure black debit card
2) use the card, and you get Treats
3) send treats to another member, and their next purchase could be free
4) you can use the app, too: send money to other members, limit / track your spending, and other goodies.

Sure, its venmo. But its mostly about giving and getting Treats. A campus with Treats flying around is a bundle of surprise and joy
Addison Huddy — Product Manager, Pivotal Labs
@robertoryan this is a great explanation of the new offering. However, I get none of this from the current landing page.
Adam Evers — Builder - Internshipsinsf & Coindera
Adam Evers — Builder - Internshipsinsf & Coindera
@robertoryan thanks Rob. I didn't get any of that from the homepage.
Ben Drucker — Founder, Valet.io
Simple clone with some ambiguous social rewards program? Pretty seriously underwhelming for a company that's commanded so much hype.
Jonathan Moore — Designer & Founder, Style Hatch
On the homepage they have a section saying "We're not into fees", but a quick look at their agreement has a long list of fees, including fees to add money to your card https://www.clinkle.com/legal/ba...

- $0.50 per transaction to add money via qualified debit card
- $0.30 + 2.9% per transaction to add money via non-qualified debit card
- $1 ATM fees
- 3% international transaction fees

Are these fees common with prepaid debit cards? I can't see someone being too excited to realize that, in some cases, they only have $485 to spend after loading up $500.
Ben (Kenobi) Parr — Captivology / DominateFund
@Moore If they are advertising no fees but have fees... That's not ok
Jonathan Moore — Designer & Founder, Style Hatch
@benparr They do say "We’re not into fees", "no monthly fees" and "no fee to get your card".
Ben Cherry — Engineer, Pushd
@Moore they only have fees for loading via credit/debit. ACH is free. That's reasonable and doesn't make their "no fees" claim totally bogus.
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Rob Ryan — Product Designer, Shift
@Moore no Clinkle member has ever been charged a fee. If we ever had to actually charge these fees, these are what would allow us to break even.
Dillon Compton — Sales/Growth
This just feels confused. It's like they grabbed features from Simple and Venmo, then added an ambiguous rewards system where you don't know how much you are earning, but can share those rewards with other people? Easy money transfer and transaction tracking + alerts are nice, but also available on a bunch of other options that already have traction. No compelling reason to switch.

Pretty site though.
Lyle McKeany — product manager, @GoPrimer
This seems like a worse version of Simple. I don't think treats are a big enough incentive to get users to change behavior. Of course, if they're going to be successful at all, it's best to start with colleges like they're doing.
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David Kettler — Engineer, Patreon
@lylemckeany Thanks so much for the feedback, and sorry to hear it comes across that way :(

What features do you love on Simple that you think we lack? We think we're extremely competitive on feature set, better on design, and have a rewards program on top of all of that... but obviously we're a bit biased now and again ;D
Abe Storey — Entrepreneur & Growth Marketer
The issue I have with this is that I would need to get a new card for this to work. If they could make it work with any cc, that would be cool. Also - for my friend to receive the "treat", they must have a clinkle card, which is annoying.
Danny Espinoza — Founder @getonlow
Think this is a good pivot for two reasons: 1) the college focus is a new twist on a very old space, the college town discount card, so you don't need to re-educate your target market; and 2) sending a "free" debit card with absolutely no fees feels like you are getting something for nothing.
Jonathan Moore — Designer & Founder, Style Hatch
@dannyjespinoza They're promoting "no monthly fees", but they have pretty hefty fees to add money to your card and withdraw it as cash - https://www.clinkle.com/legal/ba...
Danny Espinoza — Founder @getonlow
@Moore well if that's the case then this is DOA
Tori Bunte — PMM, HPE Storage
@dannyjespinoza I think it's probably cool for the Stanford crowd, but not for the ramen college kids. I was so strapped for cash in college that I can't imagine ever just sending a friend money for the sake of it.

Can I send them an invitation to share a cheap bottle of whiskey and a box of Kraft mac & cheese with Clinkle? Can parents deposit $ directly onto a Clinkle card as easily as they could with a simple online banking transfer?
Ben Cherry — Engineer, Pushd
@Moore They have fees to use the card at an ATM, but not to use it as credit. It's a debit card technically since it's backed by a funded account but I think they want you to use it in place of a credit card, not as a bank account. They have a fee to value-load from a credit card, but not by ACH from a bank account. That makes sense because loading from a credit card would likely cost them 3% to Amex/Visa/Stripe/whatever. The $20 liquidation fee is lame. They also have foreign transaction fees, which is fairly normal for mainstream credit cards.
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Rob Ryan — Product Designer, Shift
@bcherry I spent a good amount of time with that copy. We tried to communicate the facts clearly:

1) We don't want to charge fees. That would be lame for us as Clinkle members, too.

2) while we've never charged anyone a fee (yet) it seemed important to be upfront that that approach doesn't scale

3) if everything goes well, we can remove fees forever
M
David Kettler — Engineer, Patreon
@stttories Hey Tori! We're actually very strongly going after the ramen college kids. That's why we made it a pre-paid debit card, have budgeting features in the app, let "parents deposit $ directly onto a Clinkle card more easily than they could with a simple online banking transfer", etc.

The money you send to a friend is part of our rewards program. Of the millions of college students with pre-paid cards today ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/ne... ), most are charged fees left and right, and get no rewards programs on those cards. We hope to remove the constant nickel and diming, and give you an altruistic rewards program on top.
Danny Espinoza — Founder @getonlow
@stttories getting parents to send money to their kids on Clinkle probably a good way to prime usage
Tori Bunte — PMM, HPE Storage
@21echoes Hi David! Thanks for answering. I was definitely a ramen college kid - I think the idea of earning rewards on money you're already spending appeals to college kids, no doubt.

I would argue that parents putting money on a Clinkle card isn't any easier than an online banking transfer (but I wont, because I haven't tried it) - but I think something like this would resonate with a younger crowd (or rather their parents). I was super irresponsible with money as a teenager, even though I started working pretty young (15), I overdrew my checking account a ton at that age. Granted I didn't have a banking app on my flip phone at the time, but it seems like parents would probably really enjoy the idea of a prepaid card & teens would be into the rewards program. Best of luck!
Tori Bunte — PMM, HPE Storage
@dannyjespinoza Possibly, but as I mentioned above, I think it's probably better suited for teens (and their parents) rather than college students. Online banking transfers are really seamless between browsers and mobile apps (texting too?) + the ability to send money via email with a wide range of fee-less services, I don't think it's a unique enough value proposition.
Erik Torenberg — Product Hunt
anyone here know someone at clinkle? lmk so we can give them commenting access - let's get them in the comments :)
Eric Willis — Mod @Product Hunt/ Founder @Chatmunk
@eriktorenberg I've sent Rob @robertoryan a tweet. Maybe he will jump in.
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Rob Ryan — Product Designer, Shift
@erictwillis lord save me from the sharks
Eric Willis — Mod @Product Hunt/ Founder @Chatmunk
@robertoryan You also got lots of compliments about the design though Rob and you're the lead designer right? :)
Jaime Jorge — CEO Founder of @Codacy
@robertoryan Great job launching! It looks really well put together.
Ali R. Tariq — Product Designer, Manulife RED Lab
It sounds like the whole premise of this relies on people (especially college kids) being highly altruistic. I'm not normally cynical, but this feels like a big gamble. Though the results could be surprising.
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David Kettler — Engineer, Patreon
@alirtariq As a company, we really wanted the product to be altruistic and giving (unlike most players in the financial space who are interested in nickel & diming). While our mission statement video (
) was mocked in the tech blogs for being over-earnest & heavy handed without any product to back it up, we really do stand behind the vision of commerce it lays out.

Obviously the product still has a long road ahead of it, but we're more than willing to make that gamble, and will bet on the altruism of everyday folks again and again as we iterate :D

Thanks so much for the feedback
Dave Branson Smith — 96 Problems
Despite all the poor press and funny commercials, I am genuinely interested in trying this out. I think it's interesting to create a social reward system and allow people to interact around transactions. Not sure if this exact system is the right way to do so (seems very, very complex), but I think they may be on to something interesting. And agree with @mutlu82, that landing page has some seriously good animations :)
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