Why I Wouldn’t Bank on SnapCash

So yesterday I (like many of you, I’m sure) glanced down at my smartphone to see that I had received a snap from Team Snapchat. I tried to think to myself what this could be about – it’s not a holiday right? There’s no big sports thing on right now that I should probably know about, but simply don’t care? But nope, I was greeted to (the abridged version of) this:

Oh boy. Now don’t get me wrong – I majored in Musical Theatre in high school. I can appreciate a cheesy dance number – especially one with tappers. Especially, especially one about money! There’s Money from Cabaret, We’re in the Money from 42nd Street – believe me I’m all about it.

But then Mr. Monopoly’s deranged, evil uncle comes out telling me to connect my debit card to my snapchat – “a wiiiiiiise investment at any aaaaage.” Again, I’ll say it, oh boy.

Really Snapchat? Really?

Why on EARTH would I connect my debit card to a service known for making things disappear into thin air? Immediately there’s a disconnect in my mind – if I wanted to make money ~*disappear*~ I could do that without the help of an app. I would just head on over to modcloth.comPlus, with its lack of transparency, the company isn’t exactly known for making the maintaining of a customer’s privacy a priority. I don’t think anyone should be too quick to hop on the bandwagon.

The majority of Snapchat users are in their teens and early twenties. Already this new service will not be used by a good chunk of your audience, considering you need to be at least 18. I’m also curious as to how this will be enforced. How can you ensure that the only folks using this service are over 18? How do you know they didn’t just steal mommy or daddy’s card and register it to their account?

While engagement on the site may be high (especially in that coveted millennial demographic), there are so many better ways to quickly transfer money, including often through an app run by the bank itself. Or just walking to an ATM, taking out cash, and handing it to another person. That works too.

How often do people our age transfer money to each other anyway? This is a serious question. The only people who really would ever put money into my bank account would be my parents (but really, they haven’t done that in years) or my employer, and that’s what direct deposit is for.

Perhaps they’re trying to get in on Apple Pay’s market.. but even if they are I think they need to worry about establishing their brand as one to be trusted by users before requesting access to their bank accounts.

Sorry Snapchat. Thanks, but no thanks.

Snapchat_Rejected

Always,
Julia

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Hey there, world!

Isn’t that how you’re supposed to start a brand new blog or webpage? I think that’s what my Intro to Digital tools teacher told our class before she taught us Dreamweaver, haha.

But ANYWAY – hey there, internet. My name is Julia. I felt as though I needed a new outlet to share my thoughts, feelings, and opinions about everything from “how is it possible you spelled my name incorrectly in that email if my email address literally has my name in it,” to “opportunity knocked: you’re moving across the country for three months – get stoked!”

A little about me: I’m a recent graduate from NYU who studied Media, Culture, and Communication and minored in the Business, of Entertainment, Media and Technology as an undergrad. I’m currently pursuing a career on the business side of the entertainment industry – specifically kids and family entertainment. While New York is my home (and the greatest city on Earth), I’m currently living the LA life, and will be until the end of the year.

I like music a lot, a lot. For a very long time I was adamant about #DefendingPopPunk, but now I guess I’ve accepted that if you like it that’s cool and if ya don’t, that’s cool too.

I was never into Man Overboard, but I still thought this was the coolest fan phrase.

My latest obsessions have actually been a step away from the teenyboppers with the brightly-colored hair. I’ve been listening to Neon Trees, A Great Big World, Vampire Weekend, etc. I’m not exactly what genre they are, or if they’re all even in the same genre, but I like them. I have also finally accepted my love affair with The Beatles. Boy, do I love The Beatles.

Moving far away and not having any real friends, I’ve found solace in both reading and Netflix. But mostly Netflix. Speaking of TV-viewing (see what I did there?), my favorite show of all-time would have to by either Boy Meets World or The Office (US). I honestly could not tell you which. As for what’s currently on I watch Once Upon a Time, How to Get Away with Murder, About a Boy, Black-ish, and New Girl. (Dear Mindy Kaling, I would love to watch The Mindy Project, but it’s not streaming on Netflix or Amazon – so how can I catch up? Sincerely, a wannabe fan. P.S. Just finished your book and loved it.)

To be completely honest, I just bought it because it felt especially relevant as I spend every weekend in California watching my friends from back home plan their days off in our GroupMe.

If I’m being completely honest, that’s probably all you need to know about me for now. I’m sure you’ll learn more as this blog continues to grow.

If you’re still reading I already love you and can tell we’re going to be friends. Stay golden.

Always,
Julia

Is the Starbucks Rewards Program Worth It?

Today I decided that I would make the plunge and get myself a Starbucks Rewards Card.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I decided this yesterday when I downloaded the app and thought it would be that simple – ha! Little did I know it was a little more of a process than that. Okay, maybe it wasn’t – but I wanted a physical loyalty card too, and I was on a mission to get one.

Let me start this off with a confession: lately I’ve been spending unhealthy amounts of time at various Starbucks locations. Living alone in a city where I really don’t know anyone other than my coworkers, it gives me an excuse to get out of my pjs and venture out into the world on days other than the three days I intern. In the past week I think I’ve been to Starbucks at least 4 times. I switch up the locations because I don’t want the Starbucks employees to think I don’t have a life – even if aside from work, that may be pretty true at the moment.

To be completely honest with you, I’ve actually pretty much kicked my college caffeine addiction. I don’t drink coffee while I’m at work, and only started drinking it again so I have an excuse to sit in a public location and mooch some free wifi.

I chose to go to the quieter of my regular Starbucks locations so that I would be able to get some assistance from one of the baristas. I should have gotten his name because he was great/super nice/overall the best (I still could because I’m writing this post from said Starbucks, but I don’t wanna be a total creep). He explained that basically the rewards program required you to get one of their gift cards and then to proceed to use it like a debit card.

Really? I need to get a debit card?

This stressed me out. I don’t need another debit card! No way, Jose. Thank you, but no thank you. I prefer to have as few cards as possible and I was kiiiiiinda hoping this rewards program would be like a CVS loyalty card where I could just scan it (or give my phone number) every visit and accumulate points and coupons.

My new barista friend was so kind and helpful though and made it very hard to say no. He pointed me to a gift card display and said, “We have 100 to choose from, pick your favorite and I’ll get you all set up.” Damn, he got me. How could I say no to his kind eyes?

And wait – 100 TO CHOOSE FROM? Yes. There were literally AT LEAST 100 loyalty cards to choose from. I settled on a pretty flowered one after about 5 minutes of internal debate because some I liked, but felt like baristas would assume I was flirting with them if I flashed a card that said, “You’re a peach!” with a giant watercolor peach on it, even if that was the cutest one.

New card in hand, my new barista pal allowed me to cut the now crazy-long line and set me up. He explained that the card was good to go and that I should hook it up to the app to learn about all the different possible rewards levels and their perks.

Now I’ve done that step and want to know if this rewards program is actually worth it. Should I really be putting money on another debit card?

Ooooh, let’s look inside and check out these details!

Welcome Level (Level 1)

  • Birthday drink or treat on us
  • Birthday coupon for 15% off a purchase at StarbucksStore.com
  • Custom offers via email (be sure to opt in)

So basically I need to wait until August to get much of anything. Fine, fine. I wonder how good the deals in those emails will be anyway. The fact that they describe them as “custom offers” already leads me to believe that they’ll be taking my data and making them offers I can’t refuse – more on this later.

Green Level (Level 2)

  • Birthday drink or treat on us
  • Birthday coupon for 15% off a purchase at StarbucksStore.com
  • Custom offers via email (be sure to opt in)
  • Free in-store refills on hot or iced brewed coffee and tea

This new perk is something I could get into! All I do is sit around drinking coffee. In the time it has taken me to write this post I’ve already finished my Grande Unsweetened Iced Coffee and could use a refill. In order to reach this level you need to collect five stars in 12 months – I’m sort of unclear about how I go about doing this. I’m pretty sure I just need to pay using my card.. but that seems too easy and attainable. I will probably cry silent tears of joy if this is, in fact, how it works.

Gold Level (Level 3)

  • Birthday drink or treat on us
  • Birthday coupon for 15% off a purchase at StarbucksStore.com
  • Custom offers via email (be sure to opt in)
  • Free in-store refills on hot or iced brewed coffee and tea
  • A free food or drink item after another 12 Stars earned
  • Personalized Gold Card

Wait so I need to come here 42 times, consequently earning 42 Stars, in order to get a free drink or food item? (I say this because you need 30 Stars to reach this level in the first place.) That seems like an awful lot visits to Starbucks to get my $3 drink for free. Personalized gold card sounds cool and bougie though – I’m into that. Unfortunately, by the time I reach that level I’ll probably be attached to my beautiful new floral card.

You have to admit, that's one pretty card.
You have to admit, that’s one pretty card.

Is the rewards program worth it? Only time will tell, I guess. It probably depends on the person. As of right now, I think as soon as I reach the Green Level it will be, since I spend so much time just sitting in Starbucks applying to full-time jobs and working. However, once I’m busier and at work all the time, I sorta doubt it.

Do any of you guys have any experience with the Starbucks Rewards Program? I’m still sorta confused about what it really means, other than that I’ve accepted my addiction and am admitting that I’m a little bit #basic. Have you guys found it to be worth it or do you feel like Starbucks is benefitting more than you are? What I mean is, for every purchase you make, Starbucks is collecting data on you. What time of day you get your fix, what drinks you prefer, how often you come to the store, etc. Do you feel like you’re actually benefitting from giving them your data? Do you feel as though you’re being properly reimbursed for the “sale” of your data? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time.

Always,
Julia