DealStar by Cardstar Publishing, LLC icon

DealStar (Free) by Cardstar Publishing, LLC is a new free app from the developers of CardStar, the app that supplants the need to carry all those little loyalty cards around with you. DealStar is different. This app lets you know about deals in your area.

DealStar by Cardstar Publishing, LLC screenshot

It’s not a traditional coupon app, where you show your iPhone to a merchant to get a discount. Rather, it’s a collection of deal provider services, the best known being Groupon. I think most people are already familiar with Groupon. But, in case you aren’t, it’s a program that allows you to buy gift certificates at a discounted rate, usually about 50% off. Groupon has its own app, but if you’re interested in expanding to other, similar programs, and having them all accessible in one place, read on.

DealStar includes the following deal providers: BuyWithMe, DealOn, Gilt City, Groupon, and Mobile Spinach. I live in a major metropolitan area with millions of residents. So, I figured there should be plenty of deals in my area. Well, I allowed the app to use my location, and then tried each of the deal providers in turn. Only Groupon actually had any deals in my area. Mobile Spinach had two deals that were each about an hour away. The others showed me deals in cities that were at least 5-6 hours away by car.

I tapped on one of the Groupon deals. Instead of letting me buy the certificate directly in the app, it took me to Groupon’s website. Not the most efficient, considering I’m on my iPhone. For me, it would really make more sense just to get the Groupon app, since Groupon is the only deal provider truly in my area, and the dedicated app just works better. But for you, it will really just depend where you live.

I personally do not like the kinds of “coupons” that you have to buy ahead of time. I’ve bought a few, but I feel like these companies must make some portion of their profit from people who buy these and then forget to redeem them in time. Because yes, these “coupons” do expire, even though you have paid for them. That said, I know a lot of people buy and use these “coupons” all the time, and I’m sure they save a lot of money this way. The bottom line is: if you live in a major American city and love this particular sort of coupon, you’ll probably find this to be a worthwhile app.