$30 Million And Three Years Later, Mysterious Payments App Clinkle Finally Launches
And it looks like it's a way different app than what it was first positioned to be.
"Our goal is to completely modernize how payments work," the app's founder, Lucas Duplan, told Business Insider last year. "What we're trying to do is basically take your phone and have it for the first time be able to rival cash and credit cards. We've developed a way for consumers to download an app, no hardware needed, and achieve scale from a software point of view."
Instead, it now looks like it's a prepaid debit card program. And it looks like it's only available in "select colleges," according to its site.
Clinkle will send you a physical card, which you can load and reload with money.
You can then earn what Clinkle calls "Treats." Treats can also be sent to friends. They can do things like refund a purchase you made, or even pay for a friend's purchase. But it's still a little unclear how these Treats work.
Clinkle can also be used to send money to friends, kind of like Venmo or PayPal.
And that's about it. There are no fees to load money onto the card or use treats, although there are some fees involved, which are explained in the cardholder agreement.
This is a very different approach for the app, which was supposed to replace credit cards and cash. But it might not be a big surprise.
After Apple announced its mobile payments system, Apple Pay, Clinkle told Business Insider that it's no longer focusing on its original plans: "Last year, we made the decision to focus our product around consumer engagement, not the hardware layer of storing payment instruments, so we are excited that this will give customers yet another way to use their Clinkle card," Duplan told Business Insider in an email after the Apple event. "We look forward to working with Apple and others that will likely enter the space."