The Color of Money is…Yellow? Lemon’s New “Wallet with a Twist”

Greg Bates, June 18th, 2012

LemonAs a retailer, are you tired of doling out receipts? Do you feel receipt remorse every time you hand that slip to a customer and you just know they will lose it, or worse, that they won’t lose and just leave it bulging in their wallet? The Lemon API can help retailers turn the downside of these transactions into opportunity. Each consumer using Lemon has a unique Lemon email address to organize 0their transactions.

The API posts retailers’ receipts to their customers’ Lemon mailboxes so that they stay organized—and out of shoppers’ personal inboxes. The API allows the retailer to create file formats for receipts to facilitate easy use by a consumer’s accounting software package. On top of this organizing help, the API can target the retailer’s coupons that are tailored to customer shopping preferences.

Other developers may want to use the API to integrate what Lemon claims is the “best in class receipt scanning technology” into their app.

The Lemon API is RESTful to integrate the receipt scanning functionality. The data returned is JSON-formatted.

Here’s how it works on the consumer side: Lemon replaces that bulging mess of receipts, cards and coupons by storing them on your phone. It then goes further to help “you access and use it in smart new ways. Think of it as your very own pocket-sized entourage that helps you track your spending, save money, and stay more secure.”

Four steps promise to make your wallet history:

First, you photograph your credit cards, debit cards loyalty cards and receipts.

Second, the Smarter Wallet organizes all that data so you can find them all.

Third, by tracking your expenses, Smarter Wallet puts you in touch with spending—literally. Tapping your credit card image on your smartphone brings up the balance. A loyalty card will show the rewards balance. Another tap can show where every dollar goes. Who knows; maybe you can use it to pinch enough pennies to pay for your your data plan.

Lastly, if you lose your phone, all that data is safe behind a password. Even better, all is not lost—you can download all that sensitive data to your next phone, “without missing a beat,” Lemon states.

But just how secure? We’re talking not just exposure to losing your cards, but to all that entails, including identity theft. As Kit Eaton wrote in FastCompany, “The app is secure with 32-bit encryption and allows you to remote-wipe the information contain within should you lose your phone (another option is to use Apple’s FindMyiPhone system to erase the entire device).”

Lemon has serious heft behind it. As the Wall Street Journal reported June 12, Lemon is backed by the financial tech entrepreneur Wences Casares, and “raised $8 million in a Series A round led by Maveron LLC.” The Maveron connection makes sense—the partnership was co-found by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, that company that sells… you got it, coffee loyalty cards. The board of advisors includes John Reed, the former CEO of Citibank, Carl Pascarella, the former CEO of Visa, and Jeff Stiefler, the former president of American Express.

Recent events suggest the company will need all that talent to avoid getting squeezed by that other fruit baron in the digital card space, Apple.

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