SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Axxess card has clicked with customers, businesses, non-profits and schools for more than 20 years in Santa Barbara and Ventura, with a stimulus now nearing $4-million.
If you are used to a colorful book with categories, business pictures and discount information - that's gone. Instead you get your Axxess card, install an app on your phone and start searching for deals.
Some are two-for-one, some are a percentage of your purchase, and some are deals that are on going for the year.
The app is also full of the same descriptions, menus and information you would find in the book. In this case, it's a simple click-through.
For businesses in a slump during the COVID crisis, this could be a jump-starter to welcome customers back and also get new customers to visit who have previously never gone through the front doors or ordered online.
For schools and nonprofits, when donations and other fundraisers have had a shocking setback, this is a consistent stream of income based on sales, year-in and year-out.
Axxess Card Founder and President Karim Kaderali says, there is "a new app, a whole new website which is very featured and content rich so you've got merchant photos, merchant facebook pages, instagram pages," and links for the customer to see more about a business than ever.
Axxess app sales for the new year have started. The purchase price of $40. automatically sends $13. directly to a school of your choice. Many parents of school children and the students themselves are out promoting the sales, and the link to their school's fundraising efforts.
Kaderali says the funding is needed more than ever.
"I've got schools that are using the money to build out these plastic pods and safety precautions because this is costing them money they didn't really have," he said about the funds coming in. The COVID costs have added to the need for spacing dividers and learning at home supplies.
With so many sectors of the economy trying to hang on, these discount deals might have gone away, but the long range value has a payoff in several ways.
Over the years, Axxess has been the starter for a long term relationship between a customer and a business.
Right now there are about 1000 merchants and 400 two for one offers.
Of them, "about 600 businesses like nail salons, car washes, pet foods things that you use every day and that's where the true savings, really," said Kaderali .
One of the businesses that has seen a payoff from Axxess is Core Power Yoga. It accepts Axxess from customers and the staff uses it in their everyday life.
Gabby Escamilla is a Core Power manager.
She says the deal there is, " it's either they can redeem the two weeks of free yoga with the Axxess card or they have the one time use of 30 percent off a retail item."
Off duty Escamilla keeps her card and app handy. "I love it. There's great restaurants, it definitely supports locally businesses in town and a way to get the word out."
A new plan this year also lets you direct a donation with each use that pays out to a school, a non profit, or in the case of a student - a gift prize. You can list them on your app settings. They can be changed at any time.
Kaderali says, "pick a school or nonprofit and that starts in January. So every time you use your app, a nickle is being donated by us, not by you or the school or the merchant, to the school or non profit of your choice." He says it may sound like a small amount but it adds up and will be a welcomed surprise check for the recipient.
Axxess is also offering a start up plan at no cost to new businesses as part of a COVID relief plan .
"We will put you in Axxess as part of the family for three to four months for free and prove that it works because you can't afford us right now to pay us," said Kaderali. "We'll go to bat and put our word on the line and hopefully have a long term client and be able to help somebody."
Kaderali also says for those who want to give this as a holiday gift, you can order now and the packet of information which includes the card and details on the app will arrive in December.
For more information visit the Axxess website.