Best deal: Hinsdale man finds there’s an app for that
Raj Kuppuswami of Hinsdale shows off the Smorecard app he helped create. | Curtis Lehmkuhl—Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 18, 2013 1:15AM
HINSDALE — Figuring out which credit card to pull out for a purchase has just gotten a lot easier for smartphone users.
Dr. Raj Kuppuswami, a Hinsdale resident and physician at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, has devised the Smorecard app that allows consumers to maximize credit card rewards.
“If you earn cash back or rewards on your credit cards, the app tells you what is the better deal for purchases with the cards you have,” Kuppuswami said.
While reviewing his credit-card bills in July 2011, Kuppuswami came up with the idea. He was not getting the cash back on purchases that he expected. After some telephone calls and other research, he found that points and cash-back promotions are rotated.
Kuppuswami notes the fine print on ads that claim 3 or 5 percent cash back on all grocery purchases may be only for a three-month period. That cash-back offer then may change to 3 percent on gas or some other purchase.
He knew he was not alone in his confusion, so the idea of the Smorecard was born. Kuppuswami and his business partner, Senthil Palaniappan, began working on the free smartphone app in February.
“The user is never sure of the cards he has which is the best to use. If you have credit card XYZ, you are likely not going to read the fine print to know that the rewards are not always going to be the same.”
The app’s computer system keeps track of the rotating deals the credit cards entered are offering. It lets you know for a certain store or restaurant, what is the best way to pay with plastic. It also compares points to miles to cash back, providing a guide as the best option for that purchase.
“We don’t ask for your identification or confidential information,” Kuppuswami said. “You just list the cards you have.”
Kuppuswami, a Hinsdale resident since 2009, said he is not advocating for individuals to always use a credit card for purchases. He said for individuals who use credit cards wisely and pay their bills on time, the app can be a useful tool.
The Good Sam radiologist, who studied mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois, said he developed an entrepreneurial spirit at school. And while he went to Stanford Medical School and got into a specialty field of medicine, he still considered pursuing a business opportunity.
Kuppuswami said people can customize the app to fit their needs. If they want to add a gas card or some other credit card not listed on the app currently, it can be added with a telephone call, he said.
Smorecard debuted in the Apple Store in November and has been well received thus far, Kuppuswami said.
“Everyone is interested in seeing they get the best value,” according to Kuppuswami.
Smorecard is available on the Apple Store. For information, visit www.smorecard.com.