While shopping at Highpoint  today I noticed that they had a new loyalty system. It’s called Mo Rewards  (for which the real web site is at MoCoMedia.net  which has no link from the main site because they didn’t care enough about their web presence).
The way that Mo works is that everyone gets a free RFID token similar to the two in the above photograph. The token comes with a pseudo-random seven letter code that you have to SMS to register it to your phone. You SMS the code and then receive a confirmation SMS. After that you can wave your token near a detector any time you visit the shopping center and you will receive three SMS messages with discount offers. You can send an SMS with your gender and birth-year to receive more targeted offers. To redeem offers you have to wave your token near a detector at the store so they know who is using the offers.
Then of course once the database knows that you are a regular customer at a certain shop they can send you targeted advertising to entice you to buy from that shop on every visit. I presume that they have some sort of bidding system for adverts from the shops of a similar nature to the Google advertising.
It’s an interesting system and a lot better than most loyalty programs.
One interesting thing about this is that high quality RFID devices are being given out for free. The tokens are quite solidly constructed and could be used for a variety of other purposes. I couldn’t find anyone offering RFID tags at a reasonable price with a quick Google search (the cheapest was $75 for 100 tags – and they were the fragile ones used for marking stock in shops). So a hobbyist who wanted to do some RFID stuff could buy a cheap reader under one of the demo offers (where you get a reader and a small quantity of keys for a reasonable price) and then collect free RFID tokens from shopping centers. I expect that the number of people who would do such things is small enough to not be statistically significant and therefore not affect the business model. The tags are given out freely with no requirement that you must use them for the expected purpose (Mo Rewards) instead of using them for your own RFID work.