Great check-in and local discount apps for your Android phone

by Kristen Nicole

Since your Android can share your location, brands can give you discounts when you need them most — while you're at the store. Location-based search brings discounts on-demand, while check-in apps let you see local reviews from friends or experts. Here are some of the best check-in and discount apps available in the Android market.

Social check-ins

Foursquare helps you explore your locale, with user-generated information that offers tips and reviews. Free, this Android app lets you check in at various locations as you explore, rewarding you with badges and points, the more active you become. Brands will often reward you with special Foursquare badges of their own, giving you local discounts and more.

Facebook just updated its Android app, incorporating the new “Places feature.” You can share your location with friends, and discover new places as your friends check in, as well. To sweeten things up, Facebook's added “Deals” to this free app, so brands can send discounts and alerts based on your location.

The infamous Yelp added check-ins to its app, letting you bookmark your visits to a particular venue. You can share quick tips on a location, and alert friends on Yelp and Facebook. The free Android app is full of great local business reviews and has several settings for check-ins and alerts, but not as much in the way of brand discounts.

Gowalla is a lot like Foursquare, making local check-ins a bit like a game. Share places with your friends, learn of local gems, and receive tips about nearby shops, landmarks and more. Earn rewards and badges to add to your passport, and get local discounts from brands using this free app.

Local discounts

LivingSocial brings daily deals straight to your Android, with local offers you can redeem from your phone. Search by city, find deals at retailers, spas and restaurants, and purchase the local voucher straight from your phone. The free app provides full details of the voucher redemption, and will even navigate you there.

The Coupons App keeps track of your coupons, saving them to your calendar, map and cell phone. Want to find out if there are any coupons for that item you're eying at the store? Scan the barcode to do a search. This free Android app lets you share coupons as well, and acts as a digital coupon carrier for in-store redemption.

CardStar keeps all your rewards cards in one convenient app. Add a merchant and their contact info, and start receiving points on your mobile loyalty card. Any deals offered from supporting retailers will also arrive as alerts on your Android. Free, CardStar is constantly adding new retailer cards to its database.

Another rewards card keeper is Key Ring Reward Cards, which features a huge database of participating programs. With this free Android app, you can back up, restore and print cards, receive grocery store coupons for select chains, and search for nearby stores. Take notes, join new programs, and save tons of cash using this app.

Cellfire Grocery Coupons lets you save coupons to your grocery card, which are then automatically discounted when you check out. This Android app is free, but you'll need to shop at a participating grocer, such as Safeway or Kroger. It's a forward-thinking app, complete with a barcode scanner and local store search.

Want to search multiple deals at once? DealsDroid tracks several sites, like Woot, SlickDeals and BonkTown, delivering notifications when an item of interest becomes available. If your idea of shopping is the thrill of the hunt, this free Android app offers both convenience and excitement.