Does your chocolate choice show your politics? CrowdTwist says yes

Timed to Halloween and the presidential election, New York-based social loyalty startup CrowdTwist analyzed user data related to brand preferences for chocolate and political affiliation. Its data suggest that Democrats tend to prefer non-premium chocolate, while Republicans opt for more up-market sweets.

Marqeta recreates Starbucks loyalty card for merchants

Marqeta is trying to give merchants a Starbucks card-like approach to loyalty with a new card-based system that lets people preload cash on to a Marqeta card for a specific merchant, who throws in extra cash as a reward.

Foursquare beefs up merchant tools as it prepares to make money

Foursquare is building out its merchant services by adding a new tool called Local Update that allows businesses to reach loyal customers nearby with news and updates. This is part of an effort to make Foursquare’s business tools valuable enough that merchants will pay for it.

LevelUp declares payment war, kills interchange fee for merchants

LevelUp, a Boston-based loyalty and payment startup, is laying down the gauntlet to other payment competitors by doing away with processing fees forever in what it calls a bid to achieve “Interchange Zero.” It will only make money from selling offers and loyalty services.

Apps get better at retaining users, iOS more than Android

App users are a flaky group, easily discarding apps in favor of the hot new thing. But new data suggests they are developing more loyal toward apps, abandoning them less frequently and visiting their favorite apps more often, according to app analytics firm Localytics.

LevelUp adds $12M to build out payment service

LevelUp, the local loyalty and payment app, is getting $12 million to expand the service nationwide. The service, which is an offshoot of location start-up SCVNGR, now has 200,000 users, who are spending $2 million a month with the app.

Mobile payments coming to a loyalty/deals app near you

Groupon is reportedly testing out its own Square-like mobile payment service. It’s a sign that local deals and loyalty providers are increasingly looking at adding mobile payments services to help build out their tool set for merchants and retailers.

Mirth and Cardify link loyalty rewards to credit cards

Mirth and Cardify are two of the latest start-ups that are building loyalty programs that tie into credit and debit card accounts. That’s a growing opportunity thanks to enablers like CardSpring but it also means more competition.