On Dec. 13, the Small Business Beanstalk will launch a new mobile application that allows users to find independent Columbus businesses, receive discounts from them and earn points for shopping local.

On Dec. 13, the Small Business Beanstalk will launch a new mobile application that allows users to find independent Columbus businesses, receive discounts from them and earn points for shopping local.

"This is our fourth attempt at creating an app," said SBB founder Timothy Wolf Starr, who demoed the app for Alive on Monday. "This is the best one we've been able to come up with."

For many, the mobile program will replace the organization's trademark key fob - a free discount card good for specials and discounts from roughly 500 restaurants, bars and shops.

The app, for iOS and Android devices, will be launched during a holiday party Tuesday at Wall Street Nightclub. A new mobile website also is in the works and could be released by then, Starr said.

Starr mentioned that the mobile app will fix several distinct problems that the SBB has faced with its key cards. Here's how.

Problem: Cardholders often forget to bring their cards when eating out or shopping.

Solution: The app allows users to register their current cards on a mobile device, Starr said. Businesses can scan the virtual version like a normal card.

Problem: Cardholders are unsure which businesses offer discounts.

Solution: A GPS-powered map will list the 15 member businesses closest to a user's current location, Starr said. A master list of businesses can be searched by neighborhood or type of service.

Problem: Once cardholders find a business, they are unsure what discounts are offered.

Solution: Clicking on a business's map icon will bring up its contact info and what discounts it offers, Starr explained. This information is also available when users search for businesses in other lists.

Problem: Members who carry their cards don't always want to use them, often because they fear taking profit from indie operations.

Solution: Starr said users are encouraged to take advantage of discounts and specials. However, app users can earn points by checking in at local businesses, even if they don't claim a discount there. Points, called "beans," can be redeemed for free gifts, including T-shirts and concert tickets.