Local

The B-Local app has launched. Here’s what you need to know.

"Boston Points" can save you some cash at certain local businesses.

Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

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Boston shoppers scanning locally-owned stores for deals just got one from the city.

The B-Local app, developed by the City of Boston and Colu Technologies, launched recently as a city-run pilot program to incentivize business at neighborhood stores and restaurants hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they need our help to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” acting Mayor Kim Janey said in a statement. “This dynamic program is a proven and powerful economic tool.”

How it works

The free app is available for download on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Users can securely link debit cards, credit cards, or prepaid debit cards to their app accounts, according to a press release. (Officials said the first 3,000 users to link a card “will receive a bonus.”)

Shoppers and diners can use their linked cards at participating businesses to earn “Boston Points.”

Users can then redeem the points for discounts on future purchases. Each “Boston Point” is worth $1.

Who is on it

As of Friday, 269 businesses were enrolled to participate on B-Local.

City officials say the businesses are evenly distributed across Boston’s neighborhoods and include: 185 minority and immigrant-owned businesses, 143 woman-owned businesses, 53 Main Streets businesses, and 46 Black-owned businesses.

“B-Local will highlight the stories and experiences of our business owners to connect with residents, particularly those owned by women, immigrants, and people of color who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” Midori Morikawa, interim chief of economic development, said in a statement. “Business owners have demonstrated tremendous resilience throughout the pandemic and with B-Local, we as residents can make a real impact to help as they reopen and recover.”

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Any business in Boston can participate on the app, according to officials.

Businesses will be reimbursed for “Boston Points” discounts by the city through the federal CARES Act.

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