If you’re like most people, you have a stack of reward cards somewhere on your person. It seems that just about every business today has a card for you to carry in your wallet or on your keychain to use for rewards or savings. I know I had several bulking up my wallet on a regular basis.
In comes Key Ring Reward Cards by Mobestream Media. Key Ring allows you to scan the barcode on your rewards card and store it on your phone. You can then bring up the barcode for that particular store and have them scan it directly off your phone. I thought this was a brilliant idea and jumped at the chance to clean out my wallet.
Setting up the application is very simple. You create an account with Key Ring, which allows you to sync your cards so you don’t lose them after scanning. You can then begin scanning in your cards one at a time. Scanning is no different than scanning any other barcode through Android. Line up the red line through the middle of the barcode and it should pic up the numbers. You can then choose from a list of retailers or give it a custom name (I’ve yet to run into a card they didn’t already have in their database). If the barcode won’t scan, you can enter in the numbers manually and it will produce a barcode for you. You can also peruse special offers based on the cards/retailers you’ve entered.
Once you’re setup you simply need to select the appropriate reward card and present it to the cashier like you would your actual card. If they are unable to scan the barcode (which happens often, unfortunately) you can switch to the number view and the clerk can type the number in manually. The tips in the program suggest that “Optical” scanners are the ideal type of scanner for the software and that “laser” or line scanners rarely work….which I’ve found is pretty accurate. Unfortunately, most places employ laser scanners. If the clerk grabs for one of those hand scanner guns, it’s likely a laser scanner. I’ve found it works much better if you get a chance to clean off the screen before presenting it to the clerk to scan.
Overall, I really like the idea of this application. When it works, it’s fantastic! However, through no fault of it’s own, it just hasn’t been all that helpful to me. Laser scanners are just a little too prevalent currently, and I’m a little too impatient to then resort to pulling up the number and asking the clerk to go that route instead. There are some places I’ve just stopped trying to use it because I know it’s not going to work. I’ve gotten mixed responses from clerks as well. Anything from annoyed (“Oh…another one of these phone barcodes. They never work.”), to intrigued (That’s really neat! What’s that called!”). I can usually tell which ones are going to work and which ones won’t from the clerks initial reaction. Key Ring itself is free, so it’s certainly worth checking out if you have an over abundance of reward cards and slightly more patience than me. Just be prepared in case it does not work at every retailer.
Link: Key Ring Reward Cards