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Barcode Junkie

How a simple app saved my frugality by getting rid of my barcode fob addiction

Written by John Boyer, SystemID Account Manager

Mentally say “yes” if you have a barcoded keyring fob or membership card in your wallet. It was easy to get, right? Just fill out a brief intrusion into your life and off you go to savings bliss. Well at least that was the plan. 

Key Ring full of Barcoded Loyalty Cards
With so many businesses offering loyalty programs that come with a barcoded key-ring fob, it’s not hard to get a very full key-ring like this.

Suddenly everywhere you go you a new loyalty card is being offered. I personally have one key-ring fob for each of the following companies: Kroger’s, Tom Thumb, AMC Theatres, Starbucks, Ikea, Dick’s Sporting Goods, CVS, Walgreens, Anna’s linens, GameStop, Brookshire’s, Best Buy, Office Max, Office depot, Pet Smart, Adventure Kids and LA Fitness. If that was not enough, I also have another 5 or so loyalty cards in my wallet.

It’s always a good laugh at the car dealership to hand over roughly 3 lbs of tags with my car key in tow. I had a clip from Home Depot that helped secure my collection to a belt loop. Micromanaging my collection was a mental task in eliminating tags that I would not need for the day. I would leave my keys with the cashier at times or misplace valuable cards.

Okay, so some may say I have a problem. I was faced with a choice…ditch barcodes and say goodbye to my frugal ways or tattooing the codes to my arms.

Late September, I had a chance encounter while surfing the App store in my iPhone. With one click of the Get App button, I had my solution. Key Ring, as it is aptly called, was the ever elusive solution to my code 3 of 9 habit.

Entering loyalty card into Key Ring app
On the left, I’m scanning my CVS loyalty card into the Key Ring app. On the right is what is looks like in the app. I blurred the numbers so no one is tempted to use my CVS rewards.

You simply download the free app from your App store or Marketplace. You then scan your barcodes with any camera equipped cellphone. You can also manually input card numbers for cards that do not contain barcodes. That clears out the non-fob loyalty cards stacking up in your wallet. It even has the ability to create a barcode with several barcode symbologies. I have tried the application on an iPad 2, iPod touch, HTC Wildfire, and Rumor touch and the application was a breeze to use with proper lighting.

Once you have done the hard work of inputting the cards, the program will bedazzle you with an array of cool features, from getting into new programs to tweeting deals to your friends. The store locator is also handy when needing to fill a script at the closest pharmacy. Grocery chains such as Kroger and Tom Thumb support embedded coupons for quick paperless checkout. There is a notes section for grocery lists. Sharing membership cards with family members and switching devices is also made easy with enrollment in a key ring backup account.

Worn Barcode on keyfob loyalty card
With the Key Ring app, I don’t have to worry about the barcodes rubbing off from repeated use.

With this application, I was able to loose 3lbs off my hips! Well, more like off of my key ring. No more forgotten keys at the counter moments. No more guessing the right amount of key fobs for a shopping trip. No more having to wear a jacket to accommodate my frugal ways. Now I simply let the cashier scan my phone. There are occasions where companies cannot read the barcodes, but hopefully their management will upgrade their scanners from laser to imager technology such as the ones that SystemID Warehouse carries.

I rate this App a 10 out of 10.


John Boyer, SystemID Account Rep
John Boyer, SystemID Account Manager

John is a senior account manager for SystemID. Since 2001, he has helped set up a variety of automated data collection systems for many businesses of all sizes. He’ll take on any business challenge and is proud to hear that his customers’ systems are successful.

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System ID is the leading barcode solutions provider for small- and medium-sized businesses. With an unprecedented 30 years' experience, the company helps customers improve productivity and profitability by recommending the best barcode solution for their organization. Their personal approach to service and unsurpassed product knowledge attracts customers looking for the latest technology to auomate manual processes, scale existing systems, and optimize inefficient environments.