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Target’s Mobile GiftCards Use Virtual Barcodes

Target just released their Mobile GiftCard, which eliminates the need to bring Target GiftCards into the store in order to redeem them. Customers can save GiftCard information to a PIN-secure account on the Target.com mobile site. Then, using a mobile phone with Internet capabilities, the customer can retrieve GiftCard barcodes for scanning at checkout for purchases or to add to the balance. Customers can check GiftCard balances at any time via the Target.com mobile site. Also, customers can save multiple GiftCards to their account and label each one for easy reference.

target-mobile-giftcardTarget’s point-of-sale scanning technology is the key to making the Mobile GiftCard work. The traditional laser barcode scanner or omnidirectional retail scanner aren’t able to scan a barcode on a cell phone screen. A 2D barcode scanner, also called an area imager, is required. The barcode generated for the Mobile GiftCard is a 2D barcode. Even if it were a linear, or 1D, barcode, like a UPC, only an area imager can capture the barcode information on the screen of a cell phone or computer. 2D barcode scanners work like a camera and take a picture of the barcode in order to decode the information in it. That’s why many 2D barcode scanners can also capture signatures and images. Target had to install 2D barcode scanners at every register. It is the first major retailer with the ability to scan mobile barcodes in all of its 1740 stores nationwide.

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