Do you carry barcoded merchant “Reward Cards” with you when you shop? I used to attach the mini versions to my keychain but I had too many: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Giant and several more. Of course, when I removed them from the keychain, they were never with me when I was shopping at my favorite locations, so I never got the “rewards.” Sometimes the store will try to find my account by phone number, but that’s hit or miss.
For a while, I tried to use my iPhone camera to capture and carry the barcodes around, but it’s just not suited for close-up, detailed photos. I’d say I had a 50 percent or so success rate with that method.
The Consumerist just made mention of CardStar, which you can find in the iTunes App Store. It’s currently free, but only for a limited time, so I just nabbed it. At some point, it will cost 99 cents, which I still think is a bargain. CardStar doesn’t need the barcode image from your reward cards. Instead, you simply enter the numbers from your card and CardStar creates the barcode for you. It makes for a much cleaner look and should be easily readable when at the store. CardStar includes support for over 190 merchants, and you can add your own using the Advanced features.