Put All Your Rewards Cards On Your iPhone With CardStar

If you’re sick of grocery store rewards cards clogging up your wallet, and you love whipping out your iPhone in public, have we’ve got an app for you. CardStar lets you punch in all your reward cards into your iPhone. At checkout, just click the CardStar icon, select the merchant from your saved list, and show the screen. They can scan the barcode right from the image. Usually $.99, the app is currently free for a limited time. A handy way for iPhone users to reduce clutter and fumbling for rewards cards when shopping.

CardStar [iTunes Store via ProBargainHunter]
Official Site


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  1. KStrike155 says:

    I was going to post a comment about how barcodes cannot be read from LCD screens using the “laser” scanners at stores (but they can with the newer “digital camera” type of scanners) but then I found this article:

    Very interesting. I have the app but then never used it because I read that it wouldn’t be able to be read properly. I’ll have to give it a try now.

    • dialing_wand says:

      @KStrike155: The reviews for the app (all two of them) are quite negative. 17 other (star-rating-only reviews) are just as bad.

      Too bad, it really is a great idea.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @KStrike155: I’ve had the app for about two weeks now. I haven’t been able to get the effin thing to work once.

  2. AudreyLazor says:

    Didn’t work for me, but I suppose it was due to Giant Eagle and Kroger using the “laser” scanner mentioned above.

  3. arthurborko says:

    Strange, they don’t include Shoprite….

  4. Bailen says:

    I’m going to have to try this out. Unfortunately many of the cards I would load up on here have picture ID on the card as well, I somehow doubt they will accept this instead. :(

  5. mrmysterious says:

    Those without an iPhone can use [www.justoneclubcard.com] , been using it for years.

    • Nathan Oliver says:

      @mrmysterious: Seconding this recommendation.

      I’ve been using my card for a year or so, and it works great. I get a few strange reactions from the employees sometimes, but they’re usually willing to scan it. And it thinned down my wallet considerably!

    • oneandone says:

      @mrmysterious: Great link! Just sent it to some friends w overstuffed wallets. Thanks!

  6. bornonbord says:

    errmmm… You usually have to hand it to a cashier to scan it. I’m not giving a $300 electronic device to a teenager to ‘swipe’….

    I absolutely love the concept though. I hate having all the little guys on my key chain, and worse, cards in my wallet. Turning into a Costanza wallet over here…

    • Dethzilla says:

      @bornonbord: yeah… because once it’s in his hands he’s going to steal all your contacts and read your emails… you know you want him to compliment you on your pimp phone so you can tell him how it’s changed your life.

      • XTC46 says:

        @Dethzilla: Its more likely he will drop it or bang it against the glass scanning surface trying to get it to read wich could cause damage.

    • Timbojones says:

      @bornonbord: I don’t keep any of those cards on me. Every place I shop that uses a purchase tracking card will allow you to enter a phone number in lieu of swiping the card. Usually you can do it on the pin pad without even reciting the number to the cashier.

      Actually since my home number has changed so many times in the decade since I moved out of my parents’ house, and I don’t remember which number is on file with which store, I just use my parents’ phone number. Sometimes I giggle thinking of how it affects their purchase tracking when the same account buys things in Portland and Seattle on the same day.

  7. newdeepdan says:

    I tried this out in Duane Reade the other day and it will not work. Also Pathmark… didn’t work there either.

  8. pmcpa4 says:

    yes, 90% of the bar code readers out there won’t be able to read an LCD Screen, I think that’s why the app went free.

  9. tfvdw2at says:

    I have five cards on mine, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Petco, Petsmart and Bloom and they all work 100% of the time. But I also have a matte screen protector on my iPhone.

  10. watchwhathappens says:

    I put a few in and only one of them (CVS) now shows a bar code. The others just show the account #. Wonder why that is…

  11. ElizabethD says:

    This is potentially a wonderful idea if the bugs mentioned above can be worked out. I have a wallet crammed to bursting with customer cards and am constantly losing one or another at inconvenient times.

    • CoffeeChewer says:

      @ElizabethD: I wouldn’t really call “doesn’t work with 90% of bar code readers” a bug. A bug, for example, would be that it takes too long to flip between merchants on your iphone. I call this a crippling limitation.

      • Shadowfire says:

        @CoffeeChewer: KStrike posted an article in the first comment about why this is so different than other programs, and how well it works.

        It taking time to flip between merchants is not a bug. That is a design issue, to be sure, but a bug is more like “when I try to go to this card, the program crashes,” or “cards from X merchant generate the wrong bar code.”

        The amount of time it takes is really that bad? When you’re waiting in line, doing nothing else?

        • CoffeeChewer says:

          @Shadowfire: I think you missed my point. My point is that if the thing doesn’t work on 90% of scanners because of the LCD screen, then you can’t call that a bug. It’s a huge crippling design flaw. I gave an example of a bug, but you took it too literally.

  12. saigumi says:

    I thought some guy did this way back when the first iPhone came out by taking pictures of the card… and the next few days finding out it didn’t work whatsoever and the cashiers had to type in the number to get it to work, rendering it not near as useful as you think it would be and just making you out to be more of an ass.

  13. robdew2 says:

    Just like the “print your own multi-code card” idea, this is a great idea in theory. In practice it doesn’t work.

    And yes, I bought CardStar and tried it when it was free starting last week. Multiple times.

    • Wombatish says:

      @robdew2: Except the “print your own multi-code card” idea -does- work for supported merchants.

      The iPhone app only works for select supported merchants…

  14. Erik Schlange says:

    Couldn’t get it to work at Stop & Shop.

  15. smakdphat says:

    Used it for the first time yesterday at CVS. worked perfectly. the clerk was “intrigued”.

    I’ve put about 8 cards in the app, but haven’t had a chance to try more than CVS.

    I still feel like a douche using it, but it did work

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been eagerly waiting for a similar program for the G1. It’s being created by Froogloid. Check it out here http://www.froogloid.com/key-ring
    Hopefully it will work with the scanners that most stores have. From what I’ve read it seems that you will be able to scan your club card with the barcode scanner program on the phone and save it.

  17. jonnypage says:

    @undefined: I’m not handing my ipod to a grocery store clerk, thanks.

  18. professorjonathan says:

    I’m going to try the scan and display image method with my Palm TX. Curious if it works.

  19. Jeff Rapp says:

    @KStrike155: Most stores use the old-school (yet completely reliable) 1D laser barcode readers. Theses rely on the reflection of the laser to get a good read – something which cannot be done with a screen of any type – LCD or CRT.

    However, some stores (I’ve seen them at Target) are moving to the newer 2D scanners which actually take a photo of the barcode and then decode that. This allows them to scan the 2D barcode on the back of your driver’s license. These types of scanners are still relatively expensive and not as reliable as the laser type scanners.

  20. dopplerd says:

    I have taped all of my various reward card bar codes to the back of my library card. Now I only need to carry one card and can score deals on groceries and check out books and dvds.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Another option is to scan your cards at a high resolution and create a photo album in the Iphone. I’ve been doing this for over a year and it works fine. It is hit or miss if it can be scanned, but worse comes to worse, they can manually enter your card numbers. Not to mention, most of my cards are for stores not listed in this app. so this works better for me.

  22. sashazur says:

    I found a cheaper method that gets the same results, and it works at all stores – even if you don’t have a rewards card:

    Just get a sharpie and write the word DORK on your forehead.

    (But seriously, this sounds like a cool concept which is a little ahead of it’s time)

  23. goodcow says:

    I had to return something to the Apple Store once and just let them scan the bar code from the receipt PDF right off my iPhone E-Mail.

  24. seattleperson says:

    Don’t most places just let you type your phone number in? That’s a pretty hassle-free way to do it and it will save the time of having to pull up the program on your phone. I don’t carry any cards around anymore.

  25. Haggie1 says:


    You input up to eight rewards cards and it prints them all with barcodes on one piece of paper that folds to the size of a credit card.

    Free and it works! And isn’t limit to iSheeple…

  26. halo969 says:

    It’s apps like this that is killing me right now waiting for my T-Mobile contract to expire so I can switch to AT&T and get an iPhone. Only one more month to go …. (I’ve been waiting since January!)

  27. k8supergrover says:

    If this works it’s going to change my life. No joke. I wonder if/when they will get airmiles?