CardStar Helps Slim Down Your Wallet


From my experience there are two schools of people: those that hoard every receipt, card, and banknote (see: George Costanza) and those who prefer to carry as light a load as possible. CardStar is best suited for the latter category, providing a quick and easy way to digitize your plastic. Simply enter the account number for your reward, discount, or membership club card and CardStar generates a scannable barcode that can be used when ringing in purchases at your favorite stores.


The app has been available on iPhone since last summer, but the Android version has launched alongside a new BlackBerry app to meet customer demand. Several retailers — including Best Buy, Blockbuster, and Staples — are already set up with CardStar, enriching your entered accounts with store locations and phone numbers.

I’ve flirted with the money clip, and am a fan of moving towards using mobile phones as a hub for making purchases. If it became the standard imagine how much plastic and paper use could be cut down, and it sure would shore up some much needed space in the back pocket. Click here to download the app.


[CardStar via IntoMobile]

Kevin Krause
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  1. qr fail

  2. How is this different than key ring? Would love a breakdown of one vs. the other.

  3. does this include your debit?

    does it have a ledger to write down your transactions and keep up with your bank statement? that’s what i want

  4. Just tried key ring on my incredible, camera works awesome to grab the bar code and file it. But I think the screen is to glossy? for store readers to read the bar codes after inputted. I trying two different cards and 2 different places and both readers couldn’t read the bar code.

  5. Keyring is better, also, these barcodes only scan via gun scanners, not the flatbed barcode scanners. So make sure the store clerks use their guns on your phone!

  6. @Ryan – Key Ring has brightness adjustment for the app, usually it has to be turned down. Also, make sure you read their help file, it will help when getting the scanner to read at the store. :)

    It’s not for debit/credit. Those don’t have bar codes.

  7. @Ryan: I emailed the developer of KeyRing about a month ago about some barcodes having extra numbers (REI, Randalls, and Petsmart) when scanned in. He acknowledged a bug and said he would fix it soon. At least one update has come out since then but he didn’t give me any notice of fixing the bug and I haven’t tried rescanning since then.

  8. Key Ring works great if the clerks use the hand scanner and if you set the brightness all the way down (in the app).

  9. The problem with Key Ring is more a problem with the store scanners. The more diffuse multi-laser scanners (like the flat-beds) don’t work as well as the guns. CVS uses guns, and work every time. I use self check-out at one supermarket that has a gun available and no problem. Sometimes it takes asking the cashier to use the gun. Often, if I move it across the upright flatbed just right (MOVING it and correct distance are the keys) that seems to do it. Practice seems to be helping as well. Key Ring also seems to be working better since the last update went to a white background instead of black.

  10. Hey all – one of the developers of Key Ring here.

    @ryan, the Incredible is a fantastic phone but that glossy screen does cause issues with anything but hand scanners (guns). One thing we built into Key Ring is the ability to set custom brightness settings per card so you can adjust the screen for the environment you are in. This usually helps a lot.

    @fangorious, I just replied to email you sent earlier. It appears you’re referring to the check digits in your barcode. Please let us know if you have any follow-up questions.

    ~ Team Key Ring

  11. Hey all – one of the developers of Key Ring here.

    @ryan, the Incredible is a fantastic phone but that glossy screen does cause issues with anything but hand scanners (guns). As Terry mentioned one feature we built into Key Ring is the ability to set custom brightness settings per card so you can adjust the screen for the environment you are in. This usually helps a lot.

    @fangorious, I apologize if we missed something with regards to number of digits in the card. From the feedback we’ve received REI, Randalls, and Petsmart all work based on the barcode we generate, the problem is the check digits used in the barcodes for CODE128 – it makes the numbers look like they don’t match but the barcode should scan just fine. Hopefully you should have also received an email response from Chris tonight as well.

    We’ve got a new release coming out in the next day or two which will have some more options for adjusting how cards display, we’ve always created a new way to quickly browse and launch cards from the home screen which is pretty cool.

    Please keep the feedback coming, we’re here to help and continue improving the app based on what we’re hearing from our users.

  12. Lol I love how the comments all revolve around Key Ring and not CardStar. I was really excited about CardStar when I first heard about it but they took too long releasing their Android version. I already have my cards in Key Ring now. That being said I haven’t had a lot of success scanning my cards at retailers. I always use self checkout and they don’t have a gun, and even Staples with their hand scanner couldn’t get it to work. And the Smith’s gas station scanner won’t work. Kind of disappoitned by that but it’s not the developer’s fault.

  13. I’ve been waiting for an app like this, but didn’t know it existed. Downloaded Cardstar. Well…the logo’s prettier than Key Ring’s, but that’s about it. Scan is utter fail and trying to use it at Borders during lunch was a comedy of errors in and of itself.

    From what I’ve read here, Key Ring seems better and the fact that their devteam is willing to be interactive with the users (as seen above) shows a lot of promise. While I did like Cardstar’s manual input a little better, I think I’ll stick with Key Ring.

  14. Hey All – Ross here from Key Ring again. Thanks for all the comments. Success of scanning at the point of sale remains a challenge for certain phones. Something we’re doing right now is working with some major retailers to come up with ways to make the barcode itself less of a focus, and to put things like points and discounts front and center. In reality that’s the whole reason for theses programs in the first place, to be rewarded. You’ll see some of this rolling out over the next few weeks. Please feel free to reach out anytime with questions, comments, or complaints. User feedback is a big part of out development cycle and we really value it. Cheers all.

  15. Scanned REI membership card into phone, but when I presented it to cashier they recieved a invalid barcode message. Any suggestions?

  16. RE: keyring…So for some reason i can’t scan the barcodes to get the cards onto the phone so i am entering them all manually…all the tips i am finding on the internet are about how to get them to scan at the store…any help for scanning into the phone in the first place? Also REI issue…which numbers are the barcode? the member ship number or the other 6 digits on the side…neither look right

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