Picture of Bonus Card Barcode Hack
I got sick and tired of having a dozen little "bonus" cards to carry around, so I made this simple fix. Basically, I just scanned in all my barcodes, fit them nicely into a row in photoshop and then printed them out onto a card. There are more detailed instructions that follow if you need them. This page shows the finished product.

Step 1: Scan your barcodes

Picture of Scan your barcodes
Get all the cards you have with barcodes, line them up on a scanner and scan into the computer. I used grocery store bonus cards, gas station card, bookstore bonus card, library card, and student ID (of course I blurred them for this instructable just to be safe).
dleasure1 year ago
Go Zips
dlighter12 years ago
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card scanners
drmci13 years ago
Doesn't work with my windoze phone---think the screen is too reflective and scatters the laser, I think...maybe a screen protector would help? Anyone with experience?
angelabchua3 years ago
jumpfroggy4 years ago
Great idea! I've been meaning to do this for a while, since I hate how much bulk all those cards take. I've been too lazy, though.

I ended up finding an Android app "Key Ring" that does the same thing. I'll try it, see if their scanners can actually read the barcode. But this is such a useful thing, esp. since you can have one flat paper printout instead of many oddly shaped and thick plastic cards.

Key Ring works great for me! Typically no issues working with scanners. And since I travel constantly, it's also handy to manually enter all my airline and hotel reward card numbers. Even sans barcode, it is a great storage program for all things reward/membership/club/etc. Hope it is useful to others as well!
toxa jumpfroggy4 years ago
hm, gonna try it too
bpeacock toxa3 years ago
I havent gotten Key Ring to work. Nice app but all of the stores, shoppers, scene, SPC card, library card, all dont work,
laaha4 years ago
I've been having cards like that for some years now and I love it though the cashiers often look at me weirdly.
Don't forget that NEARLY all store that give out or require a discount card will put your phone number in the account: At Safeway, Giant, Petco, Petsmart, etc.. All I do is type in the "phone number" on record at the chackout screen and no need to cary any discount cards!
As someone who worked for 4 years as a cashier at a store that used a discount card, I really beg people not to do this. This is a great hack that will save you wallet space while also saving the cashier from having to hold up lines to log into various systems in order to find your number. For most discount cards you can just copy the number on the front of the card or near the barcode, you don't need the barcode itself. Honestly, when there's a huge line up and someone says "I don't bring my cards, look me up in your system" it makes me furious.
Yea, but why copy several- if not a dozen or more- codes when your ONE phone number will work at every business where they have discount or club cards?
To date I 'belong' to NINE club/discount businesses, and all I ever need is my ONE phone number to access whatever dicounts are offered.
Is it not simpler- and faster- to just need to remember the ONE number that you aleardy have memorised, instead of needing to carry a card with many numbers, need to dig it out, unfold it, find the proper number, tope in THAT number... I would be done and gone in half the time.
jblanke4 years ago
What they should do is sell universal cards, you could buy them for $1 anywhere. Then, you would take this card and register the barcode number on all of the different stores website, like ralphs.com, albertsons.com, etc.. Then you would need just the one card and scan it when you checkout. It's the same thing as giving them your phone number, exept it's not, and it's way faster.

For now, if you shop at ralphs, just ask the chashier for a club card and they will give it to you along with a registration form. Throw out the form and just use the card, unregistered. It's what I do, I still get points, and i can redeem them for 10 cents off a gal on gas once a month at ralphs gas station, or now at shell gas station.
Good idea!
Chronos21874 years ago
Another good way to consolidate those cards if you have an Android phone is the Key Ring App. It does the same thing but displays the barcode you select on your phone for the store to scan. The best part is it's free
Yandle4 years ago
Here is a free web based bar code generator

it does really great images in a few major formats

I worked out some of the Barcode Symbology codes for the bigger companies I carry cards from.

Safeway = UPC-A
KingSoopers (Kroger) = UPC-A
BestBuy Reward Zone card = Code 128

Yandle4 years ago
Hell yes, awesome idea!
Brilliant! I travel with a carnival, so I have a stack of these things.
Does anyone know how small the bar codes can be and still function?
Use the IPhone APP Card King all your cards on your Phone
As for firing I went to the Giant on Dec 22 and was told they would not take card off phone anymore I made a few phone calls, when told that my 50,000 friends in my phone club wanted to know who to call to complain, he said he would fix it, and next time I went to the store they took the code off the phone other people say they have no more problems either.
Thanks, but I break tough phones; an iphone wouldn't do for a guy like me.
Download a free barcode program, type in the info that the original bar code contains and then simply reprint the bar codes. By printing the bar codes instead of copying them, you can get the bar code very small - possibly 1/3 the original size.
They can actually become quite small, but I wouldn't shrink them past maybe an inch since you can't know how well the scanners at the store work.
ladybgood4 years ago
er....there's an app for that. Just keep them all on your phone.
Thanks, but an iphone is way too fragile. I would break it in no time.
not everyone has an iphone. Hard as it may be to believe some people (like me) don't have a cellphone of any kind.
IPhone has an APP called Card King (you take a picture of bar code with your phone and pick Company logo from a list) and that bar code number has no info its just a file number for files in the companies data base. as for privacy you gave that up to get the card! (THE CARD IS DATA MINING & THEY DON’T JUST SELL TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER THEY SELL TO EVERYBODY!) I like to use cards I find on the ground :)
tracydanger (author) 8 years ago
I actually did put the names of each store/place above each respective barcode (some were already above them, others I had to add in photoshop). Another idea I had, that detracts from the small wallet idea, was to put each picture in my palm pilot and scan it from there, but I don't carry my palm pilot around everywhere, so that would just add more weight to my pockets. For someone that has a smart phone or pda that they always have with them, that would work fine - keep it all digital.
As Cement Truck mentioned, I'd be concerned that the various levels of reflectivity on a PDA or phone screen would be problematic. That's why I was thinking something like e-ink would work well. If anyone has a Sony Librie or equivalent, I'd be very curious to know if it works with bar-code scanners.
I have the Card King app on my IPhone and you need a hand scanner to read it. If they don't have a hand scanner they type the numbers in works fine.
a nook, or kindle, however with the right pictures stored on it in pdf format would work wonderfully.
I work with the programming code of barcoders and imaging systems quite often - I don't think that the barcode as generated from a PDA screen would work very well, at least not I2of5 standards. I do agree with Cooblades -- the free barcode generators out there are a better idea than photocopying -- they're much more precise and they will scale in size properly giving an accurate read. Skip all of this and just RFID yourself :)
It would have to depend on the barcode reader. Most store laser barcode readers cannot scan and decode barcodes off screens. However if it was a higher end store with imaging barcode scanner (they use a camera instead of a laser), then you wouldn't have a problem. There are many free barcode generating programs. Just google one and enter in the barcode numbers. Saves you pretty much steps 1 - 3.
some places use different code types.... might not work
Yeah, but it's kinda small. I can tell you from experience its much easier to identify a logo rather than read down a list of stores. I don't know about the PDA idea, you'd have to see how well it'd work with the scanner. But if it did work that way, you could just have individual files for each bar code, and just open up the relevant one as needed.
Roflolommo8 years ago
well you cant blame them for freaking out if i ever become a cashier and someone pulls out a sheet of barcodes on me im gonna stare blankly at them till they go away.
I kind of think that even "minimum wage" cashiers have problems with dozens of club cards filling up their wallets too. I've been a cashier before - my reaction would be "cool how can I do that?"
tracydanger (author)  indestructablecat7 years ago
Actually, that's how almost everyone responds - "Cool, how'd you make that?" I only remember one person that gave me a hard time at a Speedway - as if somehow I was cheating the system. She must've been having a bad day.
well see first you go around and take a bunch of pictures of other peoples credit cards...
What's the word for that uh FRAUD
bettbee er04014 years ago
Well luckily scanning credit cards won't help you . . .
unpure bettbee4 years ago
Front and back?
(Or just back and read the indentations backwards)

Sure you can't go into a shop and buy anything, but paypal doesn't want chip or pin or any of that stuff... :/
majeral4 years ago
This is good, I have done something like this but not as "neat" here is a site that makes them for you

Thanks going to do your!!
Thaikarl4 years ago
i had trouble getting some scanners to read my "justonecard" card - to many barcodes on one place. had to cover the odd ones with my finger.

little known fact: safeway club cards work at QFC - if you go thru the 'self-check-out' stands. the human checker won't scan the safeway card, but you can do it yourself at the self-scanners. one less little card to carry round.

and i always put slightly modded information on the applications for store cards, so they don't have any of my real personal information, and i use a phone number i got off a pay phone so they can call me anytime and i won't know.

for fun, when you make the application use a name like "Imah Jerke"
then when the checker reads your name off the recipt they have to choke on the words "thank you Mr. Jerk. you saved 29cents today"
cmolle4 years ago
Kudos! This is a great idea!
bd54 years ago
Great! What a great idea!
Flegeance4 years ago
Great idea. If any cashier does not take this for a Bonus or rewards program ask to talk to their manager. They have no grounds to refuse it. Whats the worst that can happen you give someone your bonus points, big deal. .......Actually if a whole town does this and uses the local soup kitchens rewards number at a grocery store it could be a big help for the Soup Kitchen and the homeless.
chetanddot4 years ago
you're a genius! i have at least 30 various club cards, punch cards etc. it's ridiculous. Thank you!
would you get arrested if you did this with a military ID?
Well you could. If your question is if that would be illegal, the answer is "yes". It's unlawful to photocopy or scan any military ID.
Assumable, Yes.
erothman24 years ago
Clever, but all the bonus cards I use allow you to enter your phone # as an alternate ID, I think that's true of most places. So you don't need any card at all.
what a great idea. Thank you for posting!
PCfreak4 years ago
ok ive got to admit this a cool idea but for those of us that own a iPhone or a Android powered phone there is a website and phone app that stores & syncs your cards


sgsidekick4 years ago
Actually, if you go to keyringthing.com and enter all your cards, you can print off paper copies (free) or order cards. Each card holds 6 barcodes, 3 front & 3 back. I print off the copies and laminate them. Thinner wallet!!!
I think it's a great idea & will be setting up something similar for myself & nostalgic gal tonight.
Anybody got any ideas how to do something like this for those cards with magnetic strips? if I could loose some of those I my wallet would be about an inch thinner :-)
.  If the card has an optical scan code on it, the clerk should be able to scan that (in case the mag stripe gets corrupted, which I'm guessing is pretty common for cards carried in purses and wallets and, especially, on key chains). If the card has any kind of human-readable number, the clerk should be able to enter it manually.
.  Whether they will or not is another question. Ask each store what their policies/capabilities are.
ImageMaker4 years ago
One operational problem you may encounter -- if, while scanning one of my grocery card keychain tags, another one is visible to the scanner, the machine will invariably pick up the wrong one and then tell me I've scanned a product that's invalid. Maybe you could include a sliding sleeve for your combined card so only one barcode is exposed at a time?
Gbayo16 years ago
Hi all, I was reading through all the comments and was wondering would anyone be able to help me with a problem or provide any suggestions. My name is Graham and I am currently working on a simple college project. This project involves creating a simple database which stores a number of barcodes. These barcodes must then be scanned and the correct data received from the scanner (e.g. uni or omni-directional). This works fine for the barcodes that are printed on a piece of paper but when I try to scan the barcodes from my mobile phone screen, nothing seems to happen. Does anyone know how this could work, or is it possible (i.e. a barcode to be scanned from a generic phone screen). ?? Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Graham
Even the iphone app for bar codes doesn't work in some stores, don't feel bad
Your brightness setting needs to be turned up all the way for the APP on the iPhone to work...

Just saying
I just use the good old store savings card, but I've seen other people get upset with cashiers when the scanner can't read their iphone. Thanks though.
tjarrod Gbayo14 years ago
Actually If you are trying to read a bar code off of a LCD display you need to make sure you are using an Imager type bar code reader as a Laser reader will not be able to scan the screen. do a google search with the terms "bar code scanner imager"; you'll see what I mean.
BobCat Gbayo16 years ago
It won't work. It needs to be printed.
Erik11094 years ago
This is an awesome idea. I just cleaned off my key ring of un-used key cards. I'm going to make one of these tonight.

It may be annoying to some but it's so much easier for the everyday folk.
xJoey Dubsx4 years ago
Great job! See your not far from me, Cleveland here.
CrLz5 years ago
I've also consolidated my customer value cards into a single card.  Two tips I'd suggest:
1. Crease the card between each barcode to solve cashier confusion.  Just fold the card up and present only the barcode you want.
2. Color code the background of each barcode differently.  Use a highlighter, or print the color out.  This makes it much easier to communicate which barcode to scan.

(typical conversation "Here's my card, the blue barcode on the bottom is for this store...")
SGutshall CrLz4 years ago
If you wanna get really fancy and are handy with photoshop, put the logo for each place next to the barcode, with whatever the traditional colors for that particular place are. University colors, cvs red, etc. Add that to the folding, laminate and it could even look like you bought it.
Sasnaktiv6 years ago
Putting all the cards on one is a great idea. But I found an easier way to do it that's totally automated. You just type in all your barcode numbers and it sticks them on one page that you can print out. I saved the page as a PDF so I can print it out whenever I need a new one. Check it out at www.TOTALsqueeze.com It works at all the stores I go to. Even the clerks think it's neat!
also one i heard of called one club card i THINK itshttp://www.oneclubcard.com/
correctionhttp://www.justoneclubcard.com/ only lets you do 8 per card but thats probly for the best
hockeyteeth8 years ago
Even thought you blurred out the bar codes, providing photos of your ATM card just seems like such a terrible idea, haha.
tracydanger (author)  hockeyteeth6 years ago
That's not an ATM card, it's a school I.D.
yeah I actually saw this article about blurring out info in pictures of things like this. it dealt more with the pixelation effect people tend to use on info. apparently you can use the color and shade of each area to determine what was hidden, and therefore read the blurred image. I bet theres a way to do the same thing with a gaussian blur.
Innertofu7 years ago
Great idea ... wallets are always getting too stuffed with points cards.
JAM8 years ago
Very cool. getsolo.com does the same thing and color codes each store and lays out barcodes to avoid what some people said about scanning the wrong one.
spedoinkle8 years ago
hmm, u of a, i go there, cool
chrissv8 years ago
Has anyone had any problem with the minimum-wage cashier balking about scanning your unofficial member card barcodes?
I have one I printed from justoneclubcard.com and I have yet to have a cashier reject it. On the other hand, I use to work retail, and if I was behind the counter I would probably think twice, or maybe as for a second form of ID to confirm what the screen is telling me.
I did this years ago, except I used a label maker to print the barcodes. I created the codes by keying in the alpha-numeric portion and printing with each of the ~4 schemes until I got a barcode that looked the same. I them stuck the successful labels to the credit/other cards I was already carrying. By only placing one label per side of each card, it helped the cashier not have to scan the right one. I just hand them my Visa and say "Scan the sticker on the back, not the one on the front. No I won't be paying with that one, here swipe this one." Works great and keep my money clip thin.
edwardchen8 years ago
Hey, I'm from Hudson, OH :)
AndyW8 years ago
In photoshop you could put a colored box around the barcode (instead of white) that way it would be easier to find the right code. My local grocery store is blue, the local video rental store is blue and gold, the local mega store is red, etc.
Nesagwa8 years ago
This is very clever. I like the idea a lot. If you wanted to get even more fancy you could add a row beside the barcodes and color code them so you know which is which (and maybe throw in the store logo to help out the cashiers).
Yeah, definitely put a store logo or at least the name in large print for the cashier's benefit. I used to work as a cashier, and i had one guy come in with a card like this and it took a while to find the right one. (little industry secret though: there are only a few different rewards systems around, and many times one store's card will also work at another store, you just won't be adding to your account with the store your at.)
I am constantly trying to get SpeedyRewards at Kroger because I forget which card is which. BTW this is a great idea.
Cool idea! Making one myself right now :)
ElMarko8 years ago
I did this a while ago and here is one thing I did differently everyone should consider. The readers that grocery stores use can be confused by multiple barcodes at once. I printed mine in one long strip and got a plastic holder so it could be folded in a manner that only one barcode is exposed. I tried the PDA trick and it doesn't work. I still haven't dealt with the mag-stripe cards. If someone makes cards with two stripes on each side I'd be set.
ansleybleu8 years ago
That is a fantastic idea! You rock.
jaXed8 years ago
Here is another page that can be used to generate barcodes and UPC codes. Linky: barcode generator. This site outputs them as .GIF images that can be saved and printed.
BryceOwen8 years ago
Where I work, we have this $2500 badge printer that I was put in charge of. As a result, I was obligated to get some kind of personal enjoyment out of it. I did that by making myself a card with my club barcodes on it. The software is nice in that it lets you input actual barcodes instead of having to scan and attach them as images. The hardest part was determining what encoding was used for a given barcode.
CementTruck8 years ago
Oh by the way, you can make the barcodes too small. I've run into that problem where the scanner cannot decipher the spacing between the black bars, and the scanner would either output an incorrect number, or error out. As far as the Palm Pilot idea goes, I could never get a scanner to scan a barcode off an LCD screen. I think I was able to scan through a CRT though. So I guess what I'm saying is - It won't work.
CementTruck8 years ago
Great idea. When using this at a counter where an actual person is scanning codes, do they accept it readily, or do you have to explain what you've done? I used to set up barcode scanners for my company by flipping through a manual and using the new gun to scan the setup instructions. I had to flip through several dozen pages scanning one barcode on each page at a time. I finally got smart and had the new scanners drop shipped to the location they needed to be at (saving the company some shipping costs) and emailed that location with a pdf that I created with a compendium of all the barcodes needed. The user would then scan the barcodes in vertical order, and voila.
do you have a laserjet printer. my ink jet can't do that fine of detail.
jeffreyf8 years ago
I complete agree with Nesagwa. Clever indeed. I could even see a service that does this for people. Some day, in the year 2000, we'll get an e-ink card that card that could change barcodes from a library. But until then, brilliant.