Bonus Card Barcode Hack





Introduction: 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

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).

Step 2: Line Up Barcodes in Photo Editing Program

I had some 'key chain' cards lined up on one side and regular ones on the other to fit them best.

Step 3: Trouble Shooting

My original plan was to print each side in the center of a piece of card stock paper on opposite sides, then just cut it down to size. What printed out was much too large (because of the pixels per inch used in the scanning process). I shrank them down using a copier and ended up just putting the two sides (from different pieces of paper) into a laminator - no need for card stock and no worry about the barcodes smudging over time. If you print out on cardstock, you may want to consider putting scotch tape over each barcode to avoid smudges. I've done this in the past on actual cards and it helps.

Barcodes can be enlarged or shrunk down without it affecting the ability to scan them, so don't worry about distortion. As long as all the bars in the code are in correct proportion, you're good to go.

It would be helpful to cover the barcodes your not using with your fingers so that the scanner doesn't get confused. I will likely go through self scanning checkouts when possible to avoid clerks from freaking out and calling the manager to ask if it's ok to use my card.

Again, below, is the finished product. And I already tried it out at the grocery store and it worked.



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    97 Discussions

    That's an awesome idea, my wallet is full or rewards cards I only use every once in a while :)

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    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?

    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.


    3 replies

    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!

    I havent gotten Key Ring to work. Nice app but all of the stores, shoppers, scene, SPC card, library card, all dont work,

    I've been having cards like that for some years now and I love it though the cashiers often look at me weirdly.

    3 replies

    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.

    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,, 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.

    1 reply

    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

    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

    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?