This is a useful, free smartphone app find: Cardstar. Instead of bringing the “shopping loyalty” cards which many retail vendors use today to track our every move and provide nominal discounts, use the free Cardstar smartphone application. (Direct link to the iPhone / iPod Touch application in the Apple Apps Store.) Select the retail outlet name, enter your “customer code,” and the app provides an onscreen, scannable barcode which can be used at the checkout stand. This also works with many gym cards, including those at the YMCA. Very handy.

CardStar - www.mycardstar.com

I definitely find it a burden to keep track of “loyalty cards” for places like pet stores, grocery stores, electronics stores, etc. I’m not overly enthusiastic about the idea of loyalty cards in general, since it’s a way for retailers to track us and aggregate purchasing data, but sometimes the available discounts to “loyalty card holders” are worth it. Cardstar looks like a good way to get these discounts and not have to keep track of all those cards.

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