All of those loyalty cards from different merchants can really start to add up and become a headache to organize and lug around with you each time you shop!
While they’re a great way to save money when shopping, loyalty cards can become burdensome if you tend to shop at a lot of different stores.
I figure while we’re on the subject of store cards, it’s a great time to discuss reward programs as well.
So, here’s some super helpful information on loyalty card programs, reward cards, and my best tips for consolidating cards from all of those programs.
The Difference Between A Rewards Card & Loyalty Cards
Let’s face it, this can get really confusing — especially when popular retailers like CVS offer both a loyalty card and a rewards card program.
Loyalty card programs are for shoppers who devote a significant amount of their time and money to specific brands — at the expense of choosing other options that may be less expensive, more comfortable, or more convenient.
Typically, the customer is provided with something they can’t buy, or with something very different from the usual item being purchased.
Rewards card programs are for shoppers who want to earn a credit toward future purchases. Larger transactions receive larger rewards by definition. These rewards may not be in the form of cash back, but they can operate very similarly.
Typically the customer is treated no differently than any other, and the benefit is limited to receiving and redeeming the reward credit.
Here are the pros & cons of loyalty programs and reward cards.
How To Consolidate Your Store Loyalty Cards
If you’re tired of having to carry dozens of cards from different stores on your keyring or in your wallet, then you may want to consolidate your loyalty cards.
That way, there’s only one thing that you have to carry around every time you go shopping — and you can trust that you’ll never be without your money-saving loyalty cards again!
Here are basically 3 different ways you could do it.
#1 – There are a few apps that will do it for you…
- Key Ring App – it scans of all your loyalty cards and stores them in one place — in this app.
- Stocard App – it’s free and easy to start without registering and adds all your loyalty cards to the app in seconds.
- AwardWallet – the best thing about this app is it keeps track of your much more than just your reward card numbers from stores. It also tracks the points you earn through frequent flier programs, hotel programs, rental car programs, and restaurants. And it notifies you whenever your points are about to expire!
…but you have to play by each app’s rules and put up with their unique quirks!
#2 – Or, you could make your own universal loyalty card using Instructibles’ recommended method…
Simply photocopy the barcodes from all of your store cards onto one sheet of paper or piece of cardstock. That way, you just have to carry that one card around. (TIP: I would laminate it to make it more durable, so it will never rip or tear.)
…but there’s actually a method that’s much easier than photocopying!
#3 – But I recommend that you simply take photos of the barcodes (or screenshots of the shopping apps that have your account barcode in it).
I’ve done this for years, and I continue to do it whenever I get a new loyalty card from somewhere new.
- Take a closeup picture (with your smartphone) of each barcode from all of the reward cards that you own.
- Save each of those photos with a filename that represents the business (like cvs-card.jpg).
- Finally, save all of those pictures in a separate folder (like “reward cards”) in your FREE Google Drive account.
Then, whenever you go somewhere that you have a loyalty card, rewards card, or a rewards app for, you simply do this:
- Access the Google Drive app on your phone.
- Find the “rewards” folder.
- Find the name of the store you’re at in the alphabetical list of photos you’ve saved there.
- Show that to the clerk/cashier.
It really is as simple as that — works like a charm. No more fumbling for random cards in your purse or wallet!
And trust me, they can’t even tell when you’re flashing them a “real” page from the app versus a screenshot of the app — not that it matters.
This is especially handy for me since we ride our motorcycle cross country a lot — and there is no way I could possibly travel with all of my loyalty cards everywhere we go. But you can bet I always travel with my smartphone. This way, I just have to show them the barcode — which the clerk can either scan quickly or type the numbers into their computer.
More About Loyalty & Rewards Card Programs
In addition to the links I’ve included above, you might find these helpful when considering which loyalty card programs are best for you:
- Best Loyalty Cards Available To Consumers
- What To Do If You Lose Your Wallet With Loyalty Cards
- 22 Of The Most Rewarding Rewards Programs
- What Happens To Reward Points If Someone Dies
- Helpful Information About Combining Reward Points
- Pros & Cons Of Supermarket Loyalty Card Programs
Always on the lookout for a good bargain, I consider myself a frugal person — but not cheap. And not afraid to spend money on the things that matter. I like to share good deals with others when I find them. One of my favorite ways to save money is to reuse items in ways other than their intended purpose — so I write a lot about outside-the-box ideas that most people wouldn't think of! When I'm not saving money or looking for good deals, you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).