Key Ring Rewards Card Review

Key Ring Rewards Card Review

Aug 17, 2010

I love simplicity. I love that my phone takes photos, records videos, receives email, and a million more things. I love that I only have to carry one device.

Have you ever had this conversation?

“Sir, that’ll be $27.50 please. Do you have your rewards card?”

“I…um…I…left it in the car. I thought I had it with me. Can you just use my name?”

Nobody wants to carry a hundred different shopper’s cards on their keychain like a ratty bunch of bananas . Do you really want people knowing you’re so devoted to Joe’s Ice Cream Shack?

Mobestream has attempted to remedy this situation, by building the app “shopper’s reward card.” Unfortunately, it is far more frustrating than it is convenient.

When you sign up for a card, open the app, scan the barcode, and instantly a carbon-copy of your card is saved on your phone. Mobestream Media was wise enough to give you a preview of what the card looks like, so you can make sure the numbers match.

But the unltimate question is does it work? Will my local stores accept it?

Simply put, no. This app doesn’t work. I tested the app at three different places, and each one became increasingly more frustrating. The problem is how barcodes work. The laser bounces of the white spaces between the black barcodes, and the reader than registers what bounces back. A smartphone screen is shiny, and even black portions are shiny enough to bounce the laser back.

Test #1 – The grocery store. Mobestream openly states that their app does not work on a flatbed grocery scanner. I tried it, and confirmed, it doesn’t work. I moved to the longer shopping line, so that the cashier could scan it by hand. After explaining to him that I scan all my loyalty cards into my phone, he walked away with my brand new smartphone, to talk to his manager. The manager then proceeded to tell me they would not accept this type of card. I embarrassingly paid for my groceries at the undiscounted price as the people in line behind me grumbled.

Test #2 – The gas station. The gas station I usually fill my car at has a laser scanner on each pump. Simply put, it would not scan my screen. Frustrated, I pulled away.

Test #3 – The library. Again, after explaining that my card is on my phone,
“Wait, what? Your library card is on your phone?”
“Yes. On my phone. I put my library card on my phone.”
“Oh. I don’t know if we can take this. Let me ask the manager.”
A couple minutes later, after the managerial approval, the poor librarian tried to scan my card. Frustrated again, I left the with no books.

This app is a great idea in theory, but in reality, you’re not getting rid of your ugly keychain any time soon.

Key Ring Rewards Card Review Rundown

Presentation - It’s simple to back up your cards, and use the app. When it works.
Graphics - Nothing revolutionary, but the menus flow well, and the app is simple to understand.
User Interface - The app flows well, back ups all your cards to the Mobestream server, and has an extensive list of stores.
Lasting Appeal - If this app works for you, you’ll use it constantly. I just deleted it.
Overall - This app is a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. There may be a chance that changing settings will help the app work, but for me, this app struck out.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Greg Svoboda
Greg is from Cleveland, but recently moved to Portland, OR. He is a freelance writer and blogger, also a hip-hop vinyl dj to rebuild street-cred lost via blogging. He is a husband, and soon-to-be-father. Follow him on twitter @gregsvo
Connect with Greg Svoboda // email
  • I have tried it at several PetSmart stores and they were unable to scan it. I love the idea just not practical for me if it doesn’t work. I still plan to test it with other loyalty programs in hopes that it will work somewhere.

  • It works with a few stores (like BJs) if you don’t have a screen protector on.