Barcode iPhone App Month Review: CardStar

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Price: free | Link to App Store

The CardStar App lets you store, manage and quickly retrieve your reward, club, and loyalty cards on your smart phone.

If you've been following Barcode iPhone App Month here at TheBarcodeNews, then you know that I am a major proponent of the wallet app concept. Why carry around dozens of cards when you could store them all in your iPhone, a device most of us have on hand at all times? Earlier this month, I was disappointed by IamVIP, a wallet app that didn't function as promoted. It was time to test another wallet app. I chose CardStar.

CardStar claims to easily store and quickly retrieve loyalty, reward and club membership cards, where they can be scanned directly from your screen at many merchants. The App Store description cited this promising feature: SyncScan™ for successful barcode scanning with many models of handheld scanning guns. SyncScan™, huh? I figured a trademarked 'feature' must be evidence that the folks at CardStar had discovered a way to get a scanner to read a barcode from an iPhone screen.

I installed the free app, fired it up and pulled out all my rewards cards for loading. I was excited by the number of companies included in CardStar. You scroll to the company or type it in the search bar then click a + button in the top right corner. You can type your card number in or hit the Scan Number Using Camera button. The first wave in what was to become a tsunami of disappointment hit when I touched the Scan button and the app crashed. I was returned to my iPhone's home screen. This happened every time I tried to scan.

Flushed with irritation, I set about manually entering my rewards cards. Just like IamVIP, the app generates a big barcode on your screen from the number you typed in. None of the barcodes would scan here at home with my Motorola LS2208. Reluctantly, I donned all the wintry apparel my meager Florida closet had to offer, and headed out into the freakishly cold Florida morning. The lovely barista at Borders was happy to help me try my new app. She remembered me from the IamVIP debacle. My disappointment in CardStar was assuaged only by the warmth of my gingerbread latte. No scan. No scan at Petco or CVS either. Three strikes, you're out!

Of course, your card numbers are technically stored all in one place. So, if you feel like reading off numbers to store clerks everyday rather than handing them your keychain, more power to you. The app also offers a Foursquare check-in feature, store info and current deals. All in all, it is better than IamVIP, free and semi-functional. I am going to keep CardStar on my radar. Hopefully, after a few more updates, it will actually work.

Cardstar has advised TheBarcodeNews that an update fixing the camera scanning has been uploaded to Apple and will be available soon.

Visit our Mobile Barcode Apps Link page for a list of barcode apps you might like.

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