How to Condense Your Club Cards

It seems that every store nowadays wants you to be a "member" of their "buying club," and they promise all kinds of discounts and benefits if you'll carry and use one of their cards. But let's face it, no one's wallet is that big! Here's a way to shed the cards while still keeping the benefits.


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    Collect all of your club cards. Examine each for what allows the issuer to distinguish you from other customers with club cards they have issued. Usually this is a bar code, but sometimes it's just a number.
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    Photocopy the bar codes.Take the club cards with bar codes, and photocopy the bar codes. You should be able to lay many of the cards side by side on the photocopy machine, and photocopy most of them all at once.
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    Cut out the bar codes from the copy. Using scissors, carefully cut out each bar code. Include any alphanumeric information underneath the bar code.
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    Assemble your barcode card.On a clean sheet of white paper, lay out the cut out bar codes in a line. They should be laid out close enough together to fit as many as possible inside a space no larger than two club cards side-by-side. They should be far enough apart that a bar code scanner can easily scan one without hitting another. Leave enough space along one edge so there's room left to label each barcode.
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    Secure the bar codes to the paper. You'll need to secure them to the paper so they don't move around. You can use removable tape for this, or a glue stick. They don't need to be securely fastened, just well enough to be able to pick up the paper and flip it over without having them fall off.
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    Label the bar codes. With a black pen, label each barcode with the name of the store or entity that issued the club card for that barcode.
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    Photocopy the assembled bar codes.Take the sheet of paper with the bar codes assembled on it, and photocopy it.
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    Cut out the card. Cut out the side-by-side card, and fold the copy in half to make your barcode card.
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    Laminate the card. If you don't have a laminating machine, you can get it done at a local office store or do it yourself: Take a piece of wide clear packing tape, larger than the card, and cover the folded card with it. Flip it over and cover it with a second piece of packing tape. Depending on the width of the packing tape, you may need to use several pieces to cover the whole thing.
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    Cut away the extra tape. Cut away excess tape, being sure to leave a little clear tape around the edge. Voila! Ready to be used at your favorite store!
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    What's in YOUR wallet?


  • Instead of photocopying the bar codes and physically cutting and pasting them on paper, you can scan them, and mock up your barcode card on the computer.
  • Some smartphones, including the iPhone, have an app that will allow you to add your cards, allowing them to be displayed on your phone screen, freeing you from the burden of carrying the cards.
  • When you use this barcode card at a store, it's not necessary to cover up neighboring bar codes. The machine will not recognize them. But it is helpful to point out to the cashier which is the one for their store.
  • Most grocery stores allow you to pull up your customer information via a telephone number. You can travel without your club cards and simply tell the cashier your phone number to get your discounts.
  • Do this for ALL of your club cards, not just the ones you use most often. The purpose is to have ALL of them accessible all the time, so you're able to take advantage of all available discounts, all the time.
  • This method obviously won't work for club cards that have a magnetic stripe. But look closely at these cards -- they usually also have a unique membership number on them as well. This number can be handwritten on your new handmade barcode card; however, if the number is more than 6 or 8 digits, you will annoy clerks who could have swiped a card faster and more accurately than hand-entering a long number, and you'll also slow down the line behind you.
  • If you do not have your barcode card, ask the clerk to use the store's card. Most stores keep a discount card for general use, although it may be that all the clerks have to share one, or that it's kept by the manager.
  • Before you laminate, make a backup copy of the paper or scan it as a digital image and store it somewhere. This will come in handy if you need to add additional bar codes in the future.


  • Do not do this with credit card numbers. "Club cards" are cards given out by vendors and stores that allow the card holder to get discounts or other benefits. These are not credit cards. Always keep your credit cards in a safe place.
  • This will not work with gift cards, since the stores need to be able to scan the magnetic stripe to know how much money is on the card.
  • Club Cards are often used to compile data, such as purchasing habits and compiling customer profiles. This data can be requested by your health care provider, or even be used against you in litigation. If privacy is a concern, use discretion when purchasing with your club cards.

Things You'll Need

  • All of your club cards
  • A photocopy machine or scanner
  • Scissors
  • Printer paper
  • Removable tape or glue stick
  • Wide packing tape

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