iPhone Buzz: CardStar

Stephen Yagielowicz
If you're like many people today, you carry around a wide and odd sized assortment of personal identification cards. Whether it's the gym membership or automobile insurance minicard on your keychain or the BestBuy Reward Zone card in your wallet, these bulky and easily misplaced enablers and byproducts of your consumer spending habits now have a new and easily accessible home — thanks to a new iPhone app called CardStar.

"Leave those bulky plastic 'reward cards' and 'club cards' at home!" states the website of personal card manager application CardStar. "CardStar lets you easily store and quickly retrieve your rewards, club and loyalty membership cards on your iPhone or iPod touch, where they can be scanned directly from your screen at most merchants."

According to the company, CardStar can be used to store membership card information for numerous national and regional merchants, including CVS/pharmacy, Blockbuster, PetSmart and more. When needed, users can effortlessly access their cards with a single touch from the CardStar home screen.

CardStar currently features a merchant list of more than 190 companies in seven categories including Drug Store, Entertainment, Grocery, Gym, Library, Retail and Travel — allowing users to simply enter their membership numbers and then let the software automatically generate and store the necessary barcodes.

Merchants from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. are supported, as are advanced options for adding cards not included in the CardStar merchant list.

CardStar also provides quick access to additional merchant information and a store locator, with future plans to offer merchant coupons and promotional content.

CardStar generates checkout counter scannable barcodes using its SyncScan feature, a new technology that allows for successful scanning with most merchants using handheld scanning guns. While some difficulties may arise with flatbed scanners, these models often come with a side scanner that may be used when available.

The company also is currently working on making CardStar available as an application for Blackberry, Android, Palm and other smart phone platforms.

CardStar is available for download at the iPhone App Store. Regularly priced at 99 cents, for a limited time, you can get it for free.