Disclaimer: I am in the business of helping loyalty programs thrive.
With all of the loyalty programs out there, it seems bizarre that so many companies still use physical cards. There's good reason, of course: the barcode on the card is read by the point of sale system (POS). But the average American's wallet only has 6-8 slots, total: after license, credit cards, ATM cards, and the other essentials, there is rarely room for another.
If you have an iPhone, you might be in luck. A new free application, called WalletZero, allows you to simply enter in the number on your loyalty card. If it's a card that features a barcode, it generates it on the large iPhone screen, allowing it to be scanned right off the screen at POS. The app knows many of the most common programs, and even allows you to enter ones for those that are not necessarily barcoded.
Lots good about this app, but definitely some improvements could help. First, it relies on the developer to add more programs; I'd like to see a more freeform input approach. Second, it doesn't personalize with the logo or colors of the program. Finally, there are various misspellings, but those are minor.
Overall, a nice way to apply technology to a common problem. A great first effort, and I'd love to see it thrive!