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How to use Android Wear and customer loyalty cards to buy stuff

Believe it or not, you can actually use a fun little hack to load your loyalty cards on your Android Wear device! Read on to find out how.

Published onOctober 16, 2014

In this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to load your customer loyalty cards onto your Android Wear device and actually use them in stores. It should be noted right off the bat that this is a little bit of a workaround and not an officially supported feature. That means your mileage may vary and the set up process is a little complicated. Let’s get started. If at any point you need to see what’s going on, check out the tutorial video posted above!

Step 1 – Download the required apps

This tutorial is a group effort and you’ll need three apps to make it happen. They are:

Step 2 – Digitize your loyalty cards on Google Wallet

The next step requires you to scan your loyalty cards into Google Wallet.

  1. Open Google Wallet, click on the My Wallet button on the top, and select Loyalty Programs.
  2. Click the + button near the top right corner.
  3. Look through the list to see if any of those are a loyalty program you have. Otherwise, click the “Add your loyalty program” option at the top.
  4. Using your phone’s camera, scan the barcode on your loyalty rewards card.
  5. Once it’s scanned in, fill in any additional details and add the card.
  6. You should now see the loyalty card (along with the barcode) in the Loyalty Programs main screen.
  7. Take a screenshot of the loyalty card (barcode and all) while it’s open in Google Wallet.
  8. Repeat steps 2 through 7 for any additional loyalty cards you want to add.

Step 3 – Make it fit on your smartwatch

Next up, we’ll have to crop it down so that the barcode will fit on your smartwatch screen and still be legible enough to scan later. There are many ways to do this but the way depicted in the original tutorial used the app Aviary.

  1. Open the screenshot of your loyalty card barcode in Aviary.
  2. Click the crop button. Since we’re going for square here, you’ll also want to hit the square button.
  3. Click and drag the corners to match the width of the screenshot.
  4. This next part is a tad tricky. In the crop tool, you’ll notice that it’s divided up into a 9-square grid (two lines going vertical, two lines going horizontal). You’ll want to line up the bottom of the barcode with the top horizontal line. If you have trouble getting it, check the video above to see how it’s done.
  5. Click “Apply” and then “Done” to save the image.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 with any other barcodes you want to resize.
  7. Note: This tutorial was designed for a square Android Wear device. If you have a round one, you may need to change things up a bit. We recommend putting the barcode lower in the crop so the corners aren’t cut off by the smartwatch’s round face.

Step 4 – Put them in Google Keep and set up the reminders

The next step is putting these images into Google Keep and setting it up so that they pop up at the right time. After doing this, the location reminders will cause the barcode notes to pop up on your smartwatch when you arrive at the business you placed in the location reminder. It’s not essential since you can open Google Keep on your watch and find it manually but it is really handy because doing it manually is tedious.

  1. Open Google Keep and create a new note.
  2. Name the note after whatever business your card is. If you’re adding a Wahlgreen’s card, name the note “Wahlgreen’s” so you know what you’re looking at when you open the note later.
  3. Click on the camera button at the top and select “Choose image”. When your gallery opens, find and select the card that matches the name you gave the note.
  4. At the bottom is a button that says “Remind Me”. Tap this, choose “Location Reminder”, and then type in the complete address of the location you’ll be using that loyalty card (e.g. if it’s a Wahlgreen’s card, enter in Wahlgreen’s address).
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 for all of your other loyalty cards.
  6. If you’re a different location of the same business, you can always get to your notes by opening Google Keep on your smartwatch. The easiest way to do this is installing Wear Mini Launcher which lets you get to your app drawer dramatically quicker.

Step 5 – Use it at the store

At this point you should be able to walk into the store, have Google Keep pop the barcode up for you, and you should be able to scan your watch face at the checkout to scan the barcode. If you didn’t set location reminders or you’re at a different location. Simply open up Google Keep, scroll until you find the proper card, and access it that way. Here are a few additional tips.

  • You’ll want to increase the brightness on your Android Wear device to maximum. This will increase the chances of the barcode being read by checkout scanners without issues.
  • When you leave the store, you’ll need to take care of that Google Keep notification (if you used location reminders). Swipe to the left and click the “Next time” button so that it sets itself up to pop up again next time.
  • If you forget to use the Next time button in the last step, you can always go into Google Keep on your phone later and set it manually.

It’s worth noting that thanks to inconsistent checkout scanners and other variables and circumstances beyond our control, this may or may not work for you. If it does, it’s a fun little trick that’ll also let you take some of those cards off of your key-chain or out of your wallet. If not, then you have at least learned how to get barcodes, crop them, and put them on Android Wear! Did it work for you? Let us know in the comments. If you do have problems, check out the Android Authority forums and ask for help there.

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