App of the Week: ‘Key Ring Rewards’ Puts Membership Cards on Your Phone

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My key ring used to hold a Walgreens card, a Duane Reade card, something indiscernibly faded and a membership to 24-Hour Fitness that made me feel pretty terrible about myself whenever I cried softly into a cheeseburger. It was a sad, plastic lei that did little more than bog down my pockets, jutting out uncomfortably in all the wrong places.

So I may need a late pass for this week’s App of the Week, but if you haven’t already downloaded it please do so now: The Key Ring Rewards app—available for free on the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows phones—changed my life. Okay not really, but it made my keys about 50% lighter and less jingly.

(MORE: 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011)

So how’s it work? Basically you fire the thing up and use it to scan the barcodes of your membership cards. From there you select the business in question, add notes if you choose and kiss all that extra plastic goodbye. Just have the app ready to go whenever you’re in the checkout line, and if a store’s barcode scanners can’t read it, you can just give the cashier your membership number. That’s it.

Better yet, you can share the membership cards digitally between everyone in your family with a smartphone. You’ll also be able to sign up for new rewards programs directly via the app, although the selection of businesses offered in my area were slim pickings.

Learn more about the app here, but really, you should just go ahead and download it. I’ll wait. With a cheeseburger.

MORE: See All Apps of the Week

Chris Gayomali is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @chrigz, on Facebook, or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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