Android Wear is still a pretty young platform, it’s only available on two devices and while there are some great apps hitting our wrists every day now, there’s still a lot missing. One thing is pretty annoying about owning Android Wear and that’s my relationship with loyalty cards. Like many people, I have a number of them in my wallet and some of them are genuinely rewarding in some way or another, but getting cards out of my wallet can be a pain, and yes, I realize just how lazy that sounds. Still, it’s difficult to deny that having a loyalty card on your wrist ready to scan would be much easier than pulling card number Three Million and Six out of your wallet. Sadly, there are very few options out there to scan your points card at the checkout with Android Wear, but with some improvising, we can work around these issues.
I first got the idea of actually seeing if I could get a points card on my wrist, so to speak, when my father (a proud G Watch owner himself) asked me if our watches could speed up checkout. Then I remembered a quick little tutorial of Russel Holly’s that detailed using Google Keep to pin a QR code to your wrist. I tried this out with my GAME card account here in the UK, and to my surprise – and the person at checkout – it worked perfectly. The method to get a QR code (or very small barcode) on to your wrist is a little fiddly. How I did it was to load up the GAME app on my phone and generate the QR code there, I then took a screenshot (by pressing power and volume down together) and then cropped the QR code out of that image using the built-in photo editor in Android. Once I had the QR code I wanted, I had to make a note in Google Keep with the image. All I had to do then was to fire up Keep at the checkout and find my GAME card code. You can do this for anything you have with a QR code, but in the UK I found that not many cards actually generate a useful QR code (if you have suggestions, please shout out below).
Another app worth looking at is “Watch Membership Android Wear” and despite its lengthy title it’s a pretty simple app. All it does is generate a barcode from a card number and then puts it in a wallet-type app on your wrist. If you’ve gone ahead and installed the app already, you’ll have found that you need to know your EPCs from your UPCs and your Codabars. Sadly, it’s a little complicated, but if you persevere and get say, a fuel mileage barcode on your wrist, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much time you can save during a transaction. What we’re all waiting for of course, is for all of the stores that we have these cards with to catch up and release meaningful smartphone apps with Android Wear support. Until they do however, we’ll just have to go it alone. Let me know how you get on in the comments below!