Google Wallet loyalty cards

Google Wallet can do some pretty cool things, like store your loyalty cards — and we're here to go through the process with you

ACU — Google WalletImagine you're at the store — one of those stores that gives you some kind of financial incentive to carry around a loyalty card. But, in your frantic rush out the door, you forgot that little piece of plastic. Sure, maybe you could enter your phone number to get the same rewards or discount, or you could just pull out your phone. For many of us, the latter may be the cooler and/or more convenient option.

Since Sept. 2013, Google Wallet has allowed you to do just that. You can store loyalty card information in the app.

You may be wondering, "How do I get started?" Good news: it's really not all that complicated. And we're here to walk you through it. You'll be able to leave those plastic loyalty cards at home in no time.

If you already have Google Wallet installed, you can skip a step or two. If you don't, go ahead and start at the beginning!

You may not see all the steps, especially after you've used Google Wallet a little bit. If you don't see a certain step, follow along until you see something that looks familiar and pick up from there.

Step 1: Get going with Google Wallet

If you don't have Google Wallet installed, well, you'll need to install it. Here's a link to it in Google Play.

Step 2: Secure with a PIN

Google Wallet will prompt you to create a PIN. Once you do so, you'll be signed in and able to use Google Wallet.

Step 3: Hit the hamburger menu

Once you've signed in with your PIN, you'll be taken to the app's main screen. Up there in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, you'll see three little parallel lines next to where it says "My Wallet." (That thing's called a "Hamburger menu," in case you didn't know.) Hit that and it'll take you to a new menu.

Step 4: Find the Loyalty programs section

In this new menu, select the first option under "Items," called "Loyalty programs" (the one with the red star next to it).

Step 5: Add all the things

You may see this screen next. If you do, select "Add programs." Go ahead and hit "Add your loyalty program," which you should see towards the top of the screen, or you can chose one of the ones Google's got suggested and ready to go.

Step 6

Now it's time to get ready to add your loyalty card info.

Hit "Got it" and head over to the next step.

Oh, and be sure to have your cards handy as well. That will help.

Step 7

This is the part where you actually enter your card info. Google made it pretty easy to add your barcoded loyalty card just by holding it there when it added the option in November 2013. The app will automatically "snap" the picture and pull the information it needs from there. Just be sure to provide ample lighting and allow the app to focus.

If your card doesn't have a barcode, you can choose to enter some important information manually by selecting "Enter Manually" in the screen where you can scan your card. If you do this, it will ask you for your merchant's name and your membership ID number.

Step 8

Hit "Add program" on this confirmation page.

Step 9

Sweet! Now you're done with that piece of plastic.

If you want to add another loyalty card, hit the + near the top of the screen and you'll go back to Step 5. Follow the steps or on-screen instructions and add loyalty cards to Google Wallet until your heart's content!

 

Reader comments

How to add loyalty cards to Google Wallet

45 Comments

Is there any rumor that having your phone scanned with these "guns" can ruin the phone? I had a card app a while ago on an older phone and heard that this could be an issue. There was even a store that wouldn't scan phones any more because of the potential issue.

I've had this problem sometimes. There are times when I need to key in the numbers associated with the barcode or ask the clerk to use their hand scanner. Minor annoyance.

Certain laser based scanners will never work on the phone screens, but most cashiers I run into know that and will manually key in your codes. It's also best to let Google Wallet scan your code in instead of manually entering it. I've seen cards that the barcode is slightly less numbers than the printed member number.

Mine never scans at self checkouts where you have to scan it on a flat surface but when the cashier uses their gun it scans perfectly fine.

Meh, I'd rather consolidate most of my cards into a single card (there's various websites that will do this for ya)... Many stores and food joints have hard mounted scanners so if all you have is your phone then you have to hand it over to the clerk, which I'd rather avoid...

Plus I can never get rid of ALL those cards either way because some use magnetic strips rather than barcodes, so my wallet will have to live on a few more years. I do have the barcode ones scanned into GW for when there's a visible handheld scanner or a customer side scanner tho.

I believe that is due to T-Mobile and not Google Wallet. I have the G2 on Sprint and T2P works fine on my device (Sprint doesn't block GW T2P functionality). I believe T-Mobile (along with Verizon and AT&T) went with Isis as their T2P provider. Thus they block GW. That said, you can download the Isis app from Google Play.

EDIT: Oh and it appears you also need to have a special SIM card in order to use the Isis wallet app. These can be obtained from a T-Mobile store (for no charge from what I am seeing).

I have Isis on my phone. Not too much of a fan. Wallet seemed to work better for me at more places without problems. I rooted my G2 to get Wallet. Then for whatever reason returned it to Stock. I've heard people on forums say Wallet works on their G2 on Verizon and T-Mobile. I believe AT&T released an updated that fixed Wallet tap to pay a while ago. I just want to choice of which app to use. I guess that means my next phone is probably going to be the OnePlus One or the next Moto X.

Ah, ok. Did T2P work in GW when rooted? There were issues with this even on rooted devices running on those carriers that didn't support GW. XDA has a couple of threads stickied that covers how to "trick" GW into not doing a carrier check (or something like that).

Yeah GW worked like a charm when rooted. I was going between CM and AOKP. I need to check out XDA on my lunch break. That would be awesome if I could do that. Thanks for the tip!!

Your welcome. Had a Optimus G previously and was running CM. GW T2P worked fine on CM. Went back to stock (rooted) and ended up using their fix to get T2P to work on stock. That was until Google released that last major upgrade (the one that made Wallet available to everyone). That update seemed to break the fix. I believe they've updated it since then. GW T2P works on stock, unrooted Sprint G2 so now I don't really have a reason to root or go custom ROM.

An added benefit is that wallet will automatically show my loyalty cards when I am near a store with a saved card. So if I go to CVS, the CVS card automatically shows up without me having to hunt for it in the app menu.

Too bad you cant just import the info for those of us who have the Key Ring app. If you could i'd ditch that app in a sec!

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Have you found a solution to having to manual transfer of info from Key Ring APP to Google Wallet Loyalty?

I too have Key Ring app and wish to consolidate my apps to this Google platform.

Something to take note of is if you are in a place where the cellular coverage is bad (such as inside of some buildings) you cannot unlock your Wallet and get to your loyalty cards. This of course depends on how your settings are in the Wallet app (you can make it so it doesn't lock when exiting). I've run into this where I know before I enter a certain pharmacy to unlock the Wallet outside (where I get a single bar at 3G speeds) and then I can use the loyalty card part indoors. I wish Google would make it so certain functions of Wallet still worked even if the unlock is unsuccessful such as loyalty cards and offers. In other words, unlock Wallet and if successful be able to do everything such as tap-n-pay or if unsuccessful only present the option to show loyalty cards and nearby offers.

Been that way for a while now. I thought I would use the clipped offers a lot more but there's a small print that says mobile coupons might not be accepted and sure enough I tried getting my garage door replace last week and they wouldn't accept the clipped offer. I've never had problems using it at pizzerias/restaurants though I use it very rarely.

I have no idea what a "loyalty card" is...

On a side note... Stater brothers is no longer allowing people to use google wallet on their phones. They told me they "do not trust phone purchases at this time".

It does work, but I got pretty marginal reads on the scanner, compared to my Key Ring app. Two of the first three scans gave me faulty decodes, and I learned that it doesn't help to subsequently edit the numbering - the incorrect bar code doesn't get corrected from the key input. In case of a misread, I needed to delete the entry completely and start over.

I like that Google Wallet automatically cranks up the screen brightness when you open a loyalty card.

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