DYI 2-in-one credit/fidelity card

Do you have a fidelity card you use often? How about a credit card? Did you ever wish you didn’t have to take both cards out whenever making a purchase? Here is a low-tech way to combine the two together so that you can leave your fidelity card at home.

This guide assumes that you:

- Have a plastic credit card (chip, tap or strip is irrelevant)

- A barcode-based fidelity card (it’s okay if it has a magnetic strip, but this approach won’t work if you mostly use it with the strip)

What you need:

- A printer (you could technically draw a barcode yourself, but I wouldn’t recommend it)

- Optional: Self-adhesive labels such as Avery 5161

- Optional: a smartphone with a barcode scanning app

Guide

Let’s suppose you are a proud holder of a PC Financial credit card and collect points via the Air Miles program (those are Canadian, but any card/program would do):

Sample credit card
Sample fidelity card

To combine the two cards together, we will replicate the fidelity program barcode and paste it on the top of the credit card.

Step One: Find out your full fidelity card number

Your fidelity card number can be longer than the account number printed in the front of your card. The best way to ensure that you have the full number is to scan the barcode on the back of your card to find out what the number is (it might also be printed next to the barcode).

In our example of the Air Miles card, the barcode on the back looks like this:

Your card barcode

Scanning it reveals the following number: 7789012345677

Take note of it, this is what you will need to generate your barcode.

Step Two: generate the correct barcode

The next step is to use a barcode-generating tool to generate your barcode. For example, the following site does a great job at it: https://barcode.tec-it.com/en

It is important to understand that there is a large number of barcode standards — you need to make sure the barcode you generate matches the one used by the card. The easiest way of getting it right is to try generating the barcode using the different formats (e.g. Code-128, Code-39, EAN-13 etc).

In the case of Air Miles, it uses the EAN-13 format. If you enter the 7789012345677 account number, the site will generate the following downloadable image:

Generated barcode

As you can see, the barcode matches our original one (the fact that some bars are longer is irrelevant).

Step Three: print the barcode sticker

It is now time to print the barcode sticker. If using the Avery labels, you can download a free template from their website that will have a pre-formatted table where you can paste your image. To make it look cooler, you can find and paste the fidelity program logo:

Generated barcode with logo

Note about the size: make sure that the barcode fits nicely on the credit card and doesn’t obstruct the chip (if any) or the name/card number. Since a typical credit card is 3.375” wide, using 1.7” is a reasonable width.

Here is an example of a printed sticker:

Printed sticker

Step Four: paste the sticker

Once you’ve printed the sticker, cut it out and paste it carefully on your credit card. Here is an example of a card with the sticker printed on it:

Two-in-one — credit card with a fidelity barcode

Now, when you are asked for a fidelity card when making a purchase, you can scan the code on the credit card instead of using a separate card!

Closing notes

Some folks would note that one can already use a smartphone app to display a fidelity card barcode, and combined with mobile forms of payment, one only needs their phone. This is true, but not all stores have scanners capable of scanning device screens, and not all stores accept touch/mobile payments.

Note: I am not affiliated with Air Miles, Avery or President’s Choice. All logos and trademarks are copyright of their respective owners and only used here for illustrative purposes.

Note: both credit card and fidelity card account numbers and names are not real.

Write code for fun and living