Several variables including phone type, scanner type, and ambient lighting can result in situations where the phone will not scan in the store. Not all phone screens are equal. It depends on the device. Flatbed scanners in the grocery store rarely work because the laser tends to refract off of the reflection on your phone. If you can, always try to get the cashier to use their handheld scanners when they’re available. The optical handheld scanner will work 100% of the time and laser scanners might work depending upon your phone screen. Optical scanners work best because they are designed to work on phone screens. If your barcode won’t scan, have cashier type in the number. Push the “Won’t Scan” button so that the number is easily displayed on the screen for the cashier to read. It still beats carrying around all those cards!
The good news is that technology to scan a barcode off any type of phone is available today. Scanners at places like CVS, Kroger, Walgreens and Toys R US work very well – others are catching up. While it’s not going to happen overnight, we think this is where things are going.