How many times have you turned down a loyalty card because you just know that you'll just never remember to carry it around? Or perhaps you've said "yes" and then cursed every time you got to the front of a supermarket queue and heard the words, "do you have a reward card?" after you realised that you left it at home.

The sad fact is that we could all be Nectar or Tesco millionaires by now, if only we'd had an easier way to collect the club points. Well, now, if you've got a good smartphone, you do. Meet...

Key Ring

Android/iPhone OS
Android Market/iTunes

Key Ring is the kind of app that every phone should be able to do but, for now, it seems stuck on either just iPhone or Android. The only hardware it requires to run is a camera and a half decent screen but the bar code scanning software doesn't seem to have made it to all the Nokias, BlackBerrys and feature phones of the world just yet.

Assuming you have a compatible handset, all you have to do is scan in the barcodes of your store cards - or enter them manually if there's only a membership number - and the app then recreates a suitable version of the barcode on your screen which can be called up at any time.

app of the day key ring android iphone  image 1

The idea is that while you're in the shopping queue at Budgens, you whip out your phone, load up the Key Ring app, select Budgens from your menu and it'll bring up your barcode ready to have scanned by the shop assistant when they're done totting up your groceries or you can run it through yourself if you're at a self service machine. Either way, it's easy loyalty points without having to take anything out of your wallet or remember to put it in there in the first place.

Once your cards are stored in your phone, the details are backed up in the cloud, so you've no need to worry about losing your handset or having to input all the details again when you decide to upgrade. The other major advantage is that you can scan the same loyalty card details into the phones of all your family members so that you're all collecting reward points on the same account.

So there we go. Easy shopping with Key Ring and no excuses not to be reaping in the rewards of a few blank CDs in two years' time.