Numi Key: An End to Loyalty Card Overload

Retail loyalty programs are great money savers, but toting and shuffling through all those cards is a real hassle. Now, thanks to the folks at Ecrio Mobeam and their new Numi Key, loyalty card overload is a thing of the past.

My wallet bulges with loyalty cards, and I only have four. This is nothing considering most people have around 14. My problem with these card is that they are always falling out of my wallet, and I have a hard time fishing out the small ones. And God forbid if I ever leave my card behind. I’m doomed to get the evil eye from other shoppers as the checkout clerk finds me in the system. Oh, the embarrassment as the line grows and groans.

To remedy my situation, I picked up a Numi on Soon, Numi should be available from many other retailers. 

I was delighted with its small size. Numi is a small, battery-operated device no larger than a box of matches. It looks like a mini Apple iPod, sporting a bright, backlit LCD and circular thumb control that surround a red “scan” button.

There’s a red LED on top, which is where all the magic happens. The LED pulsates at microsecond speed to beam numbers into the scanner.

To lighten my load even further, Numi stores more than just loyalty cards. It’ll replace any card with a barcode, such as club membership cards. At this time, 64 retailers are available for uploading, which covered most of my needs. Mobeam is adding more cards every day and hopes to have a “self-loading” feature ready within the next few months. This will allow me to upload my often used library card.

I’ve yet to take my new Numi for a spin, but here’s how it works.

Attach Numi to a PC’s USB port via the provided cable, and the display comes to life letting you know it’s charging. A full charge should last several weeks. The display indicates that soon you’ll be able to upload coupons and gift cards, but that feature is not yet available. For now, Numi only works with PCs. Apple Mac compatibility is coming later this year. Also, you must use Internet Explorer (version IE6 or greater) for its ActiveX control. More browser options are coming.

To load your Numi, visit and register the unit. To add cards, simply select a retailer from the drop-down menu, enter the card number and you’re ready to shop. It’s a relatively simple process.

At checkout, click to the appropriate card and Numi is ready to scan. To beam your number, simply press the big red button as you hold the device 4-6 inches from the scanner.

So far I’ve added two grocery stores as well as my Petco, BestBuy and DSW cards.

I’m eager to give this a run, and hope my days of card shuffling will soon be over. It’s about time someone invented a convenient way to rid the world of loyalty card overload.  I’m sure my wife, who has a wallet stuffed with cards, will soon be begging me for my Numi.

Once I get my groceries in the fridge, I’ll be happy to share my experience. Time to go shopping!