If you’re like many people, you probably dispose of paper receipts right after you make a purchase. But when you toss that receipt in the trash bin, you may be throwing away valuable savings along with it.
A bevy of apps offer savings, coupons and rewards, simply for scanning and sharing your receipts. Why? Finding out where and what customers are purchasing, and which customers are buying certain items, benefits stores and brands in all sorts of areas — from marketing to inventory to price point.
Most of the apps are free, though you are required to give your email address and, in some cases, additional information such as your birth date and local zip code. For those OK with sharing such personal details with marketers and stores, the apps have an added benefit: Once scanned, your receipts are stored in a photo library, making it easier for you to track and instantly recall your purchases and spending history.
Here are five apps to download now so that you can start to rack up savings. Most require you to scan your receipt within a few weeks of your purchase.
More than 300 retailers, including grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and convenience stores, support the Ibotta app. You can scan your receipt with the app to earn rewards points that can be converted to rebates at participating stores and businesses. Users can also earn rebates by linking any loyalty cards — the app automatically credits your account with purchases made with the card — or by making purchases from within the Ibotta app itself.
Unlike Ibotta, ReceiptPal is not linked to certain stores — the app accepts any receipt you scan. With each receipt entered, users bank rewards points that can be exchanged for gift cards. Each receipt you scan also enters you into weekly sweepstakes for cash, gift cards, and other prizes. For purchases made online, you can forward your emailed receipt to ReceiptPal, and your rewards account will be credited.
A receipt scanning app with a healthy twist, BerryCart only offers rewards for purchases of organic, gluten-free and non-GMO (genetically modified organism) foods. Like the other apps, scanned receipts for foods in those categories earn you the chance to receive cash-back rebates that can be redeemed through PayPal or banked on a gift card. BerryCart makes you work a tiny bit harder than other apps: In order to be eligible for rebates, users must interact with the app by taking quizzes and reading information and testimonials about its affiliated products. Another category-specific receipts-for-rewards app, bevRAGE, offers cash back to users who buy beer, wine or liquor at bars, restaurants, and stores.
Though not focused on organic and gluten-free products like BerryCart, Checkout51 is somewhat unique among these apps in that it offers rebates on produce. Like the other apps, you can check the app to see which products are offering rebates and coupons before heading to the store. After your purchase, scan your receipt and get the rebates and cash back transferred to your Checkout51 account.
Wal-Mart Savings Catcher
If you’re a regular Wal-Mart shopper, the Savings Catcher app should have a prominent spot on your home screen. Scan your Wal-Mart receipt, and the app automatically and instantly compares prices of the products you purchased against its competitors. If it finds a better one, the app credits your Savings Catcher account with the difference in price, and you can put that money toward your next Wal-Mart purchase.