Two months ago, I began an experiment with couponing apps for my smartphone. I downloaded Ibotta, Checkout 51, MobiSave, Coupons.com, and Receipt Hog specifically for their offers and pay-outs. I also have downloaded store-specific apps (like Walmart’s Savings Catcher and Target’s Cartwheel) that I’ll review at a later date.
Disclaimer: I am not being paid in any way, shape, or form to review or endorse these apps. I mean, I’m getting deals and offers and such from them like any other user, but the companies behind these services haven’t given me anything special to talk about them. The apps are free to download.
Sadly, Receipt Hog notified me via email that they do not have any spots currently available and their wait list is long. Therefore, without further ado, I present to you FOUR of the Top Coupon Apps for Androids.
App Name: Ibotta
Google Play Rating: 4.25 Stars (209k+ ratings)
Earned in First Month: $12.65
The set-up was very simple and similar to other savings apps’ opening procedures. I recommend looking over what’s offered before going shopping to match the rebates with other coupons and sales. I just discovered that you can link your store loyalty cards to “unlock” rewards before you shop; my most frequently shopped store with a loyalty card is not on their list of Preferred Partners.
When you’ve done your shopping and maybe selected other rebates, you select the “Verify Purchases” button. This leads you through two steps: Scan Product Barcodes and Take a photo of your Store receipt. On some items, you will not scan a barcode, like certain produce. But since most items need to be scanned, this isn’t something you can do from the comfort of your bed or even your desk at work. Depending on how your kitchen and pantry are set up, it may be easier to get this app going while you’re putting your groceries away. After you’ve scanned your product barcodes, you’ll use the app to take photos of your receipt. I have super long receipts all the time since I do bulk shopping and use shopper cards and coupons; this has to be my least favorite part of Ibotta, which has nothing to do with Ibotta and everything to do with lining up the edges and where I left off from the previous photo.
The amount you’ve aggregated in rebates goes into My Balance with which you can transfer cash to a linked PayPal or Venmo account or you can buy gift cards to places like Target, Olive Garden, JoAnn Fabrics, and more. Of all of these options, your balance must be $20.00 minimum.
Ibotta is all about teamwork. The social media accounts you link will be checked for “friends” that also use Ibotta, and without you lifting an extra finger, your teammates “work” together to save and earn towards Teamwork levels. You also are rewarded for inviting friends; currently, if a friend joins Ibotta with your referral code, they receive a $10 welcome bonus and you receive $5.
There are more ways to save, like with Bonus Rebates and completing little challenges that differ each month. These help you move along towards reaching that $20 threshold. Without the sign-on bonus and these extras, it looks like it would take me a long time to reach that cash out amount.
Pros: Easy to use; can select frequently visited stores to make finding rebates easier
Cons: Required to scan product barcodes; like most coupons, these rebates are mainly for name brand or new products, both of which I tend to avoid
Verdict: KEEP USING
App Name: Checkout 51
Google Play Rating: 4 Stars (47k reviews)
Earned in First Month: $1.00
The set-up was very simple and similar to other savings apps’ opening procedures. I recommend looking over what’s offered before going shopping to match the rebates with other coupons and sales.
There is a very long list of offers each week that can be refined by selecting categories or stores. There is not, however, a search bar. This makes scrolling necessary and tedious. Frequently, I do not find any offers that suit me. The offers you “star” are listed, you select the option to take the photo(s) of your receipt, then once you click “finish”, you wait while it uploads. And wait. Then you get a congratulatory screen telling you how much you’ve saved.
It says, “You can request a check when your account balance reaches $20.” This could take a very long time, considering most offers are like coupons and for only 10 or 40 cents. Once you claim a starred offer, you most likely won’t be able to claim it again. You don’t have to scan the individual items. The receipt-photo-taking process is similar to other rebate and savings apps.
Pros: Many options; get a real check
Cons: Rarely are there offers I’ll use; terminal scrolling to view all offers
App Name: MobiSave
Google Play Rating: 3 Stars (2,393 reviews)
Earned in First Month: $1.55
I don’t recall how I even heard of this one, but I liked the idea that I received the benefits of selected offers right away, like if I were using a paper coupon at the checkout. The set-up was quick and simple. There is a short list of offers. After photographing your receipt, you’ll “paperclip” which offers actually apply to that receipt. Once they’re confirmed, the money saved is sent directly to your PayPal account.
I do bulk shopping so the last time I used MobiSave, I had 6 receipts that were all quite long. The way this app is set up to capture images of your receipts makes it difficult to know where your last picture ended and your next needs to begin. In the end, there were 4 offers that applied to me. There were 4 deposits made to PayPal within an hour. My first payment from MobiSave was only $.40, but I got it right away without waiting and saving up to a $20 threshold.
Pros: Immediate deposit into PayPal; frequently offered “any type, any size” deals
Cons: Not many offers; can’t see previous pictures in series when photographing long receipts
Verdict: KEEP USING
App Name: Coupons.com
Google Play Rating: 4 Stars (18,800 reviews)
Earned in First Month: $0.00, but I may have saved some by loading deals to my Pay-Less card
I have used Coupons.com in the past to select deals and print coupons to present at checkout. This app allows that as well as linking to your store shopper cards for automatic digital coupons.
You *must* visit the app prior to shopping, not after. They don’t want to capture your receipt if you have a store loyalty card; they want to provide coupons directly to the card. Part of the set-up for this app is typing in the numbers on your loyalty cards. If you are like me, you don’t even have these because you provide your phone number to the cashier. I use my Kroger Plus card and I frequently use their digital coupons option, so I logged into that account to access my card number to copy-and-paste into this app.
For stores you frequent that do not use loyalty cards, you will submit your receipt after shopping. When you’ve submitted receipts and they’re accepted, you receive cash back via PayPal.
Coupons.com has a whole slew of other money saving options, like printable coupons and online coupon codes for sites like Overstock and Guitar Center. I’ve used their printable coupons in the past, from their website and not this app, and can attest to the safety of the printing software they need you to use. If you use the app to select coupons, you have the option to print or email them. I do not have a WiFi compatible printer but have emailed myself the link to print directly from my computer. Check your library for wireless printing if you’d like to use this option.
Although I downloaded and accessed this app the same as the other savings apps, I have yet to use anything off of it. I don’t use the products they have presented in the time I’ve been doing this little experiment (seven weeks at the writing of this review).
Pros: Many ways to save
Cons: Lots of offers to scroll through only to discover I won’t use any of them
Verdict: DELETE but keep visiting the website on my laptop for paper coupons