Grocery apps pay users to shop
NEW YORK — Preparing for your Thanksgiving meal? Be aware that a new breed of shopping apps makes it easier to save money at the grocery store: Take a picture of the receipt and wait for the cash to roll in.
SavingStar, Snap, Checkout 51 and others let users earn money back if they buy certain products. Recent offers include getting $5 back for buying a Jennie-O frozen turkey, 25 cents back on a jar of Peter Pan peanut butter and $1 back on Dole pineapple juice.
Shoppers first have to open the apps and scroll through the offers available. New deals are added weekly, and the apps work in most large retailers, including Stop & Shop, Target, Walmart and others.
To verify purchases, users take a picture of the receipt with their smartphone camera. Sometimes they also need to scan the product’s barcode with the phone’s camera. The apps add cash to the user’s account within a day or two. When the account reaches a certain level, usually $20, users can request a check or move the money into their bank accounts.
Here’s how the apps work:
Checkout 51: This app offers deals that can be used in any store, as long as the receipt spells out the name of the product. Checkout 51 users can get a paper check once their balance reaches more than $20. More info: checkout51.com.
Ibotta: This app can be used in many big retailers, including ShopRight, CVS and Whole Foods. To unlock offers, the app sometimes makes you watch a 30-second ad or take a quick poll. Users can cash out after they earn $10 by transferring the money to their PayPal or Venmo accounts. They can get Starbucks or iTunes gift cards if they prefer. More info: ibotta.com.
SavingStar: Besides its regular weekly offers, SavingStar also gives back the full price of one selected item between Friday and Sunday. For example, this past weekend, users who bought a cup of Newman’s Own Greek yogurt got the full price returned. The app works at certain stores, but includes most major retailers such as Costco, Kroger and Walgreens. The app will let you know which stores it works at based on your location. You only need to earn a minimum of $5 to cash out, and the money can be sent to a PayPal or bank account. More info: savingstar.com.
Snap: Introduced last month by daily-deal site Groupon, this app works at any store. Users can request a check when they earn more than $20. More info: snap.groupon.com.