Receipt Scanning Apps - How do They Work, & How Much Can I Earn From Them?

What do you do with your till receipts from your purchases? Do you screw them up and put them in the bin, throw them into the bottom of your purse or wallet, perhaps they are lining the bottom of your handbag, do you pop them in a drawer just in case you need them later on, to take something back, or maybe you just leave the receipt in the shop..?

Well, you can do all those things, but before you do, did you know you can earn cash from those pesky bits of paper?

Yes, indeed, your receipts can earn you money but don't go packing your bags, ready for your receipts to pay for a luxury holiday for you, they are unlikely to do that, but they can still put a few extra pounds in your bank account every month, or so!

So what's a receipt scanning app?

Receipt scanning apps are smartphone apps made by companies that will pay you to upload your payment receipts to their systems. They will analyse your receipts, figure out what you buy and sell that information to retailers and market research companies.

Now that might have just turned you off; after all, do you want your buying habits being analysed by companies? Well, here's the thing, your data is already being used to track your buying... use a supermarket loyalty card? If yes, you are already being tracked; the supermarkets look at your purchasing history to make recommendations to you for special offers and discounts for products you buy frequently.

Your internet browser tracks what you look at and what you buy, sells that data and then you get offer after offer come up for items you are interested in via online adverts and social media ads, so the technique is nothing new!

I look at it this way, if someone wants to give me money to, show them my receipts, so they can see if I like to buy wholemeal bread or sourdough or if I'm addicted to buying gallons of Diet Coke (I am!), or do I only purchase the finest branded mineral water, well that's fine by me! Frankly, sharing my spending habits with companies doesn't lose me sleep at night; worrying about money is far more likely to have me tossing and turning in bed!

So how does it work?

The apps differ slightly, but the principle is the same; using the receipt scanning app, you take a photo of a receipt, upload it via the app, and you will be rewarded with either points or cash. Once you reach a payment minimum for withdrawing your money or converting the points to cash/vouchers, you can cash out.

The minimum withdrawal amount is generally between £5 and £10, depending on the app, and how long this will take to be in a position to cash out will vary from app to app. Some you can earn £5 in a few days, others a few weeks, and some a few months, it really varies.

As I stated earlier, you won't get rich from receipt scanning apps, but the extra few pounds do add up, and many people will save their balance until Christmas, then cash out and have a decent amount to put towards the Christmas costs.

The nice part of the apps is that you can use the same receipt on each app, meaning each receipt you upload is earning you cash on each app simultaneously, so you are monetising that receipt several times over, which is super handy!

Some apps now also allow you to email them copies of online purchases as well, so that Amazon purchase, food delivery or online supermarket purchase, order confirmation emails can be forwarded to a dedicated email address unique to your account. That receipt/email confirmation will also be included in your account and will count towards getting closer to your next withdrawal.

Withdrawals are normally paid out via a gift card being sent to you. Each app is different, and sometimes you can choose what gift card you get; other times, you will be sent a particular retailer's gift card, with Amazon being a very popular one.

The occasional app will also give you an option to be paid via PayPal, meaning you can receive 'actual cash' rather than a slightly more limiting gift card.

What sorts of receipts can you use?

Each app may have different rules on what sort of receipt they will accept. Some will take only food/supermarket receipts, and some will take pretty much any type of receipt!

As a generalisation, the apps aren't interested in receipts such as ones obtained from car parking, lottery tickets, prescription costs; it's the coffee shop, restaurants, supermarkets, and clothing shop type receipts that are interested in for them to sell on; most marketing companies aren't interested in where you parked or what medication you may be on!

Most apps will only accept receipts from the last 7 days, so you need to keep on top with getting those receipts scanned regularly; otherwise, the app won't accept them. It's monotonous scanning the receipts; I won't pretend otherwise, so it's better to scan them regularly and not let them build up; otherwise, you have to spend ages scanning them all in at once, made even more annoying if you are using several of the apps at once, as you have to scan each receipt into each app, so it takes even longer!

It's one of those little jobs that are perfect to do when relaxing on the sofa, while sat watching the telly, as it's easy to do, doesn't take long, and means you are earning money while sitting watching Eastenders!

Here are my recommendations for the five receipt scanning apps that I think you should have on your phone, and yes, you should use them all!

1. Amazon Shopper Panel

This scheme is the newest receipt app service to launch in the UK, although it's been in the US for some time, and it's also the best!

You only need to upload 10 receipts per month to earn a £5 Amazon voucher. Hence, it's super-fast, and I would be shocked if anyone didn't accumulate 10 receipts per month to upload. However, receipts from and other Amazon stores, including Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh, are not eligible.

You can also email receipts from online retailers, which are added to your account, making it even easier to earn rewards.

You can also top up your balance by answering questions in the apps surveys section, where you can be paid for answering some quick and easy questions.

You need to have an Amazon account to take part, as the scheme pays you once your account reaches the minimum redemption amount of £5, and this is paid via a £5 Amazon gift card, direct to your Amazon account. The payments tend to be sent to you within the first few days of a new month, so as an example, your payment for February's receipt scans is sent to you in the first few days of March.

The scheme is by invitation only for Amazon customers, and in theory, Amazon will send you an email asking you if you want to take join up; however, I just downloaded the app, which was on the Apple app page, and signed up, and it registered me immediately, and off I went, so I think at the moment anyone can join up, but if it is full, it will allow you to join a waiting list.

You can find out more on the Amazon Shopper Panel Website or read more about the service on our blog.

2. Shoppix

Using the app, you take a photo of your receipt and rate the shopping trip (it takes 1 second to rate), and then once the receipt has been validated, you are awarded points which are then added to your Shoppix account.

Once you reach 3200 points, you can then cash out £5.00 (or keep the points in there and cash out later and cash out a more significant amount). You can choose to have the cash via PayPal with iTunes, Amazon, or Love to shop gift cards. Receipts are typically awarded between 25 and 30 points each.

You can also forward selected online shopping receipts to the service as well. You sign up to do this via the Shoppix app. They will allocate you with a dedicated email address; you forward your online shopping receipts to the email address you were given and will then be given points for your email receipt. Not every online retailer is included in the service, but most of the more prominent name retailers are. If not, the app will tell you the receipt is not recognised, and they will then double-check the receipt, and if ok, they will accept it; if not, you won't receive any points. I've noticed a decrease in the time between cashing out on this app; I forward all my online receipts, so it is worthwhile doing.

You can also earn extra points by conducting special surveys on the app, often asking more in-depth questions about a recent /shopping trip and what you think about the brand, and you will be awarded additional points for doing these, plus you also then get a scratch card, which you may be awarded extra points as well. Still, sometimes you are unlucky, and it's a no-win card!

Referral Link - Click HERE to sign up with Shoppix. Use referral code - CAOWY6GT and receive 200 additional points.

3. Storewards

It is a very easy-to-use app that accepts receipts from a wide range of retailers, although it doesn't yet have the functionality to forward online receipts to the service. The app awards points for each scanned and accepted receipt. You usually receive 600 points per receipt you upload, with point redemptions starting at 20,000 points for a £2 PayPal voucher and 50,000 points for a £5 Amazon or PayPal voucher.