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 Amazon.co.uk 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.
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.
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.
Receipt scanning apps aren't known for their speed in being able to cash out, with the Amazon Shopper Panel system being the exception, but this app replaced the Receipt Hog app in 2020, which was notorious for being a slow burner, but Storewards is a step in the right direction, with faster payouts possible than some of its rivals.
It's well worth downloading as part of your receipt scanning app collection!
We have a referral code for Storewards, which will give you extra sign up credit, so if you fancy the bonus, use the referral code svxva during the signup process.
4. Snap My Eats
Snap My Eats is a receipt scanning app based around scanning your food receipts.
The idea is that every time you buy something to eat, you keep a hold of the receipt and scan it into the Snap My Eats app. The app will ask you where you purchased the food from, how many people were involved in the purchase and where the food was going to be consumed (e.g. at home, at work, in the car etc.), and if you purchased the food in the store, through a drive-thru, or by another means such as a food delivery service.
The receipts can be from any retailer you purchased food from, perhaps a supermarket, convenience store, restaurant, or even a packet of crisps from a petrol station, basically anywhere you have purchased something to be eaten.
The app will pay you for each valid receipt you upload; the rate is £1 per 5 receipts, up to 25 receipts a month, which will earn you £5.
Once you get to £10 (Every 2 months if you scan the full 25 receipts every month), you can then cash out from the app. The service offers a range of withdrawal options from its reward centre, and you can choose what you would like; I always get a £10 Amazon voucher, which I try and save up for when I want to get something I really want.
It's a pretty easy way to earn £60 every year and one of the apps I tend to use the most.
You can download the app HERE.
Huyu is a supermarket themed receipt app-only accepting receipts from the main supermarkets; Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Iceland, Ocado and Waitrose.
You scan the receipts in the conventional manner into the app, earning 5 points per accepted receipt, and once you hit 500 points, you can then cash out a £5 voucher to spend.
You can also email receipts to the app, for extra points, from online supermarket purchases.
Like most of these apps, the receipts must be from within the last 7 days to be accepted.
It's a decent enough app to use, and I've had a few payouts from service, but it can take a bit of time, as you will need to scan 100 receipts to get a £5 payout, but it gets there eventually!
You can download the app HERE.
I'm including this app in this post, in addition to the top 5 apps, because I do like the idea of Zip Zero, it's just had a few problems over the last few years, and I'm on the fence about recommending it. Still, I'm going to, as I think the more people that get involved with it, the more likely it will develop into a decent app again! The app ran into financial issues during the first wave of the pandemic and spent around 18 months looking for additional financial backers. It looked pretty grim for the service; however, in late 2021, Zip Zero announced that they were launching an updated version of the app and re-launching their services... kind of.
So basically, the old premise was that you scanned a copy of any shopping receipt into the app, and you would be rewarded with 1% cashback on the receipt value, which in return could be redeemed as part payment towards one of your utility bills, once you hit £10 cashback. The 1% was reduced to 0.5% when things got tough, and then Zip Zero said they could not finance any withdrawals but to keep scanning, and once a new financial backer was found, they would then be in a position to make payments again.
It became clear that no new backer could be found; they re-launched their service with new rules and policies. Firstly you could still scan your receipts, and the 0.5% base cashback reward would still be applicable. HOWEVER, the most significant change was that to be able to claim the cashback reward, you had to match the reward with cashback earned using Zip Zero's Premium Rewards system, which is a service where you earn cash back on purchases made via its online service, in the same way as you might using a service such as TopCashback or Quidco. The idea is that for every £1 you earn via its premium service, you can also claim £1 of your cashback earned via the receipt scanning based reward system.
So basically, to cash out, you must also make purchases using the service's online ordering system. Now, this isn't the end of the world, as I, like many other people, make full use of cashback sites, and so you could just use Zip Zero for your online purchases instead of your regular cashback sites, however sadly, in most cases the 0.5 - 10% cashback offered by Zip Zero, for online purchases, often falls short of what you could earn elsewhere.
As an example, I could earn 1% cash back by shopping at Wowcher through Zip Zero (on the day this was written) but could earn 3% at the same store if I used TopCashback, and if I was a new Wowcher customer, I could actually get that increased to 9%, and so there is quite a bit of a difference in what you could earn elsewhere, making the Zip Zero option, less of a draw for me.
Those Zip Zero users who have been using the system for a long time aren't able to withdraw any of their existing balance unless they use the premium service, which has upset many of their users, as many have a large amount of credit on the app, (I have £65), which they can't use unless they earn the same amount in online purchases, which for many would take a long time to get to unless, of course, they were making a large purchase through the online cashback service.
In my case, using the Wowcher example above, I would have to spend £6,500 to be able to claim my £65 existing cashback, which is a bit of a big ask (although I would get £130 cashback as I would have earned £65 as well for the purchase). So it is unlikely that I will see my total balance put towards any of my bills anytime soon!
The only saving grace is that Zip Zero offers 0.5% cashback on any Amazon purchase, which is quite unusual. Typically, Amazon cashback is only available on specific items or categories. So this is where I might get something back from my old receipts, as I do spend a fair bit with Amazon, both for non-food and food items, and so have a chance of getting at least a little cash back at some point.
Maybe give it a whirl and see what you think; it only takes a few seconds to scan a receipt, so do it at the same time as scanning other receipts into the other apps, and it may work out for you!
You can grab the ZipZero app HERE.
To sum up, if you want to earn a few extra quid without having to do a great deal, then receipt scanning is a pretty good option! The trick is to use multiple apps to make sure you are fully monetising your receipts and to get the family involved, have a place that all the family members know is the place to put any receipts they obtain, and make use of them all, as they all add up!
If you come across any other receipt scanning apps you think I should be using, just pop it in the comments below, and I will investigate!