According to the USDA, American households spend approximately 9.7% of their disposable income on food, with 5% of that spent on groceries. Furthermore, prices for at-home food have risen by 1.8% from 2019 to 2020. Clearly, grocery spending is a significant and increasing category for households across the country.
Thankfully, there are a variety of money-saving tactics that can help you save on groceries, from creating a budget for grocery spending to taking advantage of cash-back credit cards. But if you want to take your savings even further, consider using your smartphone more.
There are a variety of apps that pay you to scan grocery receipts, providing an easy way to earn cash back on purchases you’d make anyway. The next time you head to the grocery store, be sure to use at least one of the following grocery rebate apps to make money with your receipts.
How Grocery Receipt-Scanning Apps Work
There are many popular grocery rebate apps that help shoppers earn cash back. Although each app has its quirks, in general, users make money with receipts by following a fairly standard process:
- Select In-App Offers. Grocery rebate apps partner with specific grocery chains and brands to market sponsored products in the app. Before heading out to the grocery store, select the products you plan on buying that qualify for rebates.
- Shop. Complete a shopping trip and purchase sponsored products listed in your grocery rebate app.
- Upload Your Receipt. Scan your grocery receipt to provide proof of purchase for these items.
- Earn Rewards. Earn in-app points for uploading eligible receipts. Grocery rebate apps generally pay out through a variety of free gift cards or PayPal cash.
Some apps are more lenient with what receipts qualify for cash back, and it’s worth exploring several apps to find which you prefer.
Best Receipt-Scanning Apps
Eager to start trimming your grocery bill? These are the popular grocery rebate apps that are worth downloading.
Ibotta is an incredibly popular, free receipt-scanning app with more than 10 million downloads between its Android and iOS apps.
Like other grocery rebate apps, it’s easy to use Ibotta to turn your grocery receipts into cash in a few simple steps:
- Find Offers. Use the Ibotta app to add food items and household products to your shopping list. Ibotta makes it easy to sort by specific retailers or to look for online deals.
- Shop. Purchase products on your Ibotta shopping list. Be sure to read the offer details carefully to ensure you qualify for a rebate. Many offers require shopping at a specific retailer or for a certain product size or flavor.
- Redeem Your Receipt. Take a picture of your receipt using the Ibotta app to provide proof of purchase. You can also scan an item’s barcode using the app to verify your purchases. Once you add all your rebate items, tap “Send Receipt” to upload your receipt to Ibotta.
Your rebate appears in your Ibotta account within 48 hours. Note that you must upload receipts within seven days of an item’s purchase.
There are other ways to earn with Ibotta, such as shopping online for in-app offers. You can also link a loyalty card to the app to verify your purchases, saving the step of uploading your receipts manually. Ibotta partners with more than 1,500 brands and retailers, so it’s easy to find opportunities to save.
Once you reach $20 in your account, you can redeem your balance via PayPal, Venmo, or a wide variety of gift cards.
Check out our full Ibotta review to learn even more about this app.
2. Fetch Rewards
Fetch Rewards is similar to Ibotta, but Fetch Rewards is brand-specific and doesn’t care about which retailer you shop at.
Fetch Reward partners with dozens of popular brands. As long as a product from a partner brand appears on your shopping receipt, you earn Fetch Reward points. You earn a minimum of $0.025 per receipt, which admittedly isn’t much. However, the more products you have from eligible brands on your receipt, the more you earn. You can also earn points by buying special offers.
Fetch Rewards requires less effort than Ibotta. When you upload a receipt, Fetch Rewards looks for sponsored products and automatically pays you if they’re on your receipt, regardless of whether you knew about a special offer.
Once you reach $3 in your account, you can redeem your points for a wide variety of free gift cards to stores like Amazon and Target or for prepaid Visa cards.
Fetch Rewards is available for Android and iOS devices. This app is truly a low-effort way to earn free gift cards by shopping for brands you probably enjoy already.
ReceiptPal is probably the most straightforward receipt-scanning app. There are no sponsored offers or in-app purchases, and scanning receipts is the main way to earn money with this app.
NPD Group, a market research company, owns ReceiptPal. NPD Group aims to help companies develop and effectively market their products, and the data they collect from ReceiptPal receipts is part of this process.
ReceiptPal is available on Android and iOS devices, and creating an account is free. Members take a photo and upload their receipts through the ReceiptPal app to earn points. There are several criteria for eligible receipts:
- Purchaser. Receipts must be from your own shopping trip or from a household member’s trip.
- Retailers. Any consumer good purchase qualifies, not just grocery receipts.
- Location and Information. Receipts must include store name, date, total spend, and a phone number or ZIP code. Receipts must be in English and from retailers in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Guam.
- Timeframe. Submit receipts within one week of purchase. Complete submission rules are available on ReceiptPal’s website.
ReceiptPal pays users for uploading receipts by Point Cards. New users get five Point Cards that are each worth 100 points ($0.10), and uploading a receipt completes a single Point Card. Once you complete your first five Point Cards, ReceiptPal gives you up to three additional Point Cards worth 25 points each per week. Once you’ve reached your Point Cards maximum, receipt uploads earn sweepstake entries instead of points.
Points are redeemable for free gift cards to several retailers, including Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks, Target, and Walmart. ReceiptPal also runs three sweepstakes per week, allowing you the chance to earn cash prizes.
You can connect your up to three email accounts to your ReceiptPal account to automatically scan e-receipts and ensure online purchases count toward your Point Cards.
The lack of sponsored offers is a downside. However, you can always use apps like Fetch Rewards or Ibotta to shop for sponsored offers and use ReceiptPal to earn even more from your receipts.
There are numerous ways to earn kicks, the in-app point system, when using Shopkick. Shopkick grants points for following instructions such as entering a specific nearby store or scanning specific product barcodes while shopping.
You can also earn kicks by shopping online through the app and by shopping at Shopkick partners with a linked credit or debit card. Shopkick works with retailers like Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, and Kohl’s, so it’s easy to find local opportunities to earn kicks.
Another way to make money with Shopkick is to buy sponsored products and upload a picture of your receipt using the Shopkick app. The “Kicks Nearby” tab within the app highlights nearby stores and specific products that are eligible for rebates. Once you purchase an eligible product, upload your receipt for proof of purchase to earn kicks.
The number of kicks you earn for each task varies. One kick is only worth $0.004, and basic tasks like scanning barcodes or entering stores might only pay a few hundred kicks. Uploading receipts for rebates can earn more, but Shopkick is not a terribly fast-earning program.
However, by using Shopkick during your regular shopping trips and enabling app notifications, you can easily find rebates or free kicks in your area without much effort.
Kicks are redeemable for free gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Nike, and dozens of other stores. If you diligently use Shopkick alongside other receipt-scanning apps, you can realistically earn a few free gift cards per year.
5. Receipt Hog
Receipt Hog focuses primarily on receipts as a way to earn prizes. Using Receipt Hog only takes three steps: Simply upload receipts, earn points, and cash out for PayPal cash or free Amazon gift cards.
However, your receipt type determines what type of reward you earn. Receipt Hog classifies receipts in three categories:
- Coin Receipts. Coins are Receipt Hog’s in-app currency that you use to redeem prizes. Most receipts for consumer goods purchases award coins based on the total transaction value. Examples of coin receipts include receipts from grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and supercenters.
- Spin Receipts. Receipts can also earn spins at Hog Slots, Receipt Hog’s slot game that provides the chance to win bonus coins, cash prizes, or 100% money back for your most recent receipt. Examples of spin receipts include apparel, home improvement, electronics, or office supply purchases.
- Sweepstakes Receipts. Receipt Hog runs monthly sweepstakes that pay winners additional coins. Sweepstakes receipts include fuel purchases or receipts from restaurants, bars, delis, and cafes.
You also earn coins for leveling up your account. Each receipt upload counts toward level progression, although it takes more receipts to level up each time.
You must upload receipts within 14 days of the purchase. A receipt must contain the store name, list of items, prices, transaction total, and date to qualify. You can upload up to 20 receipts per week. To earn coins faster, you can also connect your email to Receipt Hog to automatically upload e-receipts.
You can redeem coins for rewards once you reach 1,000 coins in your account, worth $10 in rewards. Receipts pay between 5 and 20 coins based on the transaction total. While it takes a while to reach 1,000 coins, the fact that Receipt Hog accepts almost any shopping receipt and gives you the chance to win bonus coins from Hog Slots helps speed up the earning process.
6. Checkout 51
Checkout 51 is another popular receipt-scanning app that provides an easy way to earn cash back on groceries and gas. This app is quite similar to Ibotta and works in five steps:
- Download Checkout 51. The app is available on Android and iOS devices.
- Browse Offers. Checkout 51 promotes sponsored offers that are eligible for rebates every Thursday. Add products you plan on purchasing to you Checkout 51 shopping list.
- Shop and Redeem. After you complete a shopping trip, check off products you purchased from your Checkout 51 shopping list within the app.
- Upload Receipt. Take a picture of your receipt and upload it to the app.
- Earn Cash Back. Eligible receipts earn cash back. You can redeem your balance via check once you reach at least $20.
The Checkout 51 app makes it easy to find rebate offers. You can sort by product category or by store, and many products are available at multiple grocery chains. Additionally, Checkout 51 also lists several basic food items, such as bread and eggs, that are eligible for cash back regardless of the retailer.
Offers go live at 12am on Thursday in each time zone and expire the following Wednesday at 11:59pm. Because offers are available in limited quantities, it’s important to check your Checkout 51 shopping list before your next shopping trip to ensure offers are still available.
Checkout 51 members can also earn up to $0.25 per gallon on fuel purchases at gas stations like Shell, BP, Exxon, and Chevron.
While Checkout 51 is less passive than an app like Fetch Rewards, the variety of rebate offers and ability to earn from gas receipts make this app worth trying out.
It isn’t every day that a receipt-scanning app appears on “Shark Tank” and secures a $250,000 deal.
CoinOut is one of the easiest ways to make money scanning receipts because it lets users redeem rewards faster than any other app and it isn’t limited to groceries and household purchases.
CoinOut is available for Android and iOS, and you earn cash back for every transaction. As long as your receipt lists the date, store name, transaction total, and products, it qualifies. The only receipts that don’t earn rewards are ATM receipts, lotto tickets, money orders, credit card slips, and non-English receipts.
There is a daily range of the minimum and maximum amounts you can earn from a receipt. In other words, the transaction total doesn’t influence the cash-back amount. There is also a random daily receipt upload limit.
According to CoinOut reviews on Reddit, receipts pay anywhere from $0.01 to $0.15 but typically fall in the lower range. But you can redeem your account balance through free Amazon gift cards or direct deposit at any value.
Cashing out with PayPal requires a minimum of $10. However, no other receipt-scanning app lets you redeem your balance any time with gift cards or direct deposit. This is a significant advantage to using CoinOut. Fetch Rewards has a $3 minimum, and apps like Ibotta or Checkout 51 require $20.
CoinOut is a fast and easy way to make money by scanning receipts. Plus, the app has a rotating list of partner offers that enable users to earn additional cash back by shopping online through the app.
Groceries and household products are unavoidable expenses. And with food prices increasing annually, it’s important to save money where possible.
A receipt-scanning app won’t save you thousands of dollars per year. However, these apps are a low-effort way to recoup some of your monthly spending. As long as you remember to upload your receipts and have realistic expectations, making money with receipts should be an easy habit to incorporate alongside other frugal practices.
Do you have a favorite receipt-scanning app you use to earn cash back? Why do you like it?