Many brand manufacturers are opting to go paperless when offering coupons on their products. When you consider the printing, paper and postage costs they incur with paper coupons, it makes sense because they can still offer great savings to potential customers while controlling their costs.
Since there are often no restrictions except for size and quantity on these offers, some really great stacking opportunities can present themselves, which is great news for couponers. All that is needed to access these apps is a compatible smartphone and a data plan or wireless connection.
Quite often the same product will be offered on more than one app, in addition to paper coupons, meaning you might get 3 or more discounts on the same product!
The Top 5 Apps In Detail
1) Checkout 51
Checkout 51 is one of the better apps because they have plenty of good offers on commonly used household products. You can cash out after $20 is accumulated in your account and they will mail you a cheque.
One thing to be aware of is that Checkout 51 uses barcode verification on some of their offers. It is initiated when you submit your receipt to redeem the offer and you will be prompted to scan the UPC of the product in question to ensure that you have purchased the required item. This is a very quick procedure that I do not find to be a hassle. So far, Checkout 51 is the only app to require this.
Accounts are limited to one per member and two per household. If you have more than one membership in your household, there may be differences in the products or rebate amounts for the same offers. Sometimes I will get a lower cost on an item by redeeming it on my husbands membership other than from my own, due to different rebate amounts for the same product.
This app generally has fewer offers than Checkout 51, but usually have higher customer limits and rebate amounts. Most of the offers feature commonly used household products but there are also some financial based offers like cash back for credit card applications. The cashout minimum is $20 and they will mail a cheque to your home.
Accounts are limited to one per person, and two per household. Offers that advertise no weekly limits actually do have a limit of 50 per customer as stated in the terms and conditions of the app. Some offers have limits of one item per receipt with no weekly limit, but if you purchased 50 of that same item in separate transactions you will be approved for them all.
Zweet features offers for both common and ethnic products, with varying customer limits. Zweet offers tend to have lower rebate amounts, but there are more featured products than some of the other apps. There is a $20 minimum for cashout, and the check is mailed to your home.
Accounts are limited to one per person, and two accounts per mobile device. Members must be at least 16 years old. They also have a rewards program called zweet points. These points can be earned by redeeming offers, updating your profile, and by performing other in-app activities. These points will be redeemable for rewards in the upcoming Zweet rewards store.
Cartsmart is still new in the world of coupon apps. They generally feature fewer offers with varying limits. They have the added benefit of being able to cashout to PayPal with only a $5 balance, or request a mailed check with a minimum $20 balance.
Accounts are limited to one per person, and two per household. Cartsmart also features occasional hidden offers, unlocked with IQ codes that are entered from the main menu for occasional bonus offers. Two IQ codes that are available right now are BETTERCART and HERSHEY.
This app is the newest and has fewer offers along with a standing limit of one redemption per offer per customer. This app deals exclusively with PayPal, so any amount accumulated in your account can be transferred to there. You are eligible to cash out to your Paypal account when you have accumulated at least $5.
Accounts are limited to one per member and two per household or device. Save.ca will frequently feature offers for certain types of products that are not specific on the brand name. Examples of ones I have received lately are, “any size or brand of popsicle,” or “any dairy milk of 1 liter or more,” which makes qualifying for the cash rebates much easier.
How These Cash Back Apps Work
The five apps listed above, are all available now for either Android and iOS. Each app offers a list of products and rebate amounts, and product specifics like volume or weight and customer limits, if any.
When an offer is redeemed, the amount of the offer is deposited into the member’s account. Upon cashout, the money is either transferred into your personal PayPal account or a physical check is mailed to you. There are other points and savings apps in Canada, but in my opinion, these are the five best and most popular.
You can obtain membership by first going to either Google Play or iTunes, depending upon the device, and downloading any or all of the apps. You must then register with a valid email address and some basic personal information, and confirm membership usually through clicking on a confirmation link in an email sent to you by the company. After that, you are on your way to receiving and redeeming some great offers.
Stacking Different Offers Together To Increase Savings
Shoppers are unable to stack two different paper or printable coupons on the same item in Canada, but you can stack app cash back with existing paper coupons and there are other ways to stack like using rewards programs and credit cards. Using a virtual coupon binder, like I will describe in an upcoming post, can help you stack offers efficiently.
Some of the offers on these apps will specifically state that they are not to be combined with any other offer, promotion or coupon. It helps to have a glance at the fine print for each offer to determine this before you go shopping.
On the other hand, the receipts from most retailers do not use any definition in the wording for the manufacturer coupon used. Where a coupon has been redeemed, they state only ”Manufacturer's Coupon” and the amount redeemed. Because of this, there is nothing to tie a certain coupon to a certain product on your receipt.
You can be honest and not stack offers where it is not technically allowed, or you can use a coupon on the item and still submit the receipt. The only way for the receipt to be rejected is if you have only purchased one item in the transaction and used the coupon.
In this case, there is no other product on the receipt that the coupon could have been used for, so your receipt may be rejected. In the case where two apps will have an offer on the same product, there is really no way for them to tell that you have redeemed two different app offers on the same product, as there is no change made to the receipt to indicate this. In these cases, you can really choose to either listen to the little angel or the devil that is your conscience, and make your own decision on it.
Is the Money Taxable?
I have checked around, and concluded that this money is not taxable as income under Canadian tax laws. It is a post purchase price reduction. By all means, when your cheques come in the mail, save the cheque attachment for your records to prove the money’s origin. But it is not classed as income and should be void from any income tax clawback.
Do You Use Them?
Do any other people take advantage of these great money saving apps? I would love to hear any positive or negative feedback on your experience with them!