Do supermarket cashback apps really save you money?

Should you bother with cashback apps such as CheckoutSmart, ClickSnap, Shopmium, Green Jinn and Topcashback to bring down the cost of your supermarket shop? I’ve reviewed and rated each one.

I’m not a huge fan of couponing for groceries – they’re rarely for things I want, and I just don’t have the time to hunt around to see what’s on offer.

In theory, apps which give you cashback on your supermarket shop make it easier – for a start you don’t need to search through newspapers and online for the discounts. But they’re not always as simple as they suggest. I’ve taken a look at how they work, what to watch for, and how to get the best out of them.

Plus there’s a code to get a free treat with Shopmium!

Watch my video looking at the apps or keep reading.

How supermarket cashback apps work

Unlike when you use cashback sites to shop by clicking through, here the cashback is earned after you’ve bought the goods.

So you look at the apps before you head to the supermarket – or even when you’re walking the aisles – to see the different promotions, shop as normal and claim when you get home.

Each app works slightly differently, but they all require you to select the offer you are claiming and upload a photo of your receipt. With some you also need to scan the product barcode.

If that’s all done correctly you’ll start to build up a little bit of extra money which you then transfer to your Paypal or bank account.

Most of the time it’s a proportion of the item cost you’ll get back, but you can sometimes get all your money back – making the items free.

Supermarket cashback apps compared

There are currently four different apps, though two are powered by the same company and usually have the same offers which can only be redeemed once.

Shopitize, one of the original apps of this type, shut down in 2017 leaving some people unable to withdraw their earned cashback – so don’t leave any money in your accounts for too long.

Shopmium

Main supermarkets on the appTesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Morrisons and Ocado
Other retailers (depending on products)Occasional offers at shops such as Co-op, Boots, McColls, M&S and others.
Minimum payout level£0.01
Offers visible on desktop?Yes
Good forQuality products, referral credit and free joining gift
Welcome offerFree tube of pringles with code z8pe2

Probably the app I use the most, Shopmium has fewer offers, but often they’re for products you don’t see on the other apps. I’ve picked up a discounted loo roll, cheap beer and tasty Choco Leibniz biscuits.

You can also get a free gift when you sign up, generally worth around £2. Bonus! Usually it’s a pack of Pringles but can change – so check what comes up when you enter the promo code (z8pe2) when you sign up.

Payout is pretty fast, and usually appears in my PayPayl account within a couple of days.

You can also earn £3 credit when you refer friends with your own code. You can then use this to get even more money back on your purchases.

Say there’s £1 off a  £5 product. If you’ve got £3 credit, you’ll also get that £3 back, meaning it’ll only cost you £1. And the more people you refer, the more credit you’ll have.

CheckoutSmart

Main supermarkets on the appTesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and Ocado
Other retailers (depending on products)I’ve seen offers for smaller stores such as OneStop, Budgens, Iceland, Netto, and others (though promotions are limited at these).
Minimum payout level£20 (no fee), £19.99 or under have a 5% fee
Offers visible on desktop?Yes
Good forClear offers, the number of products, online grocery shops and the inclusion of smaller retailers.
Welcome offerNone

Available on both your phone and your desktop, CheckoutSmart tends to be the best for freebies. It also has a far wider list of supermarkets, including online. Though watch out as some cashback promotions are limited in stock and could have expired before your delivery comes.

In terms of ease of use you can see what the discount is at a glance, helping you see whether it’s worth your time. You can also click to see a map of whether your local supermarket stocks the product.

It has a very high £20 payout level, though freebies can help you reach that amount if you use the app frequently

GreenJinn

Main supermarkets on the appTesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose
Other retailers (depending on products)Asda, , Morrisons and Ocado, plus occasional offers at shops such as WH Smiths, Bargain Booze, Whole Foods and Holland & Barrett
Minimum payout level£1.50
Offers visible on desktop?No
Good forBuying everyday items
Welcome offerNone

This app has improved a lot since launch and now works with more retailers., there are some different products to what you’ll normally see as it claims to only offer good quality or healthy food and drink.

I like that it has everyday items like fruit and fruit rather than just new products brands are pushing.

ClickSnap

Main supermarkets on the appTesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and Ocado
Other retailers (depending on products)I’ve seen offers for smaller stores such as OneStop, Budgens, Iceland, Netto, and others (though promotions are limited at these).
Minimum payout level£0.01
Offers visible on desktop?Yes
Good forClear offers, the number of products, online grocery shops and the inclusion of smaller retailers.
Welcome offer£17 Quidco bonus if you’re a new customer (can only be used on main Quidco site)

This app from Quidco runs pretty much the same offers as CheckoutSmart, but it won’t have all of them. It’s also only for the major supermarkets, and not for online shopping.

So why bother? The big problem with CheckoutSmart is the £20 payout total. With Clicksnap you will be given the money in your Quidco account. Plus you can often boost the value by swapping for vouchers at places like Amazon or Marks & Spencer.

TopCashback Snap and Save

The Topcashback app has paused Snap and Save – and there’s no guarantee it’ll come back.

When it was running it worked in much the same way as the others, but there weren’t as many offers there and they weren’t usually for much money.

But, there tended to be some great freebies a few times a year. I’ve picked up free Easter Eggs, pumpkins and chocolate advent calendars most years.

You also get the cashback paid into your TopCashback account, so it’s easy to withdraw with no minimum. If you don’t have TopCashback or Quidco, you can get an extra new member bonus worth up to £10 here.

The downsides

There are a few things worth knowing.

Cashing out your cashback

When Shopitize suddenly closed a few years ago, many customers lost money that they hadn’t withdrawn from the app. So it’s vital that you don’t let money build up with those apps that don’t automatically pay you.

Payout limits are something to watch out for. It can sometimes take a while to build up enough cashback in your account to let you cash out – a particular issue with CheckoutSmart.

Spending money to save money

Just as important is to not let the discount convince you to buy something you don’t want – just because you’re saving 50p, it doesn’t mean you should buy it.

It could be cheaper to get a different brand on offer in the supermarket. Or it might be better to just go without if it’s not something you really need – even if it does only cost 20p after cashback.

Be careful of the extreme side of this too. I’ve heard of someone who bought some (admittedly free) dog food, even though they don’t even have a dog! Though of course you can always donate this to a foodbank.

Not your regular items

Most of the time, the products listed on these apps are new. That’s because brands want you to try something different, hoping you’ll keep on buying it.

It’s rare to have everyday items you’d normally buy on there – though it can happen.

Uploading errors

Frustratingly, receipts will sometimes be rejected for quality purposes. You then need to retake the photos and upload them until they are accepted. This takes time which for me can outweigh the benefits of saving 30p; I’ve often better things to be getting on with.

And obviously you need to still have the receipt too. But this happens far less to me now than it did a few years ago.

Buying the wrong products

Not all offers are valid at all supermarkets, and products can be very specific in terms of size and flavour. This means there’s a risk that you accidentally pick up the wrong product or buy it at the wrong supermarket.

I’ve certainly missed out by accidentally picking up raspberry rather than strawberry jam, or bought in Tesco to find the offer was only valid for Sainsbury’s.

You might also find that one flavour is on offer from one shop, and a different flavour from another, so read the full offer details to check.

While you’re at it double-check the terms of the deal too. Rather than a simple money-back promo, or it could be along the lines of buy one get one free.

Finding the items in-store

And I wouldn’t go out of your way to visit a supermarket for ones of these offers. I’ve often been frustrated to find my local branch didn’t stock the item.

It’s best to treat it as something to check when you get to the supermarket, rather than plan your shopping around it.

Summary: Are supermarket cashback apps worth it?

Andy’s Analysis

Can these apps save you money? Well, yes I think they will, though we’re only talking a few pounds and pence per item. And technically it’s making money – you have to buy the items full price before getting the cashback.

So there’s little harm giving them a go.

Since uploading a receipt and scanning the barcodes doesn’t take that long (maybe two minutes max) I’d say it’s worth the time taken, despite the small returns.

Six ways to make supermarket cashback apps work for you

It’s well worth adding these apps to your phone. I generally only check them when I get to the supermarket, but if you’ve got a little more time it could help you choose where to shop.

Still it’s worth following these principles to ensure you’re putting in the minimum effort for the maximum reward:

  • Only buy products you want or were planning to buy
  • Look for double discounts where items are also on special offer in the supermarket
  • Make sure you buy the right product
  • And make sure you buy at a participating supermarket chain
  • Don’t go out of your way to track down one of the items – if they don’t have stock (which often happens to me) it’s a wasted journey
  • Offers can change regularly, so don’t forget to snap your receipt as soon as you get home

10 thoughts on “Do supermarket cashback apps really save you money?

  1. One thing I haven’t worked out with the Clicksnap and Checkout smart apps is if you can use the same receipt on both apps, claiming double cashback on a single item.

    Also I will purchase all free items on the apps when I’m instore whether I want them or not. this allows me to collect maximum loyalty points through the store scheme and through Amex. Anything we wont use goes straight to the food bank.

    If you have trouble keeping tabs on your receipts then scan them into the Shoppix app when you are claiming your cashback as this stores them for you and generates you some extra cashback too.

  2. Is there a cut and paste error in this article? CheckoutSmart appears twice as a headline and some same commentary. Should the second one be Quidco / Clicksnap?

  3. Hi – quick question – I rarely go to the supermarket, 90% of my shopping is online (I presume majority order at least part of their monthly shopping online these days). So does email receipt do the job or are these apps only for when you have physical receipts to upload ?

  4. I have recently started using these apps . My favourite so far is green jinn , although it offers less products they are always in stock and I’m curious to try plus always 100% cash back so try for free. Shopium I like but it’s a treasure hunt in my store to find the items listed unfortunately many times the product is there but not the exact size/flavour on offer or just not available at my local store so not having much luck there.

  5. Hi. How would I claim cashback on a desktop pc or laptop, if I had no camera to take a picture and upload a copy of the receipt? This is for checkoutsmart.

    1. Well…. You would not be able to claim then. It is a requirement that you upload receipts before they will pay you.

  6. I used to love these apps, but I’ve fallen out of love these days. It’s surprisingly time-consuming, and it’s all too easy to pick up the wrong product or lose a receipt, etc.

    One particularly frustrating incident is where the receipt machine was printing completely illegibly, and even after asking for the receipt to be reprinted a few times, I just had to cut my losses and admit that I wasn’t going to be getting the cashback that time.

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