Checkout 51 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Using your iPhone, iPad or Android Smart Phone for Cash Rebates
Buy a product. Take picture of receipt. Get money back. That’s Checkout 51 in a nutshell, and it’s taking the Canadian Coupon community by storm!
Checkout 51 is a FREE app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store (NEW! Checkout 51 is now available for Android as of April 18, 2013!) which is incredibly simple to use. I hadn’t used my new iPad very much since learning I’m NOT Cut Out for Black Friday and was a bit intimidated to give this app a try. I don’t know why I waited so long … it’s so quick and easy!
Once you’ve downloaded the FREE app onto your iPhone, iPod (with camera) or iPad, or smartphone with an Android operating system, the Checkout 51 website has an extensive FAQ section if this step-by-step guide doesn’t answer all of your questions. The French version is still under construction and as such, the entire province of Quebec is excluded from the offers due to language laws – we’ll keep y’all updated when it’s released. We also suspect that Blackberry might be in the works but haven’t seen anything official yet. It only took a few months for the Android version to get up and running … here’s hoping!Setting up your account requires just a name and e-mail address. You don’t have to provide your mailing information until it comes time to request your first cheque (available for issue once you’ve reached $20). It took me less than 2 minutes to get my account set-up and start browsing through the offers of the week.
The offers at the time of this post ranged in value from $.50 back for a can of tuna to $5 back for a Glade Sense & Spray (which, evidently was on sale for $4.94 at Giant Tiger. Many Canadian Coupons community members got their Glade product for FREE using one of the $5 OFF coupons from WebSaver or Save.ca and then earned another $5 from this Checkout51 rebate. This system ROCKS!). There are typically 10-20 offers per week.
Each offer can be claimed just once per member although you can have multiple accounts in the same household – 1 per smartphone. Be sure to take note of the specific size and variety of the product to ensure that you qualify for the rebate. Keep your receipt in good condition until you’re able to snap the pictures that you need: steam and extreme heat will blacken the paper and cover the print. And try not to fold your receipts, or, if you must, keep the crease away from the relevant information including: store name, address, date, name & price of the products you’re submitting for rebates, and proof of payment. With time, the ink on the new shiny receipts will wear off in the creases.
I think the step that I was most nervous about was the photo part. I’m not savvy with my iPad yet and was worried about resolution, making file folders, finding the folders again, and attaching files to e-mails. I was SO wrong! Taking a picture of your receipt is incredibly easy with the app – I dare say it’s fool proof! Start at the top edge and snap as many pictures as you need to to ensure that the entire receipt, right down to the bottom edge has been captured. The app shows where the side edges need to align, so there’s no question at all about how big to make the picture. We recommend having 1 line overlap when you’re taking multiple snapshots so that there will be no question for the processing team that the entire receipt has been captured. And once you’ve submitted the receipt, there’s no storing, attaching, etc. So simple!
Let’s walk through an example together: 50% back on Tostitos!
Checkout 51 offered $1.50 cash back on Tostitos last week. The offer was still available on Wednesday morning (the Glade one wasn’t, not surprisingly, since people were actually making money on that deal!). Offers are updated on Wednesday nights at midnight (going into Thursday morning) so if there are any items on your hit list, it’s best to do your shopping as early in the new cycle as possible.
I double checked the size and variety of Tostitos that were included in the offer and headed off to the store. No need to bring your mobile device with you, unless you want to process the receipt from the store or parking lot (recommended for those high value ones that might end up going quickly).
I purchased a bag at Walmart regular price (gasp, I know!*) for $3.17. When I got home, I simply opened the app (and the bag of Tostitos, for that matter!) and snapped 2 photos of the receipt: even a short one like this didn’t fit both top & bottom edges in the receipt as required. I suppose this is to prove that the transaction was indeed completed. The app shows you where to line up the side edges so there’s no question on your end about how far away to hold your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
Checkout 51 gives lots of encouragement that we’re doing it right! After hitting Submit with my iPad, I got the Way to Save! screen, and the My Account screen showed that I had one receipt pending approval.
Just a few minutes later, a confirmation e-mail arrived to tell me that my receipt was being processed and that it could take up to 48 hours to learn whether or not I successfully completed my rebate application. Add Checkout 51 to your address book so that your notifications do not end up in your spam/junk folder.
It only took a couple of hours for the final confirmation to come through, and I was credited with $1.50. The Checkout 51 team have tweeted that the cheques are mailed out of Toronto within 7 business days (regular post): I’ll keep y’all that process once I get to the $20 mark and can request my first cheque! I questionned whether or not this particular receipt would be accepted since it said “reprint” on the top. Go figure – the cashier tore the receipt in half when taking it off the register. Any other day, I wouldn’t have cared! The receipt went through just fine: good to know.
And that’s that! I am udderly flabbergasted with how simple this is! Here are a few tips to make the most of this extra layer of savings:
- “Like” the Checkout 51 facebook page – they often give a sneak peek at the upcoming offers and you can plan ahead to see which flyer offers the best price for that item. Don’t forget that Walmart, RCSS, Giant Tiger, FreshCo. and No Frills will price match competitor’s flyers – you can do all of your shopping at once!
- Check the updated offers after midnight on Wednesday nights/Thursday mornings to see what you’ve been offered. Do click through your offers – there seem so be special higher value offers on some accounts.
- Check to see if you have any coupons to match the offers – this is a great way to add another layer of savings
- Re-check the offers when the new flyer cycle begins – matching the offers to sales (and adding coupons, of course!) is how some folks are actually making money with this system!
- Take really good care of your receipts after you’ve purchased your items
- Submit the photos of your receipt using the Checkout 51 app (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android smartphones) as quickly as possible (and by Wednesday 11:59pm ET at the very latest!)
- Check your e-mail for instructions in the event that your receipt was not approved
- Watch for the Canadian Coupons Checkout 51 Check-in post on our facebook page to join in on our group “brag” about how much we earned back that week! I’m up to $6 in just 2 weeks and am going to keep track of my earnings with hopes of earning back what I paid for my iPad since I’ve learned that I’m Not Cut out for Black Friday!
Christa Clips ~ March 26, 2013
*i did offset the horror of purchasing an item at full price with a totally FREE box of granola bars thanks to the $2 OFF coupons inside Quaker Instant Oatmeal boxes. I have to preserve a bit of savvy saving dignity, after all!