I’ve been using Checkout 51 for almost 4 years and it’s my favourite cash back app in Canada. It’s considered the Ibotta for Canada, pretty much. Here’s my Checkout 51 review. In this review, I’ll go over:
- What Checkout 51 is
- How Checkout 51 works
- How does Checkout 51 make money
- How you contact someone at Checkout 51
- How to stack coupons with Checkout 51
- How Checkout 51 prevents Checkout 51 cheat by using barcode offers etc.
- Checkout 51 Pros
- Checkout 51 Cons
Table of Contents
What is Checkout 51?
Checkout 51 is a money saving app and a website that is quite genius and was founded in Toronto, to be used the next time you buy groceries (or used afterward when you submit your receipt).
Checkout 51 is actually not brand spanking new and has been running since 2012. It is available in both Canada and the United States.
It was founded by three entrepreneurs (one of who is the son of The National Post) and has a team of over 60 employees running the website and Checkout 51 app.
Nowadays Checkout 51 is not based in Toronto, but is based in New York.
Updated December 2022
Is Ibotta in Canada?
Cashback apps like Ibotta are very popular in the United States, and essentially, Checkout 51 is like the Canadian version of Ibotta.
In this Checkout 51 review I will show you how Checkout 51 works, how they make money, how you can stack coupons.
The great thing about Checkout 51 is that you can still save money without always having the coupon on hand at the checkout counter or worrying about coupons expiring.
It’s very low effort for the savings that you can get. Believe me, I’m low effort because I’m a tired mom. Don’t have time or energy to clip coupons all the time, besides, I don’t get coupons in the mail much.
I’m such a big fan that I consider Checkout 51 to be one of the best Canadian personal finance apps.
How Does Checkout 51 Work?
Checkout 51 is a receipt cash back app.
Here’s what a Checkout 51 preview looks like:
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How often does the app update their list of Checkout 51 offers?
- Checkout 51 updates their Checkout 51 stores list every week.
- Every Thursday at 12:00 AM in your time zone, you get a new list of Checkout 51 deals or the week (these ar ecalled Checkout 51 Offers)
- Checkout 51 sign in is easy, and you You scroll down to see the Checkout 51 offers and you can save them for later when you do your weekly grocery shopping.
The Checkout 51 offers vary and there are plenty of offers, sometimes it’s $2.00 for Pamper’s Swaddlers (one way to get cheap diapers in Canada) or saving $0.25 on bananas or even a chance win $500 on any grocery trip over $60. You just have to upload your receipt (show the name of the grocery store and the date) and then click on the items that you purchased.
- To me, it works easiest on an app with my iPhone but you don’t an app for it and can upload the receipts using your computer webcam.
- Then after you submit your receipt via the Checkout 51 app and your camera, Checkout 51 sends you an email to let you know they are processing your receipt.
- Within 48 hours, you will know whether your receipt was approved or not. Once the receipt is approved you will get a credit to your account. Let’s say you bought bananas and was approved for $0.25.
I find that they are very quick, and usually it is approved or not within 24 hours, and not 48 hours.
The $0.25 will be in your account and once you submit enough receipts with approved offers and hit the magic $20.00 cash out number, you click “cash out” on the app.
- Then, Checkout 51 will send you a cheque in the mail for $20.00. The cheque comes very quickly, within 1-2 weeks. Just make sure you have the correct address as to where they should mail you your cheque. You can also cash out with Paypal to receive the money more instantly.
The important thing to do with the Checkout 51 app is that you must upload the receipt when the offers are live (within that Thursday to Wednesday time frame). To avoid disappointment, usually I upload the receipt (or scan it) when I get home from the grocery store and upload it that evening if there are any savings to be had.
When I first signed up for Checkout 51, it took me a few months to get the $20.00 cheque yet but since then I’ve gotten lots of $20.00 cheques and it is very easy to use.
When you see your progress e.g. $15.21 and you know you are over halfway there to your $20.00 cheque, I find that getting towards the $20 cash out threshold is exciting and strangely satisfying. It is kind of like a delayed gratification type thing, I suppose.
Why Does Checkout 51 Give You Money?
You might be wondering how Checkout 51 makes money and what’s in it for them.
Why does Checkout 51 give you money?
Well, Checkout 51 charges a fee to the brands offering the deal, and because the Checkout 51 deal is only good for a week, brands and brand marketing are able to see the consumer data much faster than a traditional coupon campaign would run.
Think about it, coupons expiry dates are like months ahead, and I would think that companies want to see their marketing promotion and data much sooner than this. This is a great incentive for companies to see whether their coupon strategy and marketing is effective.
So that is how Checkout 51 makes money.
Checkout 51 Contact
How do you contact someone from Checkout 51? Is there a real person you can talk to?
Although Checkout 51 does not have any phone support, they have a contact page and help desk with some FAQ’s with answers to them. Checkout 51 is based in Toronto.
Can You Stack Coupons with checkout 51?
One of the main reasons why I love Checkout 51 is that you can stack manufacturer coupons with it.
Manufacturer coupons are coupons that you get in the mail, or those that you can print out online, etc. On the occasion that I have the time and energy to actually print out coupons, or save coupons to use in my wallet, you can stack your coupons with the Checkout 51 app and save big.
You can bring your coupons and use them (and they will show up on your receipt as a ‘manufacturer’s coupon’), AND you can still continue to get the Checkout 51 discount/ redemptions. This is on top of the manufacturer’s coupon.
Talk about a win-win money saving situation!
With Checkout 51, you can double dip and triple dip (triple dip- if you use a credit card to get points or cash back) to save money.
Her’s an example of a stacking coupons strategy with Checkout 51.
Take for example, the Pampers Swaddlers diapers at RCSS, or the Real Canadian Superstore which can be 2 for $60, or $30.00 each for a large economy size box of diapers on sale, or normally, these boxes are $33.37 or something like that.
Related: How to Save Money on Diapers
- PC Points gives you 2000 points for Pampers Swaddlers if you load your offers and that’s equivalent to about $2.00 off when you purchase something at a Loblaw’s store
- You have a $2.00 manufacturer coupon for Pampers Swaddlers that you got from their website, Pampers.ca (you’re allowed to print some occasionally)
- Finally, you check off the $2.00 off offer through Pampers Swaddlers on the Checkout 51 app
That’s $6 in savings on diapers that you would buy anyway for $30! Mind-blowing 🙂
I know $6 doesn’t seem like very much, but it really does add up, and the $20 cash out time is much quicker than anticipated.
This is what the Checkout 51 email looks like when your receipt that you submitted through the Checkout 51 app is pending approval:
The turn-around time to get your receipt approved after you submit it, is relatively quick. I would say it is under 24 hours. You will know whether your receipt that you submitted is approved and whether you will earn cash back.
Can you Cheat with Checkout 51?
Although you might want to try to do a Checkout 51 cheat game the Checkout 51 system, they have some pretty good workarounds to prevent fraud from overzealous couponers.
Sometimes when you are submitted a receipt to Checkout 51, they don’t ask for the receipt but they instead ask for a barcode of the purchase that you made, to ensure that you are buying the correct product that is on their Checkout 51 offers list. These are called barcode offers, so be careful and make sure you buy the correct product.
The lesson I learned from this, is that I would be careful about reading the fine print on the Checkout 51 offers list, when you buy something.
One time I bought one product and it turned out I needed TWO to claim the coupon. Another time I bought some cheese thinking I had a $1 off coupon for it as a Checkout 51 offer, and it turned out that I needed to buy the LIGHT version not the regular version of the cheese.
Checkout 51 Pros
There are a number of reasons why Checkout 51, in my opinion, is the best cash back app in Canada and why I have a favourable Checkout 51 review.
- They have a Help Desk and they get back to you to approve your receipt very quickly and you can see the value in your account very quickly.
- As mentioned, using Checkout 51 is very low fuss and low effort, and you don’t have to look like an Extreme Couponer to save money on your groceries at the checkout counter
- Sometimes they offer $0.25 when you buy eggs, or bread, or bananas for example, and it’s not simply marketed/ packaged goods or brands
- You can use it at Costco, use it with Food Stamps (I guess this would be more relevant in the United States?), and even Amazon.
- Somehow it satisfies the weird goal setting part of me that wants to cash out on that $20.00 and reach that number!
I should be able to get the well earned $20.00 within a few months and I only signed up about 5 months ago. We definitely don’t buy very many packaged goods (mainly whole, real foods) and packaged supplies so this is not too bad progress in my opinion!
Update: It took me 6 months to get my first $20 cheque since downloading the Checkout 51 because we don’t buy many packaged goods. It was great to save money on Pampers Swaddlers diapers.
Checkout 51 cons
In this Checkout 51 review, there are negatives, too.
- One is that you can use Checkout 51 on the computer but you need a camper. It is better on the Checkout 51 app. This makes sense since you have to take a picture of your receipt.
- There are store specific offers, so read carefully. Some are only redeemable if you bought the product at Walmart or Amazon only offers.
- I’ve been using Checkout 51 for a few years and the offers are a lot of packaged goods that aren’t so healthy. However, I tend to buy the cleaning supplies or the diapers in Checkout 51.
- The other downside to Checkout 51 is that sometimes the conditions on certain items you buy is in fine print or you have to ‘click through’ to find out more detail about claiming your Checkout 51 coupon.
- For example, I bought some cheese and saw there was $1.00 off. When I got home to upload my receipt, I thought I could claim it but it was for the “light” version of the cheese. I guess it’s my fault anyway and I should look more carefully though and read the print before I purchase!
Because of these cons, I personally use Caddle more than Checkout 51 nowadays.
Checkout 51 Referral
Unfortunately as of July 31, 2020, the Checkout 51 Referral Program has been put on hold.
One of the best parts of Checkout 51 was the Checkout 51 referral program. Checkout 51 recently changed their referral program. Before, anyone who signed up got $5 for signing up and redeeming free offers (and when you referred to others, you got $10 too- you get your personal link once you sign up and get the app!).
I am a fan of Checkout 51, and that’s why for this Checkout 51 review, I give it a 4/5 rating. It is so easy to use and is helpful for the grocery and household budget.
Checkout 51 is absolutely free to sign up for.
Another similar website is Great Canadian Rebates, personally I think there’s more “bang for your buck” when signing up for this especially if you sign up for a credit card through the site.
Hope you found this Checkout 51 Review helpful.
Here’s a quick recap on how to use Checkout 51.
How to Use The Checkout 51 App (Review)
- Sign up for Checkout 51
- Review the offers available to you (it is refreshed every Thursday)
- Go grocery shopping and don’t forget to ask for your receipt
- Use your manufacturer (physical) coupons if you have any
Upload your receipt (get your $2 bonus) Upload 3 more receipts and get $1 each receipt for a total of $3 bonus (Don’t forget to do this within 30 days) Refer your own friends and family and get $10
Readers, have you tried the Checkout 51 app yet?
What is your Checkout 51 review?
Although Ibotta is not available in Canada, Checkout 51 is pretty close to it.
For other ways to save money and get cash back in Canada, check out some of these reviews:
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.