Embracing the digital world is a must for couponers. These days, couponers not only deal with traditional, paper coupons, but we’ve also learned to take advantage of electronic offers. I love cash back apps that have offers I can easily stack with sales and coupons! I recently received a $54 check from Checkout 51 and cashed in my Ibotta rewards for fabulous PayPal deposits!

Taking the time to learn how to use these apps is essential to adding additional savings to your bottom line. Since most apps require at least an image of your receipt, it’s important to know how to capture the necessary information quickly and correctly to avoid resubmissions. Here are some tips for scanning receipts—even the longer ones—successfully the first time around.

1. Avoid folding the receipt

I have a bad habit of folding receipts in my wallet as soon as I check out. When receipts are folded, it causes the paper to buckle and not lay flat. Scanning a longer receipt is much harder if the receipt is wavy! Also, scanning as soon as possible after the purchase will protect the quality of the receipt and prevent it from being lost.

2. Place the receipt on a level lower than your waist

Use a table instead of your kitchen island or bar. By doing this, you’ll be able to stand over a receipt and hold your phone comfortably, giving you a steadier hand and more room to view a longer proof of purchase.

3. Capture the required information

When you have a lengthy receipt, it’s vital that you capture the necessary information to avoid errors and annoying resubmissions. Typically, cash back apps will require these four details:
  1. Store name
  2. Transaction date
  3. Purchased item
  4. Receipt barcode
The name of the store is typically at the top of the receipt, your purchased item may be in the middle, and the date could be listed at the bottom. If this is the case, the entire receipt must be captured to get credit. The way I accomplish this is by snapping a photo of the top of the receipt while placing my finger to the left side of the bill, marking where the next scan should start. After allowing the camera to reset, I’ll start the next scan according to where my finger is located.

4. Check the print

The darker the print on the receipt, the better for scanning. If the ink is light on a receipt, it will be more difficult to scan, so attempt to get closer to the print and take pictures of smaller sections before submitting. The goal is to get a good picture. If you must, submit multiple sections—I’ve never had a problem with them being accepted. Or, make a copy of your receipt in order to darken the print.

5. View your receipt before submitting

Always double check the clarity of your receipt before submitting. If you’re scanning a long receipt with several sections, check each portion to make sure all necessary pieces of information are identifiable. Finally, remember to keep your receipt handy until you’ve received credit for your purchase.