As I was listening to some tunes via Pandora last week, an ad for Walmart's Savings Catcher came on. They advertised that you could enter your receipt into their new “Savings Catcher” app and if they find a competitor's advertised price cheaper than what you paid for it at Walmart, they'll actually refund you the difference in the form of an e-gift card.
The idea sounded interesting, so I gave it a try on a recent short shopping excursion.
More about the Savings Catcher app
My first impressions of their Savings Catcher were a bit mixed.
“So, Walmart is going to do all the price-checking on my behalf and then offer me a rebate if they find lower prices elsewhere?” I thought to myself. “Isn't this a bit like the fox guarding the henhouse?”
According to a recent report on the new initiative, the Savings Catcher is a bit of a PR move by Walmart. And, they are rolling the program out in only some markets. Where I live – Walmart has heavily invested into trying to persuade folks to ditch their regular grocer for Walmart's, for well over a year now. The Savings Catcher seems to be another effort in that campaign to say, “See, told you we're cheaper“.
You can log into the Savings Catcher website by using your existing Walmart account (if you have one – I have used them in the past for really affordable photo reprints) or by creating an account at the site. Once logged in, you'll be prompted to enter the “TC code” found at the bottom of your receipt and the purchase date. Easy breezy.
You'll then get a notification via email (and on-screen) that the whole “price-check” can take up to 72 hours. Now, this was a bit of surprise to me – but I guess if they are checking competitor's advertised prices nearby, it could take some doing. And to be fair, the app is still in Beta.
>>> Be sure to check out Charlie's review of Walmart's Family Mobile plan
Walmart does have some caveats to what they check and what they don't. Here's their statement from their FAQ page on the app:
Savings Catcher applies to many items sold at Walmart stores. This includes:
- Most groceries such as cereal, rice and cookies. Excluding: store brand items, deli, bakery and weighed items like produce and meat;
- Consumable Items such as paper towels, bleach and trash bags;
- Health and beauty items such as shampoo and makeup.
Savings Catcher does not currently compare:
- General merchandise items, (including, but not limited to, electronics, media and gaming, toys, sporting goods, housewares, small appliances, home décor, bedding, books and magazines, apparel and shoes, jewelry, furniture, office supplies and seasonal products);
- Non-branded items;
- Tobacco, firearms, gasoline, tires, prescription drugs, optical and photo products and services, or products that require a service agreement such as wireless, automotive or financial products.
Also, below are the markets they are currently operating in and the competitor's prices they are checking:
- Atlanta, GA– Aldi, Food Depot, CVS, Food Lion, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Ingles, Kroger, Publix, Rite-Aid, Kmart, Target, Walgreens, IGA, Wayfield Foods and Piggly Wiggly.
- Charlotte, NC– Aldi, Bi-Lo, CVS, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Ingles, Kmart, Lowes (Food), Target, Rite-Aid, Publix and Walgreens.
- Dallas, TX– Albertsons, Aldi, Brookshires, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, HEB, Kroger, Target and Tom Thumb.
- Huntsville, AL Market– Aldi, CVS, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Save-A-Lot, Foodland, Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens.
- Lexington, KY– Aldi, CVS, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Save-A-Lot, Kroger, Meijer, Rite Aid, Target and Walgreens.
- Minneapolis, MN– Aldi, Cub Foods, CVS, Family Dollar, Hy Vee, IGA, Rainbow Foods, Shopko, Target and Walgreens.
- San Diego– Albertsons, CVS, Dollar Tree, Ralph’s, Rite Aid, Vons, Smart & Final, Target, Fresh & Easy, Walgreens, Stater Bros and Save-A-Lot.
Did it work?
To review the app, I decided to pick-up 9 random items we routinely purchase, from toilet paper to bulbs. And, I wanted to do my own “price-check” at a nearby Target store.
Walmart regularly seems to price their items at – say – $2.97, instead of $2.99, so I thought they would always beat the competitor. And after I double-checked my items at Target, I did find that Walmart was – on the whole – cheaper. Though, there was one item in particular which was cheaper at Target and I was intrigued to find out if the Savings Catcher would catch it.
I entered my receipt at the Savings Catcher app online and then waited 3 days. I never did get an email notifying me the “price-check” was done. But, once logged in, I noticed it had been completed.
It told me that it did not find any items cheaper elsewhere and even missed the deodorant, pricing it at Target for $3.49 (instead of the $2.24 sale price). In reality it only was able to check 2 items, as the other 7 weren't advertised.
So, on the whole, I would say the Savings Catcher has a little bit of work left and seems to be more of a “gimmick” than something that is here to stay.
But, who knows, maybe if I were to check more items, I'd get a different result.
I'd love to know what's been your experience with the app and if it found savings for you elsewhere?
UPDATE 4/17/14: Since we published the post, a representative from Walmart has contacted us and indicated their team is continuing to develop and improve the Savings Catcher app. And that – at this time – the app only checks competitor's advertised prices. The price of the deodorant I mentioned in this post was an “in-store” promotion only (and therefore, not an advertised item).
UPDATE 3/15/19: Savings Catcher phasing out. From Walmart: “That's why we have decided to discontinue the Savings Catcher receipt submission, effective May 14, 2019. After May 14, you will no longer be able to submit your Walmart Pay eReceipts to Savings Catcher. But don’t worry, the money you have on your Savings Catcher eGift Card will remain yours to spend until you're ready to use it.”