MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s a time honored tradition: cutting coupons out of the Sunday newspaper. But now, you can put the scissors down, because the coupon world has gone digital.
Mother of six Meghan Caron spends most Sundays clipping coupons.
“It is a massive undertaking. I really anticipate the Sunday paper coming,” said Caron. But keeping tabs on all those offers often adds up to stress and confusion.
“I have this little binder system that I use, and I try to sort or organize them by store.”
Meghan hopes to cut back on clipping by using digital coupons. They’re promotions or discounts that are automatically loaded onto your debit card, credit card, or store loyalty card. Simply use your plastic in-store or online to redeem the savings.
Janna Herron with Bankrate.com said you’re about to see a digital coupon explosion, “It is convenient. Consumers don’t have to stuff their purse or their wallet with a bunch of paper coupons, and they don’t have to worry about forgetting them, because it’s linked to their card.”
Some e-coupons can be found directly on your credit or debit card statement. Others are available through third party web sites.
“Typically, you register your debit card, credit card, or store loyalty card on either the third party web site or your bank issuer’s web site. And then, when you see a coupon that you want, you just click on it.”
Soon you’ll be able to download deals via billboards, magazines, and television, too.
“You scan a QR code, or you type in a star-star code on your mobile device, and that offer is linked right to your card.”
Tom Burgess is with Linkable Networks, a company on the forefront of this technology, “We support 99% of all credit or debit cards from around the country.”
Meghan registered on MyLinkables.com and racked up savings at a home improvement store.
“My savings there was between $5 to $10 dollars, which was very significant savings for us.”
While e-coupons can save you dollars, Herron said it’s important to know that most services monitor your purchase history, so you can receive targeted coupons. According to Bankrate, some credit card issuers are even selling that history to retailers.
Burgess said that Linkable Networks is committed to keeping your data anonymous.
“We deal with the banks directly. And the consumer’s data, all that personally identifiable information, your name, your address, and so forth, remains behind the firewall at the bank.”
Meghan said she feels safe, and the time and money it saves her is worth every penny.
“Just to even go out to eat as a family of 8 would be something that is a treat for us.”
When it comes to using debit and credit cards, there’s one drawback. you don’t save money on the spot.
Typically, the savings will be credited to your account within 30 days after the purchase, so be vigilant about checking your statement.