The 8 Best Mobile Shopping Apps

Coupons, price comparison apps, deal alerts, and other shopping apps

If you're a shopper of any kind, consider using one of these mobile shopping apps. All these apps are 100% free and work in various ways to save you money while you shop or even after you're done shopping.

Some of these apps are useful for displaying coupons as you're checking out or giving you online discount codes. Others can load discounts directly onto your loyalty card to be applied when you make the purchase, and some have you take a picture of your receipt to get money back later.

A few of these apps are even useful if you're not ready to buy anything and just want to be notified when something is on sale, or if you need to see what stores offer the cheapest place to buy an item.

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Three iOS screens from the Flipp app
What We Like
  • Digital coupons.

  • Convenient access to store flyers.

  • Easy to match items to sales.

What We Don't Like
  • Search locations by ZIP code only.

  • Some major retailers aren’t listed.

Flipp is a mobile shopping suite with multiple features. You can browse shopping ads, load coupons directly onto your loyalty card, upload receipts to earn rebate money, and even build a shopping list.

Flipp makes it super easy to browse for deals by store or category. For example, you can quickly scroll through the list of categories to find deals in groceries and other items like household, baby, and health products. Or, you can pick a store to see all the deals in that store only.

Use the Load to Card section to find deals that you can import directly into your loyalty card so that you can have them apply in stores when you use that specific card information during a purchase.

If you've chosen rebates, use the Redeem Rebates button to scan the receipt and verify with Flipp that you did make those purchases. You can redeem rebate earnings through PayPal after you've made any amount.

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Three iOS screens from the ibotta app
What We Like
  • Good deals make trying new items appealing.

  • Excellent selection of stores.

What We Don't Like
  • Camera may not focus well or capture light text.

  • Photograph receipts for stores without a loyalty card.

Ibotta has you scan your receipts to get money back on your purchases. There aren't always money-back offers for everything you buy, but it's a great app to look at before you commit to anything so that you can find the best deals.

Open the app and search for a store - maybe it's one you just shopped at or will visit soon, or maybe you're just scoping out prices. Find the deals that the store is offering and then add them to My Offers.

After you get the receipt back, scan it with the Redeem button to have Ibotta verify that you bought whatever it is that you say you bought.

Ibotta also works with some online stores. Just choose the website you're going to shop at and then open the website through Ibotta. Ibotta will monitor what you buy and then reward you for using their app to make the purchase.

You can cash out through PayPal, Venmo, or a gift card. Most of them require that you have at least $20 in your account before you can get paid.

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Three iOS screens from Slick Deals app
What We Like
  • RSS feeds for front-page, popular, and trending deals.

  • Automatic alerts for items.

  • Deal discussion forums.

What We Don't Like
  • Includes deals placed by advertisers.

  • Requires an account.

Slickdeals is one of the best shopping alert apps. What this means is that you can set up alerts with Slickdeals to notify you when certain types of deals are active, and then you can quickly open the app for more details and to take advantage of them to save money.

For example, if you want to get notified when there's an Apple iPad for sale, you can add the word ipad to a new deal alert. For a more specific alert, you can also add other criteria like to make sure the deal has a rating above 3 and that it's on the Black Friday Deals list (vs another like Cyber Monday or Hot Deals).

You can also browse through deals on Slickdeals. There's a Featured, Frontpage, and Popular section on the app's home screen, but also a number of specific categories you can find deals in, such as Autos, Children, Books & Magazines, Computers, Flowers & Gifts, and others.

In addition to all of this, Slickdeals also offers coupons to a number of stores as well as several discussion forums where users can talk about new and exciting deals that they've found (you can even set up deal alerts for those forums).

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Rakuten (Formerly eBates)

Rakuten website
What We Like
  • Link credit cards to earn cash automatically when you shop.

  • Earn rebates on items you’d buy anyway.

What We Don't Like
  • Must shop through app to earn rebates.

  • Use card as credit (not debit) to earn rebates.

Every three months, Rakuten (formerly eBates) pays you real cash on purchases that you made through its app. You're paid (if you made over $5) just by stopping in on the Rakuten app before you buy the things that you were already going to buy.

Just sign up for an account, choose which store you are buying from, and then complete the purchase like normal from the retailer. All the cashback details happen in the background, and then you're notified when you earned money for shopping.

Rakuten is also a good choice if you're shopping for deals without a destination store in mind. The only hassle (if you can even call it that) on your part is opening the Ebates app before you land on the website.

For example, if you find that you can book a hotel through Rakuten and get 10% back, but booking without Rakuten at a different (or even the same) hotel offers no deals, then you can utilize the Rakuten app to get cashback.

Rakuten also offers in-store cashback that works by adding your payment card information to the Rakuten app and then shopping at discounted stores to automatically get money back after you pay.

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Three iOS screens from Amazon app
What We Like
  • Reviews from verified buyers.

  • Easy comparison shopping.

What We Don't Like
  • Package tracking is sometimes delayed.

Amazon is an online retailer known for offering a huge range of products, usually for a cheaper price than other places. The mobile app doesn't just let you buy things from Amazon but also scan physical items to see if you can get them cheaper through Amazon.

Built-in to the app is a product search tool that can scan a physical object and search Amazon for it, as well as a barcode scanner that does the same but by scanning the barcode. Use these tools to see if an item is cheaper on Amazon versus in other stores.

Once you're viewing a product, Amazon offers related items as well as items that other Amazon users have purchased with that one.

Because Amazon has a huge number of users, the app is also helpful for checking user reviews for a product before you buy it, even if you're making the purchase in stores. Just search for the item and then see what other people are saying about it.

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Three iOS screens from RetailMeNot app
What We Like
  • Keep coupon codes handy for in-store shopping.

  • Cash-back offers.

What We Don't Like
  • Retailers may not accept a code.

  • Problems with gift card purchases.

If you're looking for an app that can give you coupons and deals wherever you are, check out RetailMeNot. It works both online and inside stores (including restaurants), by showing you a digital coupon that you can scan in the store or a coupon code that you can use online.

For example, say you're shopping for a phone charger at a Best Buy store. You open RetailMeNot, search for deals at Best Buy, and find that there's a 20% off discount that you can use in the store for mobile charging devices. Just tap the button to get a code that the cashier can scan to redeem the discount.

If you're shopping in a mall, use RetailMeNot to see a bird's eye view of the mall's stores plus all of the discounts you can take advantage of while you're there.

RetailMeNot also has cashback offers that you can take advantage of, which will earn you money as you shop by sending cash over PayPal after you've made the purchase. This works by opening the deal through RetailMeNot and then finishing the purchase on the retailer's website.

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Three iOS screens from DOSH app
What We Like
  • Transfers to your Venmo account take one day.

  • Earn money on purchases regardless of sales or discounts.

What We Don't Like
  • Cash isn't available until you earn a specified amount.

  • Low payouts.

"Link your card, live your life, get cash" is how Dosh is advertised, and that's exactly how it works: you get cash back automatically by just using your debit/credit card in stores like you normally do.

However, you also get cash back online when you use the Dosh app to access websites with cash-back offers. Use the Online section of the app to find websites that Dosh will give you money to use, and then just buy things normally through the retailer's site to get some free money.

Dosh also has a handy feature that lets you find hotels that are offering the biggest cash payouts. Just choose a location to see what hotels cost in that area, as well as how much cash you'll get for each booking.

You can withdraw your Dosh cash through your bank or PayPal account once you've collected $15.

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Three iOS screens from ShopSavvy app

Use ShopSavvy to compare prices across a number of online and local stores. You can search for products manually or even scan a barcode before you make a purchase in a store. Comparing prices like this is the easiest way to spend less when you shop.

Here's how it works: open the app and either search for the product or use the scanner to scan the barcode. Immediately, you'll see the cheapest price both online and in-stores, and then you can select either to see specific retailers that are offering that item for a cheaper price.

Select an online store, and you'll immediately be taken to the product page where you can buy it; there's an option to see just new products or both new and used items. If you choose a local store, you can start navigating there or open the store's website.

If you sign up with ShopSavvy, you can even get cash back on some purchases made through certain retailers. 

You can also save items in ShopSavvy so that you can get price alerts when the price changes. There's also a list of related products that shows up below the one you're looking at. 

The home page of this app features the best new deals for your favorite brands, which is yet another way to find deals through ShopSavvy.

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