Receipt Apps

Last year I scanned receipts that spanned over 10 years’ time and it cost me over $100 to buy a receipt scanner. Faded receipts were troublesome so I had to manually make corrections in the software that came with the scanner and now when I want to add a new receipt I am tied to my home computer and have to plug in my scanner (which typically stays in the box).  I never thought about using an app on my phone or mobile device to scan those receipts. I can scan them immediately so I avoid faded, and potentially lost, receipts at the end of the year. After a conversation with a co-worker about scanning receipts I started looking for receipt apps and this is what I found.

Finding a receipt app where I can keep my expenses turned out to be a harder task than I originally thought. I found it difficult to review just one app. Receipt app features vary so I will list common features that will help guide you to choosing a receipt app to do what you want.

Service: Receipt apps are typically partnered with a service, meaning you have to sign up for an account. I have found several apps with free service so there’s no cost to you. You don’t typically get an immediate account of your receipt, it can take a few minutes for the service to scan your receipt and report the data back to you. Another thing to keep in mind is if there is a service involved that means that the actual scanned receipt is stored elsewhere, not really on your device.

Electronic Receipts: Receipts that come from an online order are already electronic. Some services allow you to email an electronic receipt to have it added in addition to using the device camera to scan printed receipts. OneReceipt can sync with your Google or Yahoo email so any receipts sent to those accounts will appear alongside your scanned receipts. (iOS only)

Storage: If you want to archive your receipts, or store them somewhere other than the app’s company servers then look for an app that stores the receipts on your photo roll, Drop Box or Google Drive. The storage may still be web based, but at least you won’t lose your receipts if the company folds, or starts charging for service when you don’t want to pay. Piikki allows you to archive your receipts and you can watch a video of it in use here: this app costs $3.99 and offers inapp purchases to also track mileage.

More than just receipts: If you want to also track mileage or expenses, then look for an app that includes those features as well. (like mentioned in the previous paragraph with Piikki)  If you are managing the concessions for a sport, class prom or other school organization you can keep receipts and bills in one place with an app like Receipts by Wave.

Export options: Ultimately you will want to share your receipt data with someone else. How you do that will depend on the app. If you still want to manipulate the data after exporting it find an app that exports to QuickBooks or Excel. Hello Receipts allows you to download your data in CSV format when you access your account from a computer, but only PDF download from the app. Find out more about Hello Receipts by going here: I also like the email alert I get once my receipt has been processed. This way I don’t forget about the receipts and know through my email when the receipt is ready.

Accuracy of scan: To me the most important feature is whether the app can recognize my receipt information such as business, date, amount and tax. If I have to manually enter the amounts then I can use a spreadsheet app. Avoid the app titled Mobile Receipt because you have to manually enter the data.

TIP: If you choose a receipt app that relies on a service, be sure that any personal information (name, address, credit card number) are blacked out before scanning your receipt.

Whether you are diligent with entering receipts right away or let them collect until the end of the year, know that recording receipts in an organized and timely manner can be made easier with a receipt app.

Follow App of the Week on Twitter