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Walmart says it can still prove to you that it has the lowest prices. But if you don’t have a smartphone, or want to pay with cash or check – you’ll just have to take Walmart’s word for it.

Effective October 29th, Walmart is introducing new changes to its Savings Catcher program, which automatically checks and matches competitors’ prices. “Walmart Pay will be the exclusive way to submit your receipt to Savings Catcher,” Walmart has begun informing customers. “Due to this change, the ability to scan paper receipts within the app or submit via desktop will be discontinued.”

(And in some areas, Savings Catcher itself is being discontinued.)

So the only way to participate in Savings Catcher beginning next month is to submit an e-receipt instead of a paper receipt. The only way to get an e-receipt is to use Walmart Pay. The only way to use Walmart Pay is if you have a smartphone, and pay with a credit, debit or gift card.

So if you don’t have a smartphone, or want to pay with cash or check, and still want to use Savings Catcher – you’re officially out of luck.

“Since Walmart Pay is the exclusive way to redeem Savings Catcher rewards for in-store purchases, as of October 29, we’re making Walmart Pay the exclusive way to submit purchases to Savings Catcher,” Walmart spokesperson Erin Hulliberger told Coupons in the News. “This new process will allow all Savings Catcher users to seamlessly and consistently submit and spend rewards within the same convenient Walmart Pay experience.”

Savings Catcher launched back in 2014 as a high-tech version of Walmart’s existing ad match guarantee, which allowed you to get a price adjustment right at the register if a local competitor had a lower advertised price for the same product. That program was susceptible to fraud, though, when supposed competitors’ prices couldn’t be verified, but cashiers matched them anyway. So Walmart began phasing out ad matching at the register in 2016 and pushed people to use Savings Catcher instead.

Savings Catcher automates the ad-matching process. If you enter your receipt number online or scan the receipt bar code with the Walmart app, Walmart will automatically compare the prices of every item in your transaction with competitors’ advertised prices. If it finds any lower prices, the different will be refunded to you in the form of a Walmart e-gift card.

But that process, too, is susceptible to fraud. While Walmart doesn’t allow it, many shoppers have bragged about submitting receipts from family members, friends or strangers whose receipts they found in the trash or in Walmart’s parking lot. Shoppers who call themselves “womblers” have even made a cottage industry out of collecting and submitting other peoples’ receipts for rebates over in the U.K.

And since Savings Catcher’s “e-gift cards” were stored in your Walmart.com account and had to be printed out to be used, there were numerous reports of hackers gaining access to Walmart.com accounts and stealing gift cards.

So late last year, Walmart began encouraging users to price match paperlessly by doing everything in the Walmart app. “Walmart Pay will become the preferred way to spend your Savings Catcher rewards in-store,” the retailer announced in December. Instead of printing a gift card, any cash back would now be accrued into a running balance accessible in the app. By using the app’s Walmart Pay feature, you can pay using your Savings Catcher balance, other stored gift cards, or a connected credit or debit card by scanning a QR code at checkout. Then you just tap a button in the app to submit your e-receipt to Savings Catcher to look for any more cash back.

Now, doing it this way will be the only way.

For those who still want paper receipts to submit to rebate apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51, you can print your e-receipts from the Walmart app, or ask your cashier to print you off a paper copy. But for those who prefer paying by cash or check – or who don’t have a smartphone – there will be no way to participate in Savings Catcher anymore by the end of October.

And many shoppers aren’t happy about that. “Now we’re being FORCED to use Walmart Pay if we want to use Savings Catcher???? Are you kidding me?” one shopper complained on Walmart’s Facebook page. “Those of us who don’t own a smartphone or can’t afford a smartphone can’t save money anymore at Walmart… I am a senior and not at all happy with this,” another wrote. “Walmart Pay doesn’t offer the option of using EBT as a payment method so the people who NEED the savings the most are blocked from getting it,” another shopper pointed out. “This policy change is discriminatory against the poor people who make up a good percentage of your customers.”

Despite the complaints, Hulliberger predicts that relatively few active Savings Catcher users will actually be affected by the change. “While customers without a smartphone will no longer be able to submit their receipt to Savings Catcher, the vast majority of active Savings Catcher users have previously made a transaction using Walmart Pay,” she said. “Therefore, the majority of active Savings Catcher users should be able to continue to use Savings Catcher in stores where it is offered – using the new process of submitting their purchase via Walmart Pay – should they choose.”

So compared to leafing through competitors’ circulars at the checkout, sitting at a desktop computer to type in a 20-digit code from your receipt, printing out an e-gift card and remembering to bring it to the store to use alongside whatever paper money or plastic card you plan to use to pay – the new method of simply pulling out your phone to price match and pay is certainly a whole lot simpler.

For those who prefer it the old way, there may be little you can do but chalk it up to the price of progress.

Image source: Walmart

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76 Comments

  1. Ryan Solomon says:

    Walmart is canceling smart pay!?! Its bad enough they ended price matching a couple years back, and then it went to savings cather via scanned receipts, all the sudden no more scans, must use walmary pay, and now on 05/14/2019, their just gonna stop savings catcher all together! Wow! Sam Walton would turn in his grave if he could see walmart now. How pethetic that a store that once strived to save their customers money is becoming a mediocre excuse for a decent place to shop for your goods. Sad thing is my house is right behind walmart! Now i have to burn more fossil fuels, drive miles more away to experience value in my shopping. Walmart, you’ve lost your luster, and sorry but you guys do not always have the lowest prices. Poeple don’t forget your local retailers, Walmart is killing the competition, just look at Sears and Kmart, etc. What happened to the good times!?!

  2. This sucks. It’s a pain in the butt to print receipts for other apps. And….I don’t always want to pay by credit/debit card. Plus….when I use other forms of payment, like a gift certificate, the Walmart pay doesn’t always come up to scan. Not worth the headache or time, not to mention holding up the line. Meier still allows us to scan receipts. Guess I’ll start going there.

  3. With me & my husband both on disability & just get a small check once a month our medication prescriptions getting most of it, The Walmart price saving app helped buy our groceries with price matching savings. We always pay by check, Sad to see it go.

  4. On well I would rather support my local store anyway.

  5. Rebecca Miller says:

    I am on food stamps and are used to be able to scan my receipt and I used to be able to get points saved up so I could buy something that was needed and now because they took the scanning of the receipt so way now in order to get the points saved up you have to spend money to do so how is that fair.

  6. I do not have a smart phone or cell service where I live. class action suit for discrimination.

  7. class action suit for discrimination. I do not have a smart phone or cell service where I live.

  8. I am DOUBLY (&@ OFF at Walmart! I called and spend a good 1/2 hour on the phone with their ‘customer service’ before the change and told REPEATEDLY that I would STILL BE ABLE to submit via the internet and not HAVE to have the app!! Well….guess what! They LIED! ARRG And just TRY and get them on the phone now?!? NOT Happening!! I’ve tried! It’s a CONSTANT busy signal! Guess I’m not the only VERY Upset customer!! This is discrimination as I see it!! Age and poor!! Just WRONG!! Some idiot behind a desk making and implementing changes without actually thinking it through!! Just wrong!! Guess I’ll have to stop shopping there!!

  9. Way to go walmart, I am not giving you all my personal info on your app, stop trying to make it hard to save money!

  10. yes this is total bs. I dont have a smart phone and have no plans on getting one. We dont have cell service where we live so why would I. I saw a comment about a lawsuit and I want to be included in this for sure. I enjoyed using savings catcher and getting money back but us honest people have to pay for the unhonest people and it is not fair at all. I think Walmart just screwed theirselves big time.

  11. Been using savings catcher for a while and it’s a shame there is no room for those who pay cash. Ibotta is the only alternative coupon app I know that works well with Walmart.

  12. What I don’t understand is Walmart has a spot in the app to turn paper receipts into eReceipts so I don’t understand why they won’t let people do that then submit them.

  13. Used to like it. Without me knowing it charged my charge card and took all my savings catcher. I wanted to pay with a debt card . That is BS . Nobody at the check out told me that it worked that way. Then when you try to change it and pay they tell you you can’t. I will be shopping somewhere else now. Not sure where yet. But if they can just take it from my card without me knowing. That scares me what else will they do.

    • That’s exactly what happened to me today! I usually let my Savings Catcher rebates ride until Christmas, then I use them to do my holiday shopping. Today, it took ALL of my balance to pay for my groceries, and the cashier told me that’s just how it is now. I’m done with Walmart. The only reason I shopped there was because of the Savings Catcher. Now I have no reason to shop there anymore.

      • You need to go into your Walmart app click on your account. Go to payment methods and click on Walmart pay. Then turn off the gift card. This will allow you to accumulate your money until you are ready to use it.

  14. I will not put any personal information on a smart phone, even if I had one, could use one between these mountains with no cell towers or knew how to use one. What are we suppose to do? The previous way was great for me. Change it back, please !!!

  15. Linda Costich says:

    If I could afford a smartphone, I sure as heck wouldn’t be shopping at your dirty, nasty store. I predict a lawsuit soon and they are so deserving of it. Even TOPS looks good right now!

  16. If I could afford a smartphone, I sure as heck wouldn’t be shopping at your dirty, nasty store. I predict a lawsuit soon and they are so deserving of it. Even TOPS looks good right now!

  17. I refuse to have anything to do with a smartphone. Even my wife, who does have one, is smarter than putting financial information on the silly thing. This is completely and beyond stupid – why not at least provide a “savings catcher card” so the savings go onto it at time of payment, instead of ASS-U-ME-ing “everybody” has an expensive smartphone?

  18. Betty L Clouse says:

    Yeah right fraud on it’s loyal customers just got ripped off if they had a large amount to use per savings catcher before they closed it down. I do believe they did this deliberately think about all their stuff comes from China!

  19. So disappointed in the change Walmart has made to Savings Catcher!

    I loved the combination of Walmart’s online grocery pickup & Savings Catcher – it allowed me to do all my shopping in one place, know that I was getting the best price in my area, and save time with grocery pickup… as a busy working mom this worked well for me and I was loyal. However, I feel like Walmart could care less for my business. With other area stores like Meijer’s, Jewel & Whole foods either offering online pickup and/or delivery and the ability to use money saving apps like Ibatta – there is absolutely no benefit to using Walmart anymore!

    Goodbye Walmart! Let’s see what happens when your profits start plummeting!!

    • Betty L Clouse says:

      I feel the same way when you are a senior in the 70’s it’s really important to save as much as you can. Well I guess I will be going somewhere else. It seems Walmart use to be for the all people but not no more!!

      • Betty L Clouse says:

        I feel the same way when you are a senior in the 70’s it’s really important to save as much as you can. Well I guess I will be going somewhere else. It seems Walmart use to be for the all people but not no more!! Yes I will be leaving also and I spent lots of money go all my groceries at their stores at three locations! NOT NO MORE!!

  20. So many people I know depended on this and only shopped Walmart just to get the savings catcher advantage. So now Walmart has screwed them too. I am so angry over this. Can one company out there care about their customers for a change? No one care about the working man or woman. It is all money and profit. It is disgusting. Shame on all those who don’t respect and care and think about what the customer wants and making it easier for their customers.

  21. I agree with all the above, this is a ripoff. If you don’t have a smartphone you are screwed, if you pay with cash or check you are screwed. If you have a smart phone or you pay with a debit or credit card but forget your smart phone you are screwed. It was perfect the way it was and it worked for everybody. We also will be going elsewhere. I am so sick of these big companies ripping the public off and screwing us over.

  22. No smartphone I pay cash where do I go to get my 45 dollars from the old system ?I call Walmart the necessary EVIL store . hate shopping Walmart period .I have found cheaper prices in home depot and Lowes on some items .I think I’ll just shop Costco .or dollar general .

    • Good luck getting your $45. I have just over $88 I can’t get to. This will be an huge windfall for the billionaires.

      • Betty L Clouse says:

        Yeah right fraud on it’s loyal customers just got ripped off if they had a large amount to use per savings catcher before they closed it down. I do believe they did this deliberately think about all their stuff comes from China!

    • Betty L Clouse says:

      Great idea let’s all leave hope they go bankrupt they deserve it!!

  23. Reba Gilbretch says:

    I think they are trying to eliminate fraud. But it wasnt very well and thoroughly thought out

  24. This is the most ridiculous thing Walmart has done….well, next to cutting out price matching!!! Guess I’ll go back to spending my money somewhere else.#boycotting walmart…

  25. This is absolute garbage. I knew about the Oct 29 change, but I assume it was referring to having to launch the walmart pay section of the app to scan the receipt. NO! Completely wrong! You have to actually use your phone at check out and use walmart pay to pay for your items right then and there. I just spent a little over $100 in groceries and other stuff and now I find out that I may not have any savings at all? Screw walmart and savings catcher. I might as well go back to looking for my own savings at other stores.

  26. Dorothy Dtlriscoll says:

    I’ll be shopping at Amazon for some bulk food items and Target for my weekly food. It’s getting too difficult to abide by all the changes and not every person has a Smartphone! Very disappointing!

  27. I use cash to pay for 90% of my purchases and absolutely refuse to provide my debit card info in order to use Savings Catcher. Typical Walmart screwing the customers. Already do the majority of my grocery shopping at Kroger (which is usually cheaper) but unfortunately will still have to shop at Walmart for some items since there’s no other retailer within 50 miles.

    • Using Walmart Pay doesn’t mean you can’t pay as cash at checkout. At the time of checkout you can choose pair without credit / debit and gift card. Once paired pay cash at register. Receive ereceipt and submit to savings catcher.

      • That is not true. You must have it linked to credit card,no option to not use your gift card followed by credit card. Also even if you get an ereceipt there is no longer an option to submit to savings catcher. It must be submitted when you pay with scanning only.

  28. This is just another money hungry big corporation screwing customers who need the most help. Target is more competitive lately. Besides, I get a better and enjoyable shopping experience at Target anyway… Shame on you Walmart!!!

  29. I also use my savings catcher rewards for Christmas and birthday gifts. I also buy groceries for a large farm and their farm hands. I do not want to use a smart phone or want to purchase one! I guess Walmart doesn’t value their customers unless you are fairly rich and now Meijers will have a chance to get bigger than Wal-Mart! It doesn’t really surprise me though, look how you have treated your employees in the past. You need to reconsider this!

  30. I use cash for all of my purchases, I will be unable to participate in the savings program. I counted on that money for Christmas gifts, I am very disappointed that those of us that use cash are being punished. I though Walmart would be able to find a way to include all their customers in their rewards programs.

  31. I think this is ridiculous! I spend at least $100 every time I go to WalMart but will take my business elsewhere. I will not be FORCED to buy a smart phone!

    • I totally agree and will not be spending my average $125 a week with them anymore. Publix is almost next door. I will not be forced to buy a smart phone either, and the day I pay for anything with a telephone will be the day my house flies.

  32. Jackie Trouard says:

    Goodbye Walmart Savings Catcher….I WILL NOT BE SHOPPING AT YOUR STORE UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! I WILL NOT PUT MY INCOME/DEBIT/CREDIT CARD info on my phone for anyone!
    YOU ARE TRYING TO FORCE CONSUMERS TO CONVERT FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE AND WHIM …..BAD MOVE!

  33. Have been using savings catcher for over a year and now I cannot key in my latest receipt. I have accumulated dollars and don’t want to lose my money. I need help, do not have a smart phone

    • I’m DONE! Savings catcher had kept me going to Walmart for 3 years. Not now. Just needed a reason. My husband is NO WAY found to use an app at checkout. And he does most of the shopping. Goodbye Walmart

      • I have over $88 in my account and can’t use it now. I will soon get a Walmart turkey card from my company which I will use there, but will go elsewhere to buy the rest of the Thanksgiving meal. Goodbye Walmart II

        • You can still use it online. You need to log in into Walmart’s site on computer; order from online and when paying click pay with gift card. It will apply savings catcher money. If it’s still short of payment, then it will ask with which other credit card you want to pay remaining balance. It needs to be credit card. It will not work on PayPal. If the items cost less than your Savings Catcher balance you will be free of charge and remaining balance saved till next purchase. I also don’t own smartphone and don’t plan to waste money on it. So no more Savings Catcher for me to. I also think it’s not wise to store or retrieve any card/banking information on cellphones. They are not very safe. Meijer has better selection of produce then Walmart. I suppose Walmart will become next Kmart over period of time, or maybe not. It’s their way to shed most of the Savings Catcher users while still being able to brag that they offer it.

          • That worked until Oct. 29th. Now it does not give me the option to used my gift cards. I have $48 in there that is going to waste.

        • I went to Customer Service Desk at my Walmart and they tried everything to get my money out and finally ended up telling me to go get some groceries and they would pay it with a gift card for the amount I had in my Savings Account. I’m not fond of Walmart and I will not get a Smart Phone, but I have to say that three employee’s at the Service Desk sure worked hard trying to figure things out and at least I got to spend my Savings Catcher…. not sure if all employee’s would do that, but the Manager at our Walmart OK’d giving me a gift card. Then they deleted my Savings Catcher account. I loved the Savings Catcher and used it to buy Christmas gifts. I will miss it for sure.

  34. This is just another big company trying to collect as much information from it’s shoppers as possible. I rarely shop there, but have a smartphone, but wouldn’t put my pay info on my phone. I never give out my cell number either.

  35. I called Walmart and they told me that your Savings Catcher money can be spent online at Walmart.com. So all is not lost!!

    • I tried to spend mine online and no place does it give me the option to pay with Walmart Pay.

      • The option to pay is your savings catcher money.I spent some of mine online and still have some left. I called Walmart and that is what they told me to do.

        • When I printed out my last gift card before all this happend, I used it at the checkout at Walmart. I threw
          away the paper then, thinking that next time I got enough, I’d print out another. Now when I try to order online, and check pay with gift card, they ask for the gift card number and I don’t have it. How do I find out what the gift card number is

  36. Don’t be surprised to find out that your store no longer participates at all. I wasn’t thrilled about having to use Walmart Pay to participate but when I scanned my last receipt, the app said my store was no longer participating after October 29th! I am very unhappy about this

  37. If they we’re interested in helping to ensure low income customers that they still had the lowest price, and not have to risk all of the fraud, they would only have to give them loyalty Shopper cards like the rest of the grocery stores across the country, where you scan your information before you start your order. Then people could still use their food stamps, the elderly wouldn’t have to buy smartphones, and Walmart could still issue their refunds, and it would still go JUST to each individual.

    They know this.

    So there is a reason they’re requiring people to do it through their app. That’s so inconsiderate.

    You suck #Walmart

  38. I think what they’re doing is very discriminatory.

    I, for one, will be doing most of my shopping elsewhere.

    I’m pretty sure Target is competitive and I’ve already shopped for miniblinds at Lowes, where they costed me LESS then Walmart anyway. I would have never known had they not pushed me somewhere else.

    As for all the low income SNAP recipients who count on stretching every dollar they get, I hope they go to Price Rite, Sav-A-Lot or Shop Rite now.

    I think what they’re doing is a huge slap in the face to the majority of customers that count on them to help stretch that dollar!

    Those greedy Muther Fockers should be ashamed of themselves!

  39. DEEDEEDEEDEE says:

    To the author of the article, it’s not true that CHECKOUT 51 and IBOTTA will allow you to use receipts that were NOT printed at the register at the point of sale. I emailed those two as well as SavingStar, and all three emailed me back stating they will still only take cash register receipts ONLY, nothing printed by the customer from their phone or at home, etc. Additionally, you stated you cal ALSO ask for a paper receipt at the register should you want one in addition to the e-receipt you will get, and Walmart has told me that isn’t true, that you will get ONLY the e-receipt. I asked them why they are lying on their website in order to trick people into signing up for Pay by stating you can print your receipts from your phone and submit them to the cashback apps when those top apps already said they won’t accept that, and they pretended the phone went dead and in fact hung up on me. I would NEVER store my credit card at walmart.com. I had one a few years ago used for ordering checks, and a few weeks later, my card number (that I never ever used until then) was stolen somehow and a new plastic card was created from the number and was attempted to be used halfway across the state buy declined by the convenience store for lack of ID to prove the card was theirs. I think I’ll just SKIP savings catcher at this point.

  40. You will all still shop there, don’t pretend. They have us by the shorts, and they know it… Besides, most people I’ve seen getting assistance use that money to buy the newest Samsung/Apple phones anyway, never mind their unwashed, hungry children that have to come to Wal-Mart with them at 2 am…

    • I can say that I will shop around for the cheapest prices being Walmart will no longer offer Price Match via Savings Catcher for those who pay cash / check / EBT for their groceries. We always pay cash for purchases and save the Savings Catcher for the holidays. Also, those who receive food assistance (EBT) CANNOT use it for non-food items like you judged them to do. It HAS to be used for non-prepared food items.

  41. Judith Weicht says:

    i, also have NO Smartphone and I always used the Saving Catcher to save up for Christmas presents. It is so so unfair to the people who are loyal to shopping at Walmart to deprive them of the Savings just because they don’t have a Smartphone. If I cannot get the savings that everyone else does, might as well find a better place to shop. Goodbye Walmart.

  42. we are on a fixed income and do not have smartphone. This new process is unfair to seniors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Agree Ginger.

    • Rebecca Miller says:

      I am on a fixed income to. If I use my smartphone it will take my savings catcher away to pay for things. Unless I wanted to put a credit card or debit card in there but I don’t use those things to buy my food I get food stamps and that’s how I buy my food and so they’re taking it away from people like us that I wanna use that savings catcher to buy things that we need like dish soap stuff like that if we need wipes and all that stuff that was helping me out. Needs the margin to the Walmart and give them heck and tell them that there are not doing this to us that we want it done the other way and make him do it the other way because this can’t be.

  43. It looks like it’s time for me to start shopping at Target! Walmart’s shelvex are always empty anyway. Target here I come!

  44. Patricia Boehlke says:

    I liked it when I could use the Bluebird card. Why did you stop that???? Now I have no way to get your savings. I don’t think it is fair to those of us with no smartphone. I can’t aford the monthly payments for a smartphone. besides, I don’t need to have a phone in front of my face 24/7!!!

  45. This is absolutely ridiculous. While I do have a smartphone, I use cash everywhere to pay for things. Cash is still king last I checked. I used the savings from the Savings Catcher to offset some expense for Christmas at the end of the year, looks like that’s out the window now! Shame on you Walmart!

  46. Patricia A. Boehlke says:

    I don’t have a smartphone and don’t want one either. I have money in the savings catcher right now. How can I get my money before the end of October????

    • I don’t have a smartphone, but I do have money in my savings catcher. How can I get my money out. My printer is broke also, so I couldn’t print out a gift card. Please help me.

      • You can still spend your Savings Catcher money at Walmart.com. I just did that last week. They have more stuff there anyway!!!

        • II tried to spend mine online and no place does it give me the option to pay with Walmart Pay. They linked my Walmart Pay gift card to my credit card and when I go to pay with my credit card, it doesn’t show that it is being paid by my Savings Catcher Rewards.

  47. This is ridiculous. Shame on Wal-Mart. I will be voting with my wallet and taking my business elsewhere, as will many other friends and family.

  48. This makes it so that those without a smartphone or those who prefer to pay by cash, check, SNAP or use their grocery pick-up service are screwed out of savings…. Sounds like they just don’t want to do price guarantees anymore!

  49. Those of us who don’t own a smartphone or can’t afford a smartphone can’t save money anymore at Walmart – That’s a shame!!!!

  50. Guess I’ll do all my shopping at Kroger where I don’t have to use a smartphone.

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