Ask anyone who's ever been faced with an in-box full of daily deals - Groupons or otherwise: A lot of these deals will be far off the mark. Do I need a pedicure or another half-off coupon for a restaurant I've never gone to and probably never will?
We recently wrote about how to save money on daily deal sites, but while knowing you'll cash in those golf lessons at some point is nice, what you'd really rather learn is how to find regular deals on things you buy regularly, like groceries and gas. Especially now that inflation fears are on the rise.
Offermatic, a new website that makes such daily deal offers more targeted, tries to lessen the load on your email in-box by only offering money back on things you already buy. By registering your credit or debit card, Offermatic gets a history of what you're buying and gives you offers based on your purchasing history, and puts rebates directly back on your card when you use its offers.Buy gas at Chevron regularly? Offermatic may give you an online coupon to redeem within a week for $5 back. You don't have to print out a coupon or do anything more than accept the offer at Offermatic. The $5 is refunded to your credit or debit card when you use it to buy Chevron gas.
People typically receive $20-$40 in savings during their first login and get four to seven offers per month for discounts targeted to them, according to the company. After a few months of using the service, the average user can expect to save $50 to $70 per month, said Faisal Qureshi, founder and CEO of Offermatic.
"I'd rather send you three to four offers that you're really going to like, rather than send you 30 offers," Qureshi said in a telephone interview.
The company's goal is to offer 10 to 15 high quality discounts per month to customers, all without bombing in-boxes with deals they normally wouldn't buy, he said. The industry standard for such email offers is 1% being turned in, while Offermatic's customers are redeeming 15% of them, he said.
Offermatic set me up with an account to try the service out, and after giving them the names of a few stores I regularly shop at, it offered me only the $5 Chevron rebate for spending $10 or more within two weeks. To get more discount offers, I had to gain points through Offermatic, either by having more transactions, referring friends through Facebook, or writing merchant reviews.
Offers awaiting me for gaining more points included $10 off at Whole Foods and Safeway for getting to the second tier, and a $25 rebate at Sears and the Home Depot for reaching the third points level. Points can be used for either better rebates, or merchant gift cards.
The more money you spend, the more offers you'll get for discounts. Some may be at stores you haven't shopped at, but are likely to. For example, Qureshi said, if you shop at Trader Joe's a lot, Whole Foods may offer you a discount to shop at its store. While people who spend more at Trader Joe's, for example, may get more discount offers, they won't necessarily get more money offered back at the stores. For now, Offermatic's discounts are the same whether you spend $50 or $500 a month at Trader Joe's, but Qureshi said he hopes to change that within three years so that high-spending customers are given better discounts.
Qureshi said the site is secure with the same encrypted codes as major banks have, along with third-party verification, and Offermatic doesn't share any personal identification information with anyone. A credit card number doesn't have to be given to join, just the login information that you use to get to the card online, so that Offermatic can track your expenses. Qureshi compares it to what Mint.com does with personal financial information.
There's something to be said for Groupon and other sites that offer half off new things you were thinking of trying. A good restaurant is a great find if you can get introduced to it at half price. But buying things that are outside of your normal spending pattern can cause havoc on your credit card.
Now if they could only come up with a way to reward customers for not using a credit card.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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