Money at 30: I Hate Receipts App Review
More and more, I feel as though it’s common for cashiers to ask, “Do you need a receipt?” In these cases, while I’m inclined to say “no,” I usually end up responding in the affirmative just to save them the hassle of tossing out the slip of paper themselves. Yet, there are definitely times when receipts are important, such as on business trips. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them any less annoying. That’s why I can definitely get behind the sentiment expressed by a new app called I Hate Receipts.
So, what does this cleverly-named app do to assist with this transaction pain point? Let’s take a look at what I Hate Receipts (henceforth abbreviated as IHR) currently has to offer and what larger plans it has in its sights.
Using I Hate Receipts
In order to join I Hate Receipts, you’ll first need to provide your phone number. Then, after entering your digits, you’ll receive a text bearing a code to enter in the app as a means of verifying your number. After that, you’ll be asked to enter your name followed by your email address — and that’s it. With those steps out of the way, you’ll be ready to start scanning receipts.
Scanning and editing receipts
Currently, the main feature of I Hate Receipts is the ability to take a photo of paper receipts you have and essentially digitize them. By tapping the camera icon on the app’s dashboard, you can line up your receipt and snap a pic. Then, IHR will capture the data, present you with a digital layout of your purchase, and save it to your account. What’s more, you can add a spending category to each individual item or the transaction as a whole.
In the event you want to elaborate on a purchase, you can also add notes to select items or the entire purchase. Should you want to look back to your original photo, that can also be done by tapping the three-dot icon in the upper right and choosing “View Original Receipt.” Also, I appreciate that you can change the way your receipt displays by tapping the icon next to the “Items” line. These options including viewing a list with just text, a list with text and images, and a grid pattern with just images and prices.
Based on my experience, IHR’s ability to properly interpret the receipt text and data is pretty impressive. Not only did capture the total in individual purchase prices correctly but also captured the names of the items… for the most part. I did get a slight chuckle when the “LG Pellegrino” on my restaurant bill popped up as “Light Mayonaise” in IHR, but was later surprised that the app managed to properly identify the Alzheimer Round-Up donation on my CVS slip.
To be fair, errors are bound to happen from time to time, but what would be nice is to be able to fix them when they occur. While you can currently adjust many aspects of scanned receipts — including adding tips (like I did with my Knife receipt), recategorizing transactions, and editing prices — I was unable to find a way to override item names in the app. Granted, I really don’t care if my digitized receipt says “mayo” instead of “Pellegrino” but this still seems like an obvious feature to include.
One other minor error I’ll note is that, while IHR was able to identify that I used a Mastercard to pay, the last four digits it shows actually belong to my CVS Extra Care Card and not my actual credit card. This means that the view by payment type option (which we’ll talk about later) won’t be accurate either. On that note, since I used Apple Pay, the credit card number displayed on the receipt is tokenized and so the end result likely would have been the same.
Sharing receipt and item info
Another feature found in the current version of I Hate Receipts is the ability to share purchases you make on social media or send receipts to others. Starting with the former option, you can open a receipt and tap on any item to share it — either by email, text, or posting to social accounts. Personally, I don’t really see a good use for this feature, but I suppose you may want to brag about a good deal you got or something.
Meanwhile, you can also send copies of your digital receipts to others using some of the same mediums. It’s important to note that, when using this option, your payment info will not be displayed. Additionally, you can choose whether or not to include category data in the image you send. In this case, I could see this feature being used if you intended to split a purchase with someone. Still, I find it to a fairly minor addition overall.
As you add receipts, you’ll notice that your IHR dashboard will begin to fill in. That’s because this section of the app allows you to view your transaction data in a few different ways. In addition to seeing stubs of your scanned receipts (including the date, total, and vendor), you can also view your top Merchants, view transactions by Payments Types, and filter by Categories. There’s also a Tags section, although I haven’t discovered how to add tags to transactions.
Something else that’s cool is that, by tapping the “All” button next to “Receipts” or by hitting the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of the app, you can search your transactions. This allows you to enter the name of a product or purchase and see which (if any) of your receipts feature said item. Furthermore, you can apply other filters such as a date range, price range, and more to narrow down your search.
Overall, I do like the layout of IHR and the way it makes it easy to navigate your past purchases. I also appreciate that these features are all on one scrollable main tab. Personally, I think this format will work well as the app expands.
Aside from the main feed, there’s really only one other section to be found: My IHR. By tapping the icon with your initial located in the upper left corner of the app, you can access a setting and support interface. In “Account Info,” you can add or remove email addresses associated with your account as well as connect a Facebook account. Below that, you’ll find “Deleted Receipts,” which (as the name implies) houses archived receipts that you can revive should you so choose. After that, you’ll see a Sign Out option followed by various Support features.
One bug I found while poking around the app was that tapping either the “Guide to IHR” or ”FAQs” tabs under “Support” doesn’t do anything. That’s kind of a shame as I was hoping I could view these sections and make sure I didn’t miss any features of the app. Alas, these were just further signs that the platform is still a work in progress. On that note, let’s talk a bit about what’s hopefully ahead for I Hate Receipts.
Future Vision vs. Current Reality
If you’re looking at the I Hate Receipts site or even watching the app tour video linked to on the dashboard, you’ll notice that the company seems to have a larger vision for the service than what currently exists today. For example, they suggest that the app will help save paper by offering “contactless receipts” and mentions the ability to export your data to third-party budgeting platforms. Yet, as far as I can tell, the latest version of the app merely allows you to scan existing receipts in order to digitize them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s still a far cry from what’s been presented.
Final Thoughts on I Hate Receipts
For the moment, I Hate Receipts is a simple and useful tool for digitizing receipts — something I could definitely see myself using while on business trips instead of heading home with a pocket full of paper. However, it’s clear that this app intends to grow well beyond that singular purpose. When these other functionalities will arrive is really anyone’s guess. As a result, it’s hard not to acknowledge these aspirations while also noting the actual state of the app.
With all things considered, there’s very little not to like about I Hate Receipts. Aside from a few minor errors I encountered, I think the core functionality works extremely well. To me, this bodes well for the planned expansion of the app as it looks to add many more features. For that reason, if you’ve been looking for a receipt organization tool, this may be the solution you’ve been searching for. But, if you’re hoping for a detailed budgeting and transaction hub that can be updated effortlessly, you may need to wait just a bit longer.
Also published on Medium.