Even though this is the digital age, most of us still go through annoying exercises in organization with paperclips and accordion files to try to manage and keep track of all our coupons before a shopping trip. And you still have to print most of the coupons before heading out to shop.
Offermatic.com has offered a partial solution to all that since it launched to the public in December. Let Offermatic run in the background and help you find savings automatically based on your past purchases before you head out shopping. No paperclip management.
But now Offermatic is announcing a whole new level of automation: eliminating taking coupons with you, and it has added over 150 merchants.
The catch? You have to link up your credit card accounts that you use to shop. Then Offermatic will analyze your purchase behavior and offer you coupons. Buying bucket-loads of diapers? You get coupons for diapers. No sorting through coupons you don't care about. That's a consumer convenience.
But linking credit card accounts,will be a barrier to many people. Can they trust a company with their personal info?
Well, they already do. Retail companies already keep your purchase info on file and mine it for information. Your credit cards are probably on file with many different companies. If you're worried about security, you're likely at no less at risk with Offermatic than you already are just by having your credit card spread out across the general internet.
Offermatic doesn't actually keep your credit card numbers, it anonymizes them and uses the data in bulk to generate the offers. It uses the same secure back-end that popular finance site Mint.com used to use before its acquisition by Intuit: Yodlee. Yodlee is also behind many banking online interfaces.
"Our service is anonymous, our security technology matches any bank, and we don't sell any personal transaction history. All offers are based on aggregated and anonymous spending data," Offermatic CEO Faisal Qureshi reiterated to Dealnews when contacted about the privacy of their customers.
If you already use an online service to help you with tracking your finances, then adding a second service to gain coupons is not a great leap for you. If companies are already tracking your spending, you might as well save some money on it.
But for many, this extra step up giving over your information is too much.
And that's okay, too. Stores will be taking paper coupons for many years to come. So keep on clipping. Because whether automatic and online or via paper, coupon savings aren't going anywhere.
Tobias Buckell is a freelance journalist in Ohio. Follow him on Twitter &mdash @TobiasBuckell.