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Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel: Earn rewards for scanning your purchases


I've been talking recently about simple things that anyone can do to earn a little extra money or gift cards from home. So far, I've shared about Swagbucks, MyPoints, and Ebates. Today I wanted to share a very unique opportunity which is currently accepting new applicants–the Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel.

If you are accepted as a panel member with Nielsen Homescan, you will be sent a small hand-held scanner and will scan all the bar codes of everything you purchase. Once a week, you'll transmit this information to Nielsen and you'll earn points which can be redeemed for a variety of items from the Nielsen Gift Catalog.

The Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel is a "mini-USA" that represents all
types of Americans. Manufacturers and retailers will look at the
information you send to them to decide what products to make and sell to
consumers all across the country.

While I have personally not been a part of this panel, I have known many who have. From them I have heard that it takes awhile for your points to add up but you can earn some fairly nice prizes–like electronics and household items–if you stick with it.

If you are interested in signing up, they are taking applications for their panel right now. Go here to read more and sign up.

If any of you have had experience with the Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel, I'd love to hear your thoughts and how it has worked for you.

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  1. RSchuurman says

    I have done this in the past, but honestly, it became much more time consuming than it was worth.

  2. mary says

    I was doing it for a month or so… but you have to manually enter the prices. So you scan your item and then find the price on the reciept. It’s really time consuming when you have 50 items on one reciept. It wasn’t worth the time to me. :)

  3. says

    I have been a member for several years and really like it. It’s simple and I have redeemed my points for a dvd/vcr combo, electric weedeater, blender, and electric screwdriver!
    P.S. they also offer several short surveys that earn you points too.

  4. Holly G says

    I’ve done it before and it takes a lot of time and for the amout of time I didn’t think it was worth it. You would save up points for “prizes” and it would take forever to save up enough points then when I did have enough the item was out of stock!

  5. Cherlene says

    I did this a few years ago while living in NY. Scanning the barcodes on the items I bought was very easy. What was hard was transmitting the data to Nielsen. Back then you had to hold the scanner up to a land line phone, dial a number, and let it “talk” to the system. We didn’t have a land line phone, so I’d have to take it over to my neighbors house. The other thing I didn’t like was that it wanted to know everything you bought and I do mean EVERYTHING. The bagel I bought from the guy on the street, I had to enter that. The pack I gum I bought from the bodega, I had to enter that. The candy I bought from a vending machine, I had to enter that. Pretty soon, it became too much like work and I already had a full-time job. I guess if I wasn’t working and was the type of person who could remember every little item I bought, I might do it again.

  6. Roxanne says

    I was accepted into their program a little more than a year ago.

    Once I got the scanner and my log-in to the program, I immediately realized it was NOT for me. It wasn’t until I downloaded the software and had FULL access to their website that I realized it would take our family years to accumulate enough points for anything.

    And let me tell you, it’s not a fast money earner like swagbucks or mypoints. You have to scan each item you buy at each store, and enter the regular price, sale price, and any coupons you used. Do you know how time consuming that is for a heavy coupon user?? Then you have to upload the data into the system.

    I know someone who has been in this program for years, and I just don’t get it. I don’t know how she makes time for it, or feels it’s worth her while.

  7. Janice says

    I did this for six months and found it extremely tedious and time consuming and there are only two of us. If you use a lot of coupons it is a very cumbersome procedure, and any fresh products -meats, produce, bakery etc. are a nightmare to deal with. Each item has numerous steps to complete and everything had to be entered manually. I was determined to do my bit, and persevere, but I saw how long it would take to accumulate points for anything worthwhile and finally gave up. After six months I earned a “water bottle” !!

  8. Bonnie says

    I’ve done this for about a year and I’m considering giving up. I’m a faithful coupon shopper, and while you do get used to recording purchases, it is time consuming. It has taken me a long time for my points to add up and there isn’t anything I really want. FOR US, I don’t think it is worth it.

  9. says

    I did it for a couple months. Then I just found that it was too time consuming and annoying, having to keep all the receipts etc. I finally gave it up and sent back my stuff, only to be harassed later by a person who demanded I return their call at their home number. On Nielsen’s behalf, they threatened to sue if I didn’t return the equipment (which I already had!) So suffice it to say, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

  10. Kris S says

    I did it for a few months as well. If you just bought without coupons, or stockpiling, it could work out, but, trying to figure out how to enter in the coupons, the ECB’s the register rewards and me sometimes having four receipts from one trip (rolling those bucks!!), did not work for me. Way too much time. Transmissions were issue’s too as I was on dial up at the time and more often then not, I couldn’t get it to upload at the end of the week which messed things up.

  11. says

    I did this for about 3 or 4 years. It does take a lot of time to scan EVERYTHING. Often with doing it, it would take me a full hour to scan everything and put my groceries away. And you need to remember the amount of each of your coupons that you used. The only phone that we could use to transmit each week was the one that had the cord. Cordless phones didn’t work for us to transmit. I cashed in when we moved and received a nice pan set (probably valued at around $70) and a lunchbox. I would not sign up to do it again unless I had a LOT of time on my hands.

  12. says

    I have been doing this for just over a month. I agree that it seems it will take a while to build up points, but may be worth it in the long run. I transmit our info right through our cable internet, no need for a land line.

  13. Dee Wolters says

    I was a member for about 6 months. The scanner never worked very well and they would call and tell me I had not been scanning. They sent a new one, and I had similar problems. I returned the 2nd one and never received a replacement. I have not received any points for all the work I did. I like Shoppers Hotline better, similar program but I have not had the hardware problems.

  14. Tracy says

    I agree with a lot of the other posters. I was a member for about two years and it was a very long process entering everything. When they started codes for anything that did not have a barcode was when I completely had it. Not to mention the items in the catalog were definitely not worth all of the time I had put in. Just wasn’t for me!

  15. says

    I did this for about 6 months, and like others I found it extremely time consuming and it got tedious very quickly. With using coupons it became exceptionally time consuming…and since nearly everything I buy has a coupon… I would find my groceries sitting out bc I couldn’t get to scanning them immediately…perhaps if my kids were in school it would have been easier…it just wasn’t worth the time for me.

  16. Tracey says

    I have the same opinion as most of the others here. I received my scanner about a month ago and was hoping that my 6 year old would be excited to help me. After I received the start up kit, I saw that there’s no way he could enter all of the info they required. It was extremely time consuming for me, and the amount of points it would take for prizes would have taken years to accumulate enough to get anything I wanted. I took the scanner to the post office yesterday to return it (and hope I’m not harrassed by them!!). I wouldn’t recommend this program at all.

  17. says

    I’m doing it! I don’t mind that it takes a few extra minutes. My mom did it for 12 years (it’s pretty old!), and it was MUCH more difficult then. Instead of plugging your scanner into your computer, you had to stand with your scanner held to your landline and it took 30 minutes to transmit.
    I like stuff like this, so it’s kind of fun for me. You don’t have to enter your prices in for every item for every store… only for some stores. Fred Meyer, for example, is one of the stores I shop at and I don’t have to enter prices for them.
    Then again, I don’t use a whole lot of coupons, so that part is easy for me.
    I love it! I don’t have enough points to redeem them for anything yet (although my first “prize” will be a coffee grinder that I’m excited about!), as I’ve only been doing it for a couple months, but I don’t mind. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up watching my mom do it… and it was MUCH more difficult back then, so it just seems like cake to me now.

  18. says

    I was disappointed to find they are not offering it in my area, but now after reading the comments, I don’t feel so bad! Sounds like an interesting program though.

  19. Jen says

    I have been a member for 5+ years, but frankly it’s not worth doing it if you’re in for the prizes. Given the amount of time it requires, my philosophy is that a member should be able to redeem points for a decent prize (say, an iPod or certificate for a hotel stay) if they faithfully do the work for a year. In reality, I’ve never redeemed my points because the awards are low quality and “overpriced” in terms of the number of points they require. After 5 years, I might be able to redeem my points for an award valued at $100 (and it wouldn’t even be something I was coveting!). On top of that, they also offer sweepstakes prizes for people who scan & report faithfully. I’ve never won a single prize.

  20. says

    I’ve been doing this for about 6 months and have found the points to add up rather quickly – most of the stores in my area are already in their system so I don’t have to enter prices which makes it easier. I like it much better than Shopper’s Hotline which seemed to require a lot more work for less reward… I finally sent that one back. The Neilson scanner is much easier to use and not a hassle as I just scan item as I put them away.

  21. Dawn B says

    Yep another consumer panelist here. If you are one to shop for more than a week at a time a store that you have to manually enter the prices it would be an hour long process. I’m curious about one of the above posters saying she can plug the scanner into her computer, I’ve been doing this for a year now and I still have to use a corded phone and transmit every week. In my year of tedious and often times frustrating membership I’ve only earned 25,000 or so points and the best thing I could get with that many points is something I could pick up at Walmart for less than 15.00 so if you are in it for prizes it is definately a waste of your time. On the other hand, I met someone who onced worked for a company many years ago that used that information. She said the information they gathered from the reports was very important to the company and she admired those who entered it every week. So while it is not going to earn me my Kitchen Aide mixer before I reach 100 years old, the information gathered is important.

  22. Queenie says

    I have been doing it for years. I started doing it for the things I can get but in reality if that is all you are doing it for, it is not worth your time. I don’t always scan every little thing. I scan most of my purchases and really coupons are not a big deal to enter nor is meat etc… as others say. What I am finding to be a bit of a challenge is the register rewards…. having to figure out what portion of it you actually applied towards different items is difficult. The transmitting is no big deal either. It is plugged into your phone line and you place the scanner in the base and hit send. That is all there is to that. It is also easy to earn extra points by filling out their short surveys that they send you via email. So it can be an easy enough program and you are letting manufacturers know what you like and don’t like and that coupons are indeed a very large part of your life. But it is in no means a get stuff quick program.

  23. Mary says

    I did it for a year or so and hated it. I live alone and don’t honestly buy a lot and they kept questioning me as to whether I was truthful in recording what I bought. Well, when you buy mostly diet coke and lean cuisines, you won’t see a whole lot of variety in my scans, folks! LOL

    I agree, after a year I mailed the scanner back and got nothing in return for my work.

  24. Blaire Ruch says

    takes way too much time.
    i got the equipment and immediately knew it would take too long with the way i shop. the way most people who frequent your blog shop as well. you have to input the sale price, coupon value, etc. for each item. there is no way it would ever be worth that time. there are other programs that give you more bang for your minute!

  25. says

    I’ve been doing it for 2-3 months. It will take me a very long time until I have enough points to get something i want but I feel as though I’m helping out. Like it can only benefit me in the end if they continue to make items i buy or new items similar that i’d be interested in. Besides, it’s kind of like the lotto, maybe i’ll win a prize. I’d love to get the $20,000.

  26. Jennett says

    This was very time-consuming. I had tried Shopper’s Hotline in the past and thought that was easy, but had to quit after I moved. With Nielsen, you were supposed to enter whether the item was on sale, what kind of sale and scan the coupon that you used. I wouldn’t do it again.

  27. Erin says

    We were panelists for about a year and a half. It was time-consuming, but kind of fun because I got to re-live all the good deals I got when I was scanning my items! It’s not worth it for the points/prizes, but we did it because we felt like we were contributing valuable data about the spending habits of people in our demographic.

  28. Alison says

    I’ve been a member of this panel for about four years. You get used to scanning and I can do it really quickly now. I’ve turned my points in for some nice prizes. The best one was the Little Tikes picnic table for my son. I think it’s worth it. :)

  29. Dee says

    I would recommend reading their privacy statement! It seems that they collect a lot of personal information, that could and probably will be kept indefinitely and not just here in the United States could be transferred to other countries.
    Overall this program sounds to time consuming and not really beneficial.

  30. says

    Our household participated in this program for over one year. As there little motto states, “From the Deli to the Mall, Scan it All,” they expect quite a bit out of you. They even want you to scan in free samples you receive in the mail. It is a tedious, time-consuming process if you do not use coupons, discounts, or sales. If you do, it becomes vastly more complex. After scanning the barcode, you enter qty, discount and type of discount (store/clearance, manufacturer) as well as any coupon information (store or manufacturer, and coupon value). I think the scanner might explode if you were stacking coupons!

    While there are some stores where it is unnecessary to type in the prices of each item, this is not usually the case. Then there are the large number of surveys they ask you to complete. While they were not too terrible or time-consuming, they were certainly plentiful.

    Upon first joining the panel, they send small thank you gifts such as pens and notepads, and it seems like this will be a fun way to earn gifts. The points are relatively slow to accrue, and it takes quite a boatload of them to earn decent rewards. I feel that the work and time commitment is greatly out of line with the compensation. When we left the panel, we felt bad about not having received much for our time, and thought that perhaps we should have stuck it out and put in more effort. However, after it was out of our lives, we felt relief from the pressure. I also consider the more deal-conscious ways I shop today, and see that it would be even more work to participate in their panel, so I can plainly say that it is not for me.

  31. Marnie says

    I love Homescan!! They have REAL prizes-not just gift cards people, of COURSE it takes a long time to accumulate points for them. They have things like Coach bags, Hilfiger watches, power tools, Little Tikes, Bushnell telescopes, iPods, Nintendo stuff, X-Box, Guitar Hero-tons of name-brand stuff! I mean, come on, have some patience. I have only been doing it since October, but I absolutely have a blast with it. My SIL has been doing it for over 15 years (!!) and has received so many really nice prizes, and has never complained about the process. She had tried to get me in it for years, but I was never accepted until last fall. I already shop at stores that have the prices loaded, and I still have a land line phone, so there is no problem there. If I visit a vending machine or shop where the prices are not listed it takes only a few seconds to find the prices on the receipt. If you are a couponer, you will remember all of your coupons, trust me! I never forget a deal. Once you get used to the scanner, it is a breeze entering everything while you put your groceries away. No one forces you to take surveys, enter contests or join panels, you can say no. But, of course, there are extra points involved if you do! I love it, and have told many people about it. I work full-time and have two kids, and it only takes me about 20 minutes to scan all of my groceries on the weekends. My hubby does his own scanning when he buys something, and the boys do theirs, too, and they think it is fun. I just think people need to have more patience. Thanks for listening!

  32. Dawn says

    It is true they have “REAL” prizes but when we say it takes a long time to earn them we really do mean a LONG time, take for example the Ipod the above poster mentions, that is currently at the 111,000 point level. If a person transmits every week, answers every survey, and particpates in the specialty panels they offer every so often you can earn about 25,000 points in a year, that means it will take over 4 years to earn that Ipod. That is A LOT of scanning and personal information for a “prize” that one could have easily have bought using the savings and tips offered on this blog in less than 6 months. Again, this panel is important for how companies market and price their products but please do not go into it thinking you are going to earn all kinds of great prizes! If you want to represent your demographic to companies go for it, you get used to the time it takes, but please don’t do it for the prizes!

  33. says

    This is almost not worth the time considering the prizes and that you cannot get gift cards. I enjoy the concept, but it is slow getting rewards and the rewards are not that great.

    I have not had any issues regarding privacy.

    Mypoints and Swagbucks are way easier. Even survey sites get you better and faster rewards.

  34. says

    Same experience as most others. Did it for several months, but it was very tedious as I use tons of coupons. You not only had to enter the coupon, but also put if it was doubled. It was just too much work for me at the time.

  35. says

    I do this, and I think it’s fun! It’s not for everyone, obviously, but I enjoy the scanning and pushing buttons and delighting (all over again) in all my awesome coupon deals. I’ve been a member for over a year now, but I haven’t redeemed any points yet. To be honest, I haven’t really looked at the catalog. I just find the whole process to be enjoyable.

    It doesn’t take me a long time at all. Most of us take pictures of our “hauls” anyway. I always just scan items as I’m setting them up for the picture to put on my blog.

    I just thought I’d share my experience, since almost everyone else doesn’t like it! :)

  36. Denise says

    It sounds like scanning for Nielsen is tidious and time-consuming. I have been with Shoppers Hotline for years and it is so easy. It’s an automatic now for me to scan everything. The scanner plugs into a land-line phone, transmits automatically and only takes a few minutes. You scan your coupons before you shop, scan your purchases when you get home, then enter a total dollar amount at the end. Easy. You earn points each week you scan, and also earn points for short surveys. I have earned at least $200 in gift cards and/or debit cards with very little work. Plus, I’m helping companies know what consumers buy and like.

  37. Julie says

    Wow… I was excited to try this, but after reading the comments (which are VERY helpful), I’m seriously doubting this. Does anyone know if there is a list of stores anywhere that prices are in their system? That would be so helpful in their decision. My main places are CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Stop & Shop, and ShopRite!

  38. says

    I’ve done it for a little over 6 months now and it is very time consuming with having to put prices in for places I go. I think the only place I didn’t have to prices in for was Dillons, but I don’t shop there much. I shop Aldi, our commissary, and Whole Foods mostly.

  39. Cate says

    Thank you so much. I’ve gone ahead and signed up, and am on a “wait list”. We’ll see. Any extra help these days is great.

  40. Lori says

    I have been a Homescan panelist for several months now and am sending the equipment back this week. It’s too time-consuming to enter prices for every item I purchase for my family and when I have coupons, particularly double ones, it’s extra time-consuming. I mostly shop at Walgreens, WalMart and a Kroger chain. I have to enter prices for all of them. Not worth the effort.

  41. Mary says

    They also threatened to charge me for the scanner when they thought I wasn’t scanning everything I bought, but seriously, when you live alone, you often times don’t buy all that much. I’d vote it a big ole NO.

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