Nielsen Home Scan Consumer Panel: Earn rewards for scanning your grocery purchases

I’ve not mentioned this opportunity in over a year, but since a few people have commented recently to say this is something they’ve enjoyed doing, I thought I’d post about it again for those who may be unfamiliar with it.

The Nielsen Home Scan Consumer Panel is once again accepting new applicants in many locations.

If you are accepted as a panel member with Nielsen Home Scan, 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 Home Scan 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.

Some of you have signed up in the past for this and really enjoyed it. Others of you have tried it and found it was too tedious and time-consuming. If you’re interested in hearing about others’ experiences in this program, check out the comments on this post.

(Note: The links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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  1. Jodi says

    I signed up for this a couple months ago, and then I was e-mailed a survey to complete. I didn’t think I was going to hear anything back from them, and then just recently I received another e-mail stating that I was on the reserve list to receive a scanner. So, hard telling how long I will be on this reserve list, or if I will ever receive a scanner.

  2. says

    I joined this group a couple months ago. After about a month of scanning and realizing the tiny amount of rewards you received I sent it all back. This is a ridiculous waste of your time unless you really just want to help out this company.

    • Rachelle says

      I agree with you Amanda and Chrissy. I kept up with it for an entire year and it was such a waste of time. After one year, I was finally eligible for the lowest tier of “prizes”. It was a piece of junk. Also, if you do the majority of your shopping at Walmart, they make you put in the price of every item in addition to the hundred other questions they ask you about every scanned item.

    • Shelley C says

      I did this several years ago and gave up. I never won anything and was wasting all that time putting groceries away…for nothing. Don’t bother with this..

      • Mindy says

        I did it a few months back. I had the scanner for just a few weeks and realized it just wasn’t worth the extra effort for the little reward. I have 6 kids, and although they thought it was fun, it was a big pain for me. Not worth it.

    • kayte says

      Amen! I sent mine back too. So NOT worth the time. It might be good for a single person who doesn’t have kids that need their time and who isn’t buying as many items as someone with a family.

  3. says

    I did Homescan for nearly three years. It was ok, I guess, but when I started using coupons and shopping at odd places not in the scanner, it became a lot more time-consuming to enter my data. I finally quit when I realized I was spending that much time to earn about $50 worth of merchandise once a year. Not worth it, in my opinion, unless you just really love telling people what you’re doing.

    • Martina says

      Agree with you. Scanning all items I was buying was taking lot of my time for nothing. The rewards are insignificant compared to the job you need to do.

  4. Dame says

    I am glad that a lot of people enjoy Nielsen, but I found the time I put in wasn’t worth what I got out of it (even after spending 2 years with them.) The one time I did win the “sweepstakes” I never did get my prize. Its a neat company if you get a thrill off the idea that you’re helping them tab data. Otherwise its a total wash I think – you don’t actually get enough compensation from then to make it worth it. (Unless your one of the few people a year to win something gigantic like a car and your odds of that are like winning the lottery.)

  5. Rachel Cooperrider says

    We’ve been scanning our purchases for a little over a month now, and it is quite time consuming (especially if I do drugstore deals and grocery shopping). They don’t have a way to document using multiple coupons on a purchase (ie. manufacturer and store coupon). I think my husband gets a kick out of it, but it’s another step in the process of unloading the groceries and putting them away. A big plus in their system would be if their scanner recognized items you scan. It does not! So you have to enter the price of the item every time. It doesn’t even recognize items you purchase regularly, that have been scanned in previously.

    • says

      I hear you on the extra step before putting them away! I HATE putting things away. I found that the scanner was a bit persnikety, too…it would take me 2-3 minutes of contorting my hand at different angles to finally get it to scan. I resigned from the panel.

  6. Deborah G says

    I was a member of this a few years ago. It was easy and fun to begin with, but frankly it lost its allure quickly. It was a lot of work for very little reward. My time was worth more.

  7. Kelly P says

    I’ve been doing this for more than a year now and it’s ridiculous how few points I’ve earned. I had my sights set on getting a new digital camera, but with almost two years in I’m still nowhere near enough points for a $100 camera. I really don’t think it’s worth the time, but I’m annoyed by how much I’ve already invested so I guess I keep plodding along…. I wouldn’t do it again though.

  8. Donna Lewis says

    I was a member for a little over 2 years and it really takes a lot of time and the reward is not worth it. After 2 years, I decided to quit and the only thing I could get with the amount of points I had was a shower head that retails for $20.

  9. Amanda W says

    I just tried to sign up and it said not accepting applicants in Charlotte, NC. I have never done the home scan before but I do have a Neilsen Mobile app on my phone that I get points for every month. They just use it to monitor the smartphone apps I use on a daily basis. However, I only get 165 points a month and so far have not been able to use them on anything worthwhile. I don’t have to do anything extra so I allow the app to stay and just earn the points although they are small.

  10. says

    I received my scanner about 5 weeks ago. It was so exciting the first few times using the new “toy”. Let me tell you, it quickly lost it’s appeal. It is a major pain in the neck, particularly when you coupon. Very time consuming. I am sending mine back – not worth the time!

  11. Kim W says

    I tried it a couple years ago and found it VERY tedious and so not worth the effort! The device crashed several times over the course of 3 weeks – I was unable to upload anything during this time and spent lots of time on the phone with technical support. Imagine my surprise when I received a letter in the mail from them demanding return of their equipment. I gladly returned everything…will not go down that road again!

  12. Joyce says

    I’ve been doing it for about a month and a half now and I have to agree, it takes a lot of time for very little in return.

  13. Heidi says

    Yep, I agree with others. I’ve had it a year and haven’t scanned in a few months so I’ve been removed from the panel. When you go shopping and buy 2 cartloads with coupons and then have to put in every.single.price….Well, it’s not worth it. It would take me all day to shop, scan everything in with coupons and such and then put everything away.

  14. says

    This actually sounds like something I’d totally be into doing, especially as a housewife doing all the heavy brand and item decision making and purchasing. Thanks!

  15. Lynn says

    I do this. Every couple of months, though, they send me email reminders to scan *everything* Apparently it is very odd that this frugal household can cheerfully go three weeks at a time without buying anything at all. The points build up very slowly, and I would quit except that I told my son I would stick it out until I could get him an iPod, which will be a couple more years at this rate.

  16. says

    I’m going to chime in with the rest, not worth my time. I did this for about 3-4 months a little over a year ago. We spend about $200 a week on groceries, do you know how long it takes to scan that many food items? It was the first few times but after that it was just a pain.

  17. Kara M. says

    Glad to hear that a lot of people found this too time consuming. I only did ONE week, it took a LONG time and a lot of the items wouldn’t scan. Especially store brands or curved surfaces, which I buy a LOT of.

    There IS a way on my model to plug in BOTH manufacture AND store coupons, but that adds to the time.

    I was happy to see this post and read the comments – I will DEFINITELY send it back. I like getting rewards, but it seems it will take way too long for way too little benefit!

  18. Brittany says

    did this for HALF A WEEK. just long enough to see that none of the prizes were worth five minutes of my time (didnt even calculate how long it would take to earn anything). didnt realize they wanted you to scan EVERYTHING–not just groceries, or that i would have to enter all the prices and coupons i used. not worth the time–coming from someone who actually has plenty of time on her hands right now.

  19. Delia says

    I wish I had seen all these comments ages ago when I joined. It is a total pain and unlike the other scanning program that I had done in the past, there are very few rewards for your effort. I am only hanging on until I get some new storage containers and then I am sending it back.

  20. Kelly says

    I’ve been doing this a couple months now. Because we shop frugally and eat a lot from our garden, we often don’t have more than 1-2 shopping trips per week to scan in (and that’s usually easy because it’s just gas for the car!). It does look like it’d take awhile to earn enough points for something big, but the NCP website surveys help you get more points as well. I found it easiest to take my scanner to the store and scan items as I put them in my cart … saves the time of trying to do it when you get home.

  21. Heather says

    This company can use a SERIOUS overhaul of their methods! I would think it could all be internet based now, or that they could give you an option to use your smartphone, or something. I did it, got all the equipment, which was ANCIENT, and hard to figure out (maybe I’m too tech-addicted) and the setup process and time was ridiculous. Then you have to type everything in by hand and press it up to your phone to transmit, which didn’t even work half the time. Then my unit ran out of batteries, so I sent it back and quit because the whole thing was way too much hassle.

  22. says

    I tried this a couple of years ago. We have laptops and apparently the scanner and software won’t work with laptops ??? Lol. I could get it to scan and would go to do the test scan and upload and it never would connect to the computer. Or the software never could detect that the scanner was connected. Huge waste of my time!! At the time, I really wanted to do it but looking back, I’m glad it didn’t work.

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