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Amazon will pay you to share your receipts – here’s how it works

It’s astonishing to see how Amazon has grown over the past decade. Back in 2010, it was already a top-performing e-commerce platform. And now, it’s one of the biggest companies on Earth — and its growth during COVID-19 has only cemented its place at the top.

Amazon’s size and role in the online economy gives it a chance to throw its weight around. This includes buying competitor services and devices, as well as hosting ultra-competitive online sales like Prime Day. Tap or click here to see why Amazon outsold Black Friday every day of April 2020.

But now, Amazon is giving members a chance to earn money back versus spending it. The company is offering online surveys that pay you in Amazon credit for participating. It sounds like a good deal on paper, but what’s the catch? Here’s what we know.

Amazon wants to know how you shop

Amazon is launching a brand new program that pays users for information about their shopping habits. If you participate and answer some short surveys, you can earn Amazon rewards in $10 increments. These rewards can be applied to your purchases or used for charitable donations. The choice is yours.

RELATED: Money-saving tip: eBay just launched a certified refurbished store

Sounds good, right? Well, there’s a twist: Amazon wants to know how you’re shopping outside of Amazon.com!

According to the new Amazon Shopper Panel website, you can send in 10 receipts per month for purchases made at non-Amazon retailers. This includes any brick-and-mortar stores you visit like grocery stores and drug stores — as well as big-box retailers like Target and Walmart.

To get your rewards, all you need to do is download the Amazon Shopper Panel app on iOS or Android, sign up and start taking pictures of your paper receipts. For every 10 receipts, you earn $10 worth of Amazon credit. Cha-ching!

Amazon-owned stores like Whole Foods, Amazon Go and Amazon Books won’t qualify for the program. But virtually any other retailer or venue — including movie theaters, theme parks and restaurants — can apply towards your count.

Why the sudden generosity from Amazon? Well, it’s not like Jeff Bezos is hosting this service out of the kindness of his own heart. Actually, Amazon is interested in something far more important than the receipts you’re sending: Data.

Yup, you guessed it — this service is yet another data collecting operation.

What will Amazon learn about me if I participate in the Amazon Shopper Panel?

Amazon claims the Shopper Panel service will help it learn more about how effective its ads are on customers. By matching real-life shopping habits with data from Amazon profiles, the company can discover an insane amount about consumer demographics and trends.

Of course, the company says this won’t be a privacy free-for-all. Amazon claims it will delete any sensitive information from receipts you upload, such as prescription drug information. But personal information will be governed under the same privacy policy as the rest of the site. You will, however, be able to delete your receipts once they’re uploaded and vetted.

Is it worth participating in the Amazon Shopper Panel? If you’re comfortable with Amazon learning even more about how you shop and what you think, it’s not a bad deal. Those $10 gift cards can definitely start to add up over time.

And if you’re interested in giving the program a try, you’re not alone. Until recently, the program was invite-only. As of now, you have to get on a waiting list to even start uploading your receipts. Amazon hasn’t said when the waiting list will be removed, but anyone can join the list by downloading the apps linked above.

Would you be willing to sacrifice some privacy for little bits of money here and there? That’s a choice you’ll have to make on your own, but at least you’re getting paid for it. Some companies out there just collect your data without even telling you — let alone pay you for it.

Tap or click here to see how Facebook got caught selling user data again.

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