Singapore-based fintech startup Rate has a big boast: it claims to have helped 10,000 users collectively save almost S$500,000 on online buys since 2017.
This is partially thanks to a function on its browser extension, RateX, that scours the web for publicly available coupon codes that users can apply to their online shopping baskets.
The startup – which received S$3 million in funding last year – centers around providing online shoppers with the lowest exchange rates when making overseas purchases on e-commerce sites.
Alongside this service, the coupon code function was so popular among users that Rate decided to upgrade it, streamlining the service, adding its own exclusive codes, and expanding the number of merchants to include travel and fashion brands, a spokesman told Business Insider.
The coupon feature is free and works globally, the Rate spokesman said, though most of the merchants included are from Southeast Asia.
A desktop version is available, and a mobile prototype, RateS, is available on the Apple and Android app stores.
When RateX announced its upgrades of the feature on Friday (Nov 16), I decided to test them out. Here’s how it went:
#1: Installing RateX was easy
Note that RateX only works on Firefox and Chrome. Installation is simple – I simply Googled “RateX”, went to the Chrome web store, and clicked on the install button.
#2: Discount codes didn’t pop up often
RateX works on over 100 merchant sites – you’ll be able to see a list of them once you’ve downloaded the extension. They include sites like Amazon, Lazada, Taobao, Zalora, Singapore Airlines, Agoda, Klook and Kkday.
With RateX downloaded, I tried to see if coupons would indeed appear.
First, I visited Expedia to buy some plane tickets. A pop-up appeared immediately, informing me that shopping here could net me “clovers”.
Clovers are not discount coupons. They’re points in RateX’s rewards system, and users with over 1,000 clovers can trade them for cash, gift cards, cryptocurrency or KrisFlyer miles.
Next, I tried ordering a cake on Deliveroo. The RateX pop-up didn’t appear until I clicked the checkout button on my cart and went to the checkout page.
Sadly, RateX didn’t find any discount coupons for Deliveroo.
Last, I signed up on FairPrice online and tried ordering over S$100 worth of groceries.
At checkout, there’s a box for you to input coupon codes. I didn’t have any, so I waited for RateX to kick in. After a few moments, the pop-up appeared on the screen.
RateX found a deal offering free delivery and a 10 per cent discount with a minimum spend of $49. It also found a deal for S$10 off my first order, with a minimum spend of S$49.
#3: Not all codes will work
Since I qualified for both FairPrice coupons, I expected to save $10 – and get 10 per cent off the bill.
But when I clicked “Try All Coupons”, only the first one worked. The code for that successful coupon showed up as a S$10 discount in the checkout box.
I was determined to try and make both coupons work, so I tried to click the “Apply” button directly on the other coupon.
The site informed me that the code was invalid.
Nevertheless, at least the one successful coupon saved me S$10.
As an online shopping tool, RateX is fantastic, but it only pops up just before you checkout, so it’s hard to see what promotions are available ahead of time and how much you can save.
Of course, the biggest catch with this tool is sometimes there just aren’t any codes. Even if there are, the ones that RateX finds sometimes aren’t valid anymore. This isn’t something the company can control, so it’s important to remember that the codes don’t come with any guarantees that they’ll work.
Nevertheless, installing the extension was easy, and frequent online shoppers could potentially save a lot.
In conclusion: be prepared to pay full price, but be delighted if it the tool scores you a discount.