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Honey Coupons App: How Do They Make Money?

by Timothy Gagnon

If you watch YouTube videos, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a sponsored video for a coupon extension called Honey. But does it really work? Do Honey users actually save $126 a year?

Maybe you think the promises Honey makes sound too good to be true. In this Honey coupons review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Honey extension to see if it’s worth installing on your browser. 

What is Honey? 

Honey is a free browser extension that works on all major web browsers and automatically searches for and applies coupon codes when you’re shopping online. It works with 40,000 online stores, including Amazon, and it can help you save a few dollars here and there. 

To tell if Honey is working, look for the Honey icon (a small H) near your browser address bar. If the logo is orange, with a small number inside, that means the extension found a coupon for the site you’re on. 

In 2018, Honey reported $100 million in revenue. With over 17 million active users, Honey has seen incredible success and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Recently, PayPal bought Honey for $4 billion dollars. 

In short, Honey is making a lot of money, which begs the question, “How does a company make money from a free product?”

How Does Honey Make Money?

Honey mostly makes money through a commission structure with partnered merchants and affiliate networks. In simple terms, Honey earns a commission from retailers when users buy items using a Honey coupon code. 

While the coupon code does bring the total down, the back-end commission is often still higher, so a profit can be turned. Honey also requires every user to create a free account with an email address, and, from time to time, they send special offers to their users. 

how honey works

There are also other revenue sources, such as ads from their phone app, partnerships, and other deals. Honey earns most of their money behind the scenes, in the form of small commissions, when you shop online.

However, there are some concerns you might have when using Honey. Especially since Amazon has recently started to display a warning banner which says Honey is a security risk, and warns visitors to uninstall the extension. 

Is Honey a Security Risk?

While no browser extension is 100% safe, Honey is not a security risk because they regularly hire security teams to validate the platform, and they don’t track or collect non-retail data from their users. Honey is safe to use, but it does track specific types of  data, and you have to grant it a variety of permissions. 

honey app data

Honey’s privacy policy makes it clear that they’ll never sell your data, and they only track data that’s relevant to their service. When installing the extension, you’ll probably come across a list of permissions the extension requires from users. 

For example: 

  1. Information about your device (phone, laptop, PC, etc)
  2. Data from your shopping trends 
  3. Change cookie settings on your computer 
  4. Read and change website data
  5. And others. 

On closer look, Honey takes the privacy of their users very seriously and only saves data that can be used to improve their service. For example, they only track sales data from online retail stores, not every website you visit. They also don’t track your search engine queries, emails, credit cards, addresses, and other personal information. 

Honey users can also opt-out of email promotions and data tracking at any time, and even completely delete their account. If you plan to install Honey, I suggest you first take a quick look at their official privacy policies.

Downsides: Honey Not Finding Coupons?

For the most part, Honey’s service works great and it can find a variety of coupons and deals for you. However, there are some situations where either the extension won’t work or it won’t be able to find any coupons for you. In some cases, Honey’s coupons actually increase the price total instead of lowering it. 

Honey works best in certain countries, specifically the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Certain features, such as Amazon best-price detection, price alerts, and Yelp deals, are only available in the U.S. While the extension can work on international websites, it won’t be working at its full potential, and it might not find any coupons for you. 

What’s Honey Gold? 

Honey Gold is a program that allows Honey users to earn Gold (points) by either referring people to the program, making purchases on select websites, or completing bonus offers. 

how honey works

Honey shares some of the commissions they earn from merchants with you in the form of Gold, and you can use it to redeem various gift cards. According to their website, you can earn up to 20% back from specific retailers. 

The program makes it even easier to save money while shopping online. It’s very similar to other rewards platforms except you can’t redeem money through PayPal or other payment methods, you’re strictly limited to gift cards. However, from time to time there are offers where you can earn PayPal cash, such as the Honey + PayPal $5 Offer. 

You can think of Honey Gold as a cash back program from Honey, except the cash is in the form of points, and you redeem it for gift cards. Honey Gold works with over 5,500 stores, and at the moment, 1,000 gold is equal to a $10 gift card. 

Once again, Honey Gold is only available to people in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. 

Should You Install the Honey Coupon Extension?

If you live in one of the supported countries and you often shop online, I think installing Honey is a good idea because it will help you save a few dollars here and there. 

However, if you live abroad and you rarely buy things online, Honey probably won’t benefit you much. Nevertheless, it’s worth a shot. It never hurts to do a quick search for coupon codes!

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