Honey voucher plugin review: can this free browser extension save you money?


Updated on 18 December 2019 | 0 Comments

Honey automatically finds and adds voucher codes when you're shopping online, but how much will it actually save you? We tested it to find out.

A voucher company claims it can help "make sure you never overpay again" by automatically seeking out promo codes and deals then applying them to your online shop.

That's a pretty bold claim by Honey, a company we'd not even heard of until a few weeks ago.

So we thought we'd put it through its paces to see how much money it could really save us.

What is Honey?

It's a browser plugin that scours the internet for voucher codes whilst you're shopping online so that you don't have to.

Once you've put an item in your basket and you're about to check out, Honey will pop up if it has any vouchers that could save you money.

If you click to accept, these will automatically be applied to your basket total and you then go on to pay as normal with your new lower price.

Supermarket voucher scams: how to tell if a voucher, coupon, or prize is fake

How do I get it?

Honey highlighting Amazon codes (Image: Amazon - Firefox)You can install Honey for free from its website

Once you have the plug-in, you'll need to register for a free account.

That done, you'll now see an 'h' symbol, Honey's logo, in the top right-hand corner of your browser (it'll look slightly different depending on which one you're using).

Whenever you visit a site, the icon will change to let you know whether it has any valid codes and, if so, how many (see screengrab, left .

If you click on the icon, it'll give you a brief summary of the various discounts available and an option to manually copy a code if you so wished.

To be clear, there's no need to do so: you should simply go about shopping as normal and, just before you pay, a pop up featuring a rather happy-looking coin (see below) will notify you of any relevant discounts that you can apply to your bill. 

Is Honey safe?

Honey saving notice (Image: Honey)You do have to be careful when choosing to install any kind of browser extension, as they are a popular target for scammers and hackers. 

That said, if you follow good general practice for staying safe online, then you should be fine.

A common concern with plug-ins is the amount of data that they collect from their users.

As with most plug-ins, you have to agree to allow the website to 'read and change all your data on the websites you visit,' which pretty much gives it free rein in terms of what it can do with your information.

Sharing your data online: how to stay safe

In Honey's terms and conditions, it says that it only collects information that is necessary to 'help you save time and money when shopping online'.

This includes technical information about your device, whether or not you make a purchase, and the effectiveness of the voucher codes it generates.

Honey doesn't collect information about your search engine history, emails, or any non-retailer websites that you visit.

Most importantly it doesn't collect credit or debit card details, or any other billing information.

Can Honey save you money?

We put Honey to the test by attempting to buy an array of products to see whether or not we would get any discounts.

We found that, while the success rate was quite low, when it did work the savings were decent.

On the Hunter website Honey applied codes that reduced a £110 pair of wellies down to £93.50, whilst another code got us £5 off of a pair of Beats from Amazon.

Some of the discount codes you can easily find by yourself, such as those openly advertised on a site, but the plug-in is handy in that they are all applied automatically.

This worked well on Habitat, as a '£10 off your first shop' voucher cropped up on the homepage, but then it disappeared after we clicked onto another page.

Helpfully, Honey applied the code automatically and the price of the lamp in the basket went from £190 to £180. The plug-in couldn't find suitable vouchers for most of the websites that we looked at.

Honey savings on Habitat (Image: Honey)

This included John Lewis, The Body Shop, Apple, Nike, Dyson, TK Maxx, Silent Night and Disney. 

Honey screenshot (Image: Honey)And whilst we had success with the Beats on Amazon, most of the other items that we looked at  ‒ including Lego products, Kenwood mixers and a Kindle ‒ didn't prompt any voucher codes.

When that happens there is a pop-up claiming that you already have the best price (pictured right).

But is it really the best price?

Whilst you might already have the best price for that particular website, that doesn't mean it is the best deal available.

The biggest snag we came across was that, whilst it can seek out vouchers for the site that you're currently on, Honey won't tell you if there are other sites selling the exact same item for cheaper.

We found this to be a bit of an annoying flaw, particularly given that Honey is affiliated with most of the big brands who may sell items cheaper than the stores themselves, such as Amazon.

How to save money when shopping on Amazon

This isn't a problem if your product can only be bought directly, but with an increasing number of marketplace platforms popping up, it is very possible that it could just be cheaper to buy elsewhere, even after factoring in the voucher codes.

For example, this Under Armour shirt is available on the John Lewis website for £30 and although the sites are linked, no available vouchers or cheaper alternatives popped up.

Under Armour shirt at John Lewis (Image: John Lewis)

A quick look at Amazon showed that it had the same shirt for only £23, which is considerably cheaper, but it's not something that Honey is able to pick up on.

Going directly to the Under Armour website gave even better results ‒ the same shirt was only £17.97 to start with, and Honey then found a code to bring the price down to £13.48.

Overall this was a £16.52 saving compared to purchasing the same shirt from John Lewis, which is a great deal. But it did require a little bit of shopping around.

Under Armour money saving (Image: Under Armour/Honey)

Does it save time?

If you're used to trawling through voucher code websites, then Honey is definitely a more efficient way to cash in on online deals. 

The fact that you may have to check a couple of different retailers also won't be new if you're a savvy shopper, but it would be handy if Honey could do a bit of the legwork there too.

Online shopping tricks that could save you hundreds

In terms of comparing prices that you find, you won't know if Honey can save you money until you're about to make a purchase.

This can be time-consuming as you often have to enter most of your details before you get to this stage.

Other features

Even if you can't get money off, you can sometimes get cashback in the form of Honey Gold.

Depending on where you're shopping, you can earn a percentage of your purchase back as Gold – most of the sites we came across offered 0.1-10% back, and the Rewards Rate varies on a daily basis.

According to Honey it is 'luck of the draw' as to which rate you get offered.

Honey Gold can then be turned into gift vouchers. 

Honey Gold (Image: Honey)

In the US, members have to accumulate 1000 Gold in order to claim a $10 gift card, which can be used at a number of big-name retailers.

Users outside of the US have a lot less choice, but UK members can still claim vouchers for sites such as Spotify, Amazon, Marks & Spencer, iTunes, and Play Google Store App.

You can also choose to donate your Honey Gold to a charity.

Another feature of Honey is Droplist, which allows users to watch their favourite items and be alerted if they drop in price.

This is only available to US members at the moment, but there are other sites such as camelcamelcamel and ZeeZaw that are great for tracking prices if you're in the UK.

Verdict

As it's a free extension, there's limited risk involved. 

The worst-case scenario is you don't save any money and it's very easy to uninstall the plug-in if you change your mind.

Best-case scenario, you could make some decent savings on things you'd already planned on buying anyway.

The fact that Honey only actively alerts you to savings when something is in your basket already means you're unlikely to be tempted into making purchases that you hadn't originally intended.

But, ultimately, Honey fails to deliver on its promise to stop us ever overpaying for goods again. 

If you're interested in testing out other voucher plug-ins, why not take a look our analysis of Honey's competitor, Pouch.

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