Get Rid of That Paper Clutter! NeatReceipts Scanner Review

Neat Receipts Mobile ScannerLast year I asked my readers what they would do in regards to dealing with paper clutter and keeping track of important paperwork. I explained the pros and cons of the Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner vs the Neat Desk Desktop Scanner and read many great opinions from my readers on other alternatives I didn’t even know about.

After a bit of research I finally made a decision and made a purchase in November. What did I get?

Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner

I ended up purchasing the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner even though it isn’t the cheapest option out there. I’ve been very happy with my purchase. I’ve scanned a majority of my file cabinet since the purchase, as well as normal day to day receipts and statements, so I have a good feel for how the scanner works now and feel I can give an honest well-rounded review.

The first question you may have is why did I decide against the NeatDesk Desktop Scanner? I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t have enough paper to scan on a normal basis to make the additional capacity of the Neat Desk Desktop Scanner worth the additional cost of the scanner.

It would have made the initial scanning of my current file cabinet go by much faster, but it wasn’t that much trouble using the Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner because I could watch TV or listen to music while I scanned.

One of the reasons why I don’t use my old flat bed scanner was it took up too much space. The Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner fits easily into a small desk drawer and doesn’t take up any desk space when I’m not using it.

Pros of the Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner

  • NeatDesk Desktop Scanner

    The Elusive Clean Desk

    I love how small this scanner is! It fits right in my desk drawer and I can set it up in seconds whenever I want to use it. This is key because I didn’t use my old scanner because it was very large and cumbersome to use.

  • To use my NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner all I have to do is start up the Neat software and plug the scanner into a USB port. 
  • The place where the Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner shines is the Neat software. It is amazing compared to most scanner software packages.
  • Before you scan your receipts, business cards or documents you can choose which type you will scan or you can allow the scanner to auto detect which item is being scanned.
  • You can have the Neat software remove blank pages or combine multiple pages into a single item while scanning your papers. After you scan each page you can scan another page or click done to stop scanning to the current item and start a new item.
  • The Neat software is basically a virtual file cabinet. I have over 30 file folders set up and just click on which file I want it to go into before I scan a document and the scanner automatically files it there.
  • After you scan a receipt or business card the Neat software will pull relevant information off of the business card or receipt and populate some basic fields such as vendor, category, receipt date, payment type, sales tax and amount. You can edit any of these fields after the software pre-populates them and you can add a tax category if you’d like to track business or individual tax return receipts.
  • You can scan either into the Neat software or you can scan directly to a PDF. This option is nice when you need to send someone else a scan of a legal document or other paperwork.
  • If you have digital files you’d like to put in the Neat software you can import PDFs and images although I haven’t tried it personally.
  • You can export the Neat images to an image, pdf, comma separated values (csv) file, excel, QuickBooks, Quicken, TurboTax or other Neat files. I haven’t tried the export feature but I imagine it works well. If you have a particular question let me know and I’ll test it out.

Cons of the Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner

Neat Receipts ReviewOverall I’ve really enjoyed using the Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner but there are a few quirks that people have mentioned that I feel I should address.

  • The scanner itself isn’t the highlight of the product. The scanner does its job well and can scan in color or black and white but other than that it performs like a mobile sheet fed scanner.
  • The scanner doesn’t have a sliding guide for documents smaller than the full width of the scanner. You’re supposed to slide the documents all the way to one side of the scanner when feeding it and this should take most of the crookedness out of your scanned image. However, sometimes there is some distortion from a crooked scan but it hasn’t ever bothered me or made it illegible.
  • When I first started using the Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner it was sometimes a bit frustrating to get the scanner to pick up or catch the document to scan it. It just took a few pieces of paper to get used to how the scanner feeds and it hasn’t been a problem since.
  • If there is more than one type of tax or tip the scanner doesn’t know which one to populate into the sales tax field. If this is important to you make sure you check this field and update your receipts as necessary.
  • Sometimes when I selected the auto recognize feature to determine which type of item I was scanning (receipt, document or business card) the scanner would recognize a full page receipt as a document. The easy way to prevent this is to select which type of document you’re scanning before you scan a full page receipt. You can choose to convert the image from a document to a receipt and it will reprocess the document into a receipt.
  • The biggest gripe I’ve read about the scanner is the time it takes to process a scanned image. Once you scan an image it goes into a queue for processing which can take a decent amount of time if you’re using a lot of your computer’s resources. It can also take a while to process multiple page documents that are larger than 15 or 20 pages but has always gotten the job done for me. If I run into this problem I just go do something else (either in my house or on my computer) and when I come back the document is ready for my review in the file I set for it.

Overall Impression of the Neat Receipts Mobile Scanner

Neat Receipts Scanner ReviewOverall I really enjoy using my NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner and think it is a great tool for anyone with paper clutter. Ever since I bought my scanner I haven’t had any problems with credit card statements, bills or receipts piling up on all of the flat surfaces in my house. It is so easy to pull out the scanner and get the documents filed virtually that I no longer avoid the task.

Yes, there are a few small quirks but once you learn the ins and outs of your scanner they’re easy to avoid or work around. If you want everything to turn out perfect every time you probably need to use a flat bed scanner but I’d say the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner gets the job done right 99% of the time.

If you do a lot of filing you might want to consider the NeatDesk Desktop Scanner. It allows you to scan a larger volume of paper in a quicker time period.

I’d like to disclose that all links in this post to the Amazon pages for the Neat Scanners are affiliate links. I work hard to provide an objective review of this product, as well as valuable content on an ongoing basis. If you are planning to buy a Neat scanner and came out of your way to click through my affiliate link I’d like to thank you.

Do you have any questions about the scanner that I can answer? Let me know down in the comments below! Be as specific as possible so I can address your concern!

Do you use a similar scanning system? What works for you?

Like What You See?

Join the other readers who have signed up for our email newsletter! No spam, just periodic updates to help improve your finances!

About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. I like the idea, but still have paper files. Eventually, I think I will switch over. I like the idea of categorizing and retrieving easily.

  2. This is something we need to look in to. Our printer has a scanner but is a beast and not the easiest to use. We try and scan our statements regularly, but it often falls to the wayside as we hate dealing with the scanner.

  3. Nice review! I like that you had some cons in there as well as the good points. My filing cabinet is such a beast! I was hesitant at first to go paperless on a lot of my bills, but now I see the light.

    • It is nice to not have to dig through the files. I’d always wait until I had a giant stack of papers to file and then I’d hate myself for waiting so long. Now I just scan stuff when I get it.

  4. I also have a multi-function printer that I use to scan the few hard-copy documents I get. For the most part, I’ve been paperless for the last 3 years and wouldn’t change it for anything. Anything I need I can get in electronic format, and the cost of backing it all up is really minimal. All I needed was Adobe Acrobat and…done. I don’t bother with any expensive document management programs or anything, just a partition on my hard drive, a couple of cloud accounts and a micro-SD card just to keep a backup copy on-site in case of catastrophe.

  5. Gah, I need this. Now that I’m a 1099 employee for my tax business, I have a folder bursting with receipts that I need to digitize. One thing is, don’t forget to back pu in multiple places. Whe I was in audio recording school (yea, that’s my college education), they said “data does not exist unless it is stored in 3 different places”. I try to stick to that rule.

  6. So I read and commented on your discussion about the scanner a few months ago. Now you have it and have scanned everything….and I still have a flatbed scanner and tons of paper all over the place. I’m wondering if it’s worth the investment or if I just need to bite the bullet and get crankin’ on my scans…..

    • If you can make yourself bite the bullet it is cheaper but I couldn’t get it done in the months after the post so I just bit the bullet. If you do buy, my affiliate link would love you forever 🙂

  7. I’ve been using a multi-function printer in a vain attempt to accomplish the same thing. The device itself works fine and is of decent quality, but the scanning software that comes with it is just too…. multipurpose. It faxes, scans, image edits, etc. and doesn’t do a particularly “great” job of anything. This looks like something to add to my wish list.

  8. My friend who does real estate investing just told me about this product at a New Years party, small world 😀

  9. I’m in the process of renovating my home office, and I love the idea of this!

  10. Ornella @ Moneylicious says:

    I like the idea of the scanner but I’m still stuck on paper files. Although, I do know I will eventually need one. This is a great review of the scanner.

  11. Great product review! I like the idea of mobile scanner. I have some receipts and paper files on my table and I think scanning and converting them to digital files will be simpler and more neat. Add to the fact that the files can be easily retrieved.

  12. We have thought about getting this but we have concerns about if we need to return something or claim a warranty. I am not sure if companies will accept a scanned copy. I wish they would. We do now live in the digital age.

  13. Question, I have been looking at this as well but have heard that upgrades to the software are a problem. Apparently Neat doesn’t do a good job with software upgrades. Any thoughts or experience with this?

    • So far I have installed one update and I haven’t had any problems with it over the last couple weeks. Then again, I’m not hugely knowledgeable about software updates as I imagine most people aren’t. I’d say it is a small pool of the users that have problems but I have no way to confirm that.

  14. I am considering purchasing the neat receipt scanner for my business. Would you please tell me if this will work… I have registrations forms I fill out for each customer and I fill in there information by hand. If I scan that form will the handwritten information show up ? I have read on another reveiw that hand written notes will not show up 🙁 This is very important to me in purchasing this product because I wanted to also use this as a database for all my customers.

    • Ann,

      I just handwrote a business card and tried to scan it in and it did not pick up any of my handwriting. If that is the only reason you are looking into buying the scanner I’d advise you to pass. If it is just one of many reasons it still may be a viable scanner.

  15. I have decided to purchase the neat receipts. My main question is the following….How are you backing up your information? Are you using the neatcloud? timemachine? a different device?

    • I honestly haven’t backed up yet… I need to do that this weekend. I have an external harddrive and I’ll copy to that. And probably burn to a DVD as well. And maybe a thumb drive… can’t have too many copies!

  16. thanks so much for your reviews , just read about the fact that the scanner does not pick up handwritten notations, so if I add a comment to a business card it won’t pick it up? what about the neat desk , do you know if it will.?

    • It won’t pick it up with the auto recognition software but you will be able to see it on the scan. Neat Desk and Neat Receipts use the same software so I doubt it would be any different. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  17. Have you or anyone you know used this scanner with a Mac device? I’ve read one negative review about using the scanner and software with a Mac – quite discouraging. Any positive feedback out there?

    • I haven’t personally, but if you’ve only found one bad review for mac and lots of positive reviews I wouldn’t be super worried, although depending on the review, they may have a point. Generally more people will take the time to write a negative one than a positive one.

  18. I received a NeatReceipts Scanner for a Wedding Gift in November 2011.. It is still in it box and with original plastic wrap. I Loved the Idea! But I am not tech savvy in any way. I glanced at the installation and user guide and tucked it all back in the box and set it aside in my office. Over time it has gotten buried with masses of paperwork…imagine That! (My first clue it can’t set itself up and scan without human interaction. I Am Not Blessed With Techie Skills AT ALL.. So My fear is… Once I Get everything scanned in… Will I Be able to ever find it AGAIN??? I read someone else’s post that they save things to the desk top… I do that as well… Otherwise when I try to find something … I Can’t ever locate it…. I hate to have this gift and not use it!

    • The software makes it super easy to find things you have scanned. Simply open the Neat Software and it is basically a filing cabinet! You get to create the folders (super easy) and then when you scan a document you choose which folder you put it in. Open it up and give it a try. At first, don’t throw away the hard copies and if you don’t like it after that you don’t have to continue using it, but at least try it. I love mine! It gets rid of so much paper in our house!

  19. Just wondering if this will scan photos as well – or just documents. I have been thinking about getting one of these for our home business. I have an all-in-one printer and use the scanner to keep pictures – but it is a very slow process. So just wondering if this scanner would do pictures as well. Thanks for the objective review!

    • Hi Lelia,

      It can scan pictures, but I wouldn’t say it is the main purpose of the scanner. I haven’t actually tried, but it should work. You can set whether or not you want the image in color and what resolution you want to scan it at.

  20. RICHARD GUSTAFSON says:

    HOW DO I HANDLE CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS WHERE THERE ARE SEVERAL DIFFERENT TYPES OF DEDUCIBLE ITEMS IN THE STATEMENT WITHOUT RESCANNING THE STATEMENT FOR EACH TYPE
    OF DEDUCTION?

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think that was a feature of the software. I know it scans individual receipts and keeps transaction data like that but I’m pretty sure it is limited to one line of transaction data per scanned item. So, you’ll either have to scan receipts or scan multiple copies of the credit card statement to get the desired result unless someone else knows a trick I’m not aware of.

  21. I would like to be able to scan or upload my credit card statement and scan the receipts in for that month. Does the software match the receipts to the statement? I hate doing this manually and I can ‘t find the answer anywhere else. Do you use the scanner for this and if so, how well does it work?

    • You can scan the receipts and credit card statements but I don’t think it will match them up. If you want to make a separate folder for each statement and its corresponding receipts you could do that, however you’d have to manually decide which receipts to scan to which statement folder.

  22. Thanks for putting together the articles on this product. I too got sucked in by advertising a few yrs ago, & last month came to the decision that I’d go ahead and get the portable…even though loading a stack in that big tray would be nice, cost wins out. And yes I’m just basically paying for what looks like a really good software system, because, everyone sells a scanner wand. I personally think, it’s good to have the scanner that pulls the paper thru ro get a good image, but if they offered a wand also, maybe $20 more… They’re not expensive… Then you could scan all sizes. That’s a potential problem I see.

    Thanks,
    Kelly

  23. Maryann says:

    I am deciding whether to purchase this or not. I have a home business and I have a multitude of receipts for office supplies, inventory, utilities, medical bills, etc. associated with my business which is a huge task at tax time. Does this software tally up the receipts in each specified category folder making it cost and time effective to present to my accountant or do I have to add everything up manually?

    • When you scan each receipt, you will need to choose which category you want the receipt to go in. If you do this, then the software will add it all up for you on a report on the end of the year. If you don’t, you’ll have to go back and categorize each receipt in order for the report to be useful.

Share Your Thoughts

*