July 27, 2020

Best Apps for Cash Back and Rewards

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Cashback apps make your hard-earned money go even further. Learn which apps earn the most (and least), plus how to optimize almost every purchase you make.

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Shopping is always a little bittersweet.

You're glad to get some groceries or new shoes, but sad to see your hard-earned cash slip away.

Luckily, it doesn't have to feel like that.

With cashback apps, some of the money you spend returns to your bank account. Before long, you've passively earned enough to pay some bills or fill your gas tank.

In this guide, learn which cashback apps are worth your time, which pay immediately, and how to spot a scam.

Best Cashback Apps Worth Downloading

  1. Rakuten - $10 sign-up bonus
  2. Wikibuy - automatic coupons
  3. MyPoints - up to 40% cashback
  4. Ibotta - $20 welcome bonus
  5. TopCashBack - 100% cashback commission
  6. Coupons.com - cashback and coupons
  7. Honey - instant discounts
  8. Upromise - pay off student debt
  9. Dosh - direct rewards to your card
  10. SavingStar - hassle-free rebates
  11. Shopkick - cashback for easy tasks
  12. Paribus - retroactive refunds
  13. Drop - the modern loyalty card
  14. BeFrugal - up to 40% back from 5,000+ stores
  15. ReceiptPal - cash in on receipts
  16. Coin Out - instant cashback anywhere
  17. Pei - earn Bitcoins
  18. Fetch - restriction-free rewards
  19. Freebird - rideshare rewards
  20. ReceiptHog - rewards to scan receipts
  21. Mobee - mystery shopping money
  22. Belly - unique and exclusive rewards
  23. Checkout 51 - grocery store rewards
  24. Cosign - social media commissions

1. Rakuten: $10 Sign-up Bonus

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Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is one of the big players when it comes to cashback apps, and it's easy to see why it's so popular. Instead of paying out in gift cards or other rewards, you get actual cash back in your bank account every single quarter.

Signing up only takes a few seconds, and then you can access deals at more than 2,500 online stores. You don't have to worry about points, coupons, or forms.

As long as you follow the links within Rakuten, you'll automatically earn the posted cashback for your purchase. The cashback comes via check or PayPal payment every quarter.

  • What you earn: Up to 40% cashback per purchase, totaled and paid quarterly
  • Cash-out: PayPal or check

    Rakuten: $10 Welcome Bonus

    Sign up and receive $10 Walmart Gift Card or $10 Rakuten cash bonus as a welcome gift.

2. Wikibuy: Automatic Coupons

Whether you're shopping online or in-store, Wikibuy can help you save money. They search for available coupon codes or discounts from major retailers and even notify you when an item drops in price.

Wikibuy is 100% free to use and removes the hassle of deal searching before you shop. Just for using Wikibuy, you'll automatically earn credits that you can use to shop online (that's essentially free money).

  • What you earn: Between 1% and 12%, depending on the store
  • Cash-out: Direct to debit or credit cards, gift cards

3. MyPoints: Up to 40% Cashback

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In addition to their high-earning surveys, MyPoints' cashback program is a great way to stack your earnings (up to 40% back from stores like Target, Old Navy, and more). We'll be honest—even high-end credit cards rarely pay that much.

With over $230M paid out to date and 10 million active members, MyPoints also offers an impressive $10 welcome bonus to get you up and running.

  • What you earn: Between 1% and 40% cashback
  • Cash-out: PayPal, gift cards

More ways to earn cash with MyPoints
  • Take surveys
  • Print coupons
  • Watch videos
  • Buy local deals from Groupon
  • Read emails
  • Play games
  • Refer friends

4. Ibotta: Get a $20 Welcome Bonus

Ibotta is a true one-stop shop for rewards. You can:

  1. Earn cashback for shopping
  2. Get paid for scanning receipts
  3. Save with automatic discounts
  4. Connect your existing loyalty accounts

Best of all, you can take advantage of these perks and rewards whether you're shopping in-store or online. With more than 300 partnered retailers, you can likely save at your favorite businesses.

There are no points to track. You earn real cash for every qualified purchase and can withdraw your earnings once you earn $20.

  • What you earn: Up to 10% cashback and $30 average in monthly savings
  • Cash-out: PayPal, gift cards

5. TopCashBack: Get 100% Commission Cashback

TopCashBack sets themselves apart by claiming to give you 100% of the cashback commission earned for your purchase (and taking none for themselves). But how is it possible?

TopCashBack earns most their money from ads and sponsored links, so the cashback generated is all yours. Simply use their app or browser extension and earn 100% commission on purchases from over 4,000 retailers.

  • What you earn: 100% of the cashback commission
  • Cash-out: PayPal, Amazon credit, gift cards

6. Coupons.com: Cashback and Coupons All-in-One

With a name like "Coupons.com," you may think you have this site figured out. But they offer much more than just printable and digital coupons.

With their mobile app, you can also earn cashback rebates for shopping at your favorite stores. Just browse their collection of offers and choose which ones you want to use. Another plus: there's no point minimum needed to cash out.

  • What you earn: 1% to 10% cashback
  • Cash-out: PayPal

7. Honey: Never Pay Full Price

Honey is a browser extension that automatically checks over 30,000 online stores for coupon codes (even e-commerce giants like Amazon). Honey's price history tool also helps you avoid overspending on frequently discounted items.

  • What you earn: Up to 20% cashback
  • Cash-out: Gift cards

8. Upromise: Offset Your Student Loans

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Upromise is especially unique among the apps on this list. Get this: You can have your earnings put into a high-yield savings account, a 529 college savings account, or even toward your existing student debt balance. Why? Because Upromise is a subsidiary of student loan provider Sallie Mae.

In general, Upromise works similarly to most cashback apps. Sign up for an account, earn cashback when shopping with partnering merchants and restaurants, and choose how you'd like to receive your rewards.

  • What you earn: Between 1% and 5% cashback
  • Cash-out: Direct to card or savings account

9. Dosh: Earn Cash on Debit or Credit Cards

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Dosh pretty much revolutionized the process for cashback apps. Rather than requiring uploaded receipts, you link your debit or credit card directly to the Dosh app.

Every time you shop at a qualifying store or restaurant with your linked card, you'll automatically earn cashback. There's no effort required on your part.

  • What you earn: Up to 40% cashback (but usually around 5%)
  • Cash-out: PayPal, direct to card

10. SavingStar: Hassle-fee Grocery Rebates

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SavingStar promises stress-free grocery rebates—no clipping, printing, or mailing required. They offer rewards for shopping with over 70,000 retailers, including Target, CVS Pharmacy, and Kroger.

SavingStar organizes their offers into three categories:

  1. Healthy Offers help you save on produce
  2. One or Many Offers you earn by meeting a spending goal at one or multiple stores
  3. Always On Programs that are continuous, automatic savings that you earn with each purchase

  • What you earn: 100% of the cashback commission
  • Cash-out: Direct to bank account, PayPal

11. Shopkick: Earn for In-store Tasks

Shopkick rewards your shopping habits with gift cards. You shop in-store or online and earn "kicks," or points.

Turn your "kicks" into gift cards from major stores and restaurants, including Target, Amazon, Starbucks, and Groupon. Shopkick offers "kicks" for a variety of tasks, including shopping, walking into stores, scanning certain products, and watching videos.

  • What you earn: 5-100 "kicks" (250 kicks = $1)
  • Cash-out: Gift cards

12. Paribus - Score Retroactive Refunds

Paribus earns you cash back in a creative way:

The app identifies your recent purchases based on order confirmation emails found in your inbox.

If something you bought dropped in price by at least $3, they file a claim with retailers to request a refund on your behalf.

Once the retailer confirms a price adjustment, your refund is typically issued within 3 - 7 business days to the account used to make the original purchase.

  • What you earn: 100% of the difference in price (between what you bought something for and what it later dropped to)
  • Cash-out: Refunds are issued directly to the card you originally bought the item on

13. Drop: Rethink Your Loyalty Cards

Think of Drop as the replacement for all the store loyalty cards taking up space in your wallet. Start by downloading the app, linking your most-used debit or credit card, and choosing your top 5 favorite brands.

Every time you purchase something from your top brands with your linked card, points are added to your Drop account. Once you earn 5,000 points, you can cash out for gift cards at your favorite stores.

  • What you earn: Usually between 1% and 2% cashback
  • Cash-out: Gift cards only

If you usually shop on your laptop, don't forget to download Drop's browser extension for Google Chrome. It gives you all the same cashback deals, automatically earned every time you shop online.

14. BeFrugal - 40% back from 5,000+ stores

BeFrugal is a big player in the cashback game. Working with over 5,000 stores, they aim to get you cash back for most of your purchases.

Just how much can they get you? Up to a staggering 40%.

Their browser extension also makes it easy to save when shopping online. Instead of manually checking BeFrugal for offers, their browser extension automatically reminds you to apply their offer.

  • What you earn: As much as 40% back
  • Cash-out: Direct to bank account, check, PayPal, gift card

15. ReceiptPal: Cash in Receipts for Gift Cards

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ReceiptPal gives you another opportunity to cash in with your receipts. Just download the app, snap a photo of your receipts, and earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards.

Before you download ReceiptPal, just be aware that not all receipts are accepted by the app. Receipts must be for consumer goods (not services or bills) and must only be your own.

  • What you'll earn: Up to 100 "points" per receipt, 350 points required for a $1 Amazon gift card
  • Cash-out: Gift cards

16. Coin Out: Instant Cashback from Any Store

Fan of the show "Shark Tank"? You may recognize this app. Coin Out impressively offers instant cashback—no minimums required. Plus, all retailers are accepted, which is almost unheard of in the world of cashback apps.

If you're shopping in-store, you can earn by snapping a photo of your receipt. If you're shopping online, you'll earn by buying through the Coin Out app, which works with major retailers like Walmart, eBay, Groupon, and more.

  • What you earn: $0.01 - $0.07 per receipt scanned
  • Cash-out: Direct to bank account, PayPal, gift cards

17. Pei: Shop & Earn Bitcoin

Pei stands out from the crowd by offering cashback in the form of Bitcoin (but you can opt for plain old cash too). Just link your cards to your Pei account and earn rewards for shopping with Pei's merchant partners.

With added perks like increasing rewards for loyalty, bonus earning boosts, and a generous referral program, Pei is a valuable cashback tool to have at your disposal.

  • What you earn: Between 1 and 20% cashback, depending on the store
  • Cash-out: Bitcoin, direct to card

18. Fetch: Restriction-free Rewards

Unlike other grocery saving apps, Fetch helps you earn free money without the restrictions. It's easy: Submit a photo of your receipt and earn points for every item you bought from more than 250 brands.

You can redeem your points for gift cards with stores like Gap, Amazon, Best Buy, and so much more. A nice bonus is that the app sorts your spending, so it's an easy way to keep track of how much you spend at each location.

  • What you earn: $0.25 - $2 cashback
  • Cash-out: Gift cards to stores, Visa or MasterCard gift cards

Best Cashback Apps for Groceries
  1. Fetch
  2. Ibotta
  3. Checkout 51
  4. Saving Star
  5. Coupons.com

19. Freebird: Earn for Using Rideshares

Think about it: Most cashback apps give you points or money for products you buy. But why should the cash you spend on Uber or Lyft be any different? That's where Freebird comes in.

Book your next Uber or Lyft ride through the Freebird app and earn cashback for each ride. You can earn even more by taking the ride to restaurants and businesses that partner with Freebird. That's money in your pocket, before your even get to your destination.

  • What you earn: $1 - $10 cashback per ride
  • Cash-out: Direct to card only

20. Receipt Hog: Earn for Scanning Receipts

If you usually toss your receipts, here's a good reason to stop: Receipt Hog will pay you to scan receipts with their iOS or Android app. Each receipt earns a number of "coins" depending on how much the purchase was. For example, $100 would earn you 20 coins.

Once you've earned 1,000 coins, you can cash out for $5, but it's best to save up for more. If you've earned 4,500 coins, you can cash out for $30.

  • What you earn: 5-20 "coins" per receipt (1,000 coins = $5 cash out)
  • Cash-out: PayPal, Amazon credit, Visa e-gift card

21. Mobee: Mystery Shop for Money

Earn cash with Mobee by shopping at your favorite stores and restaurants. Download the app to receive "mystery shopper" assignments, which can include buying a cup of coffee, trying a new product, and more.

After you complete an assignment, answer a few questions about your experience. When your feedback is approved, Mobee adds points to your balance, which you can cash out for PayPal and retail gift cards.

  • What you earn: Average 10% cashback
  • Cash-out: PayPal, gift cards

22. Belly: Unique Rewards from Local Shops

Belly is a virtual loyalty program that helps businesses engage and retain their loyal customers. To do this, they give customers the chance to win exclusive rewards specifically from the businesses they love (for example: a free personal training session from your local gym).

All you have to do is "check in" via the app when you visit the business. Just make sure they have a loyalty program with Belly first. Luckily, Belly partners with nearly 9,000 local businesses in 2,500 different cities.

  • What you earn: Custom rewards per shop (varying from free food to discounted services)
  • Cash-out: In-app rewards

The odd origins of Belly's name: Belly began as a loyalty program specifically for a Chicago-based comic bookstore. A potential reward of the loyalty program was the chance to punch the bookstore owner in the belly. The rest is history.

23. Checkout 51: Rewards for Grocery Shopping

Checkout 51 works like a digital coupon for your grocery shopping. Certain brands pay the platform to promote their products. If you buy those products and upload your receipt, you earn cashback (a portion of what the brand paid Checkout 51).

Once you've spent at least $20 on groceries with Checkout 51, you'll be able to cash out. Unfortunately, the only way to receive your reward is with a mailed check.

  • What you earn: Between 1% to 10%
  • Cash-out: Mailed check only

24. Cosign: Earn Rewards from Social Media

Calling all social media mavens: Cosign is the cashback app specifically for influencers. Simply tag products in your posts and earn rewards if your followers buy the product through your link.

The more people use your product links to buy, the more you'll earn. The app may not be for everyone, but it's a great option for those who have a modest Instagram business and are looking to maximize their earnings.

  • What you earn: 10% - 50% commission on followers' sales

Cashback Apps & Beyond: How to Spot a Scam

Before you start collecting cashback, there are a few need-to-know tips that will help you avoid sketchy apps.

Here's what you can do:

  1. Research the app developer. App developers have their own website. Take some time to pull it up and poke around. Has the developer been around a while? Have they made any other apps?

  2. Check the reviews. This one is probably a no-brainer, but it's always important. Check multiple sites, including the app store reviews, to see how well-received it is. Remember to look at the earliest reviews and the most recent.

  3. Examine app screenshots. People who create scam apps are usually in a hurry to slap something together. Keep a sharp eye out for app screenshots that look Photoshopped or tampered with.

  4. Look for a Privacy Policy. You'll probably have to visit the developer's site for this. Use CTRL+F to search phrases like "personal information" or "you hereby grant." This may reveal how much data they want from you to sell to others.

  5. Do you understand what the app does?. This should go without saying, but do you have a clear idea of how the app works? Scammy apps will intentionally keep things vague, so if you can't pinpoint the essential info, it's probably not a good sign.

Bottom Line

It may sound too good to be true, but you really can make money by using cashback apps. Pick a few to try out and determine if they work well with your spending habits. And don't be afraid to use multiple apps at the same time!

Using cashback apps may be one of the easiest ways to earn a little bit of passive income. It won't be enough to replace a regular income, but it's a great way to earn a nice chunk of change with purchases you already make.

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