Cash back apps enable money back on purchased items and even additional discounts. If acquiring points is preferred, many apps offer collecting points as an option for use on purchases later, a favorite among those who use points during the holiday gifting season. With increased food and gas prices across the country, the desire to save on items we regularly purchase is rising.
You’re likely wondering how this all works and if these services are legitimate. Rest assured, they are, and here’s how.
- Affiliate Marketing: The app sends users to stores such as Macy’s to make a purchase. Macy’s makes the sale, the app gets a percentage of the profit, and the purchaser receives a cut for using the app.
- Data Tracking: Each site uses browser cookies to track and confirm purchases, which is necessary to provide the rebate accurately. Each cash back service uses this data differently, and most reserve the right to aggregate, share, or sell data.
Most of your browsing and purchase activity is already tracked by digital sites, Amazon and Google being two big ones. If this concerns you and you’d prefer to keep your online activities private, a cash back app may not be for you. Keep reading if you’re interested in saving money while continuing to shop like you already do.
- Ibotta: An easy-to-use scanner app, Ibotta helps users find deals and earn actual cash back at over 300 stores, including national stores like Walmart, Target, and Costco, and regional chains like Kroger, Aldi, and Wegmans. The app even works beyond groceries with savings at pharmacies, liquor stores, retail shops, and travel.
- Fetch: Users upload digital and paper receipts to earn digital gift cards and cash back. Easy to use, this app accepts receipts from grocery stores and beyond, including convenience stores, drugstores, big-box retailers, and department stores. Once the receipt is submitted, users earn a minimum of 25 points, and every 1,000 points equals $1 in rewards.
- Upside: The best app for the most gas savings, this U.S.-based company lets you earn up to 25 cents off per gallon directly at the pump. Upon downloading the app, search for participating gas stations. Fill your tank and submit your receipt within 4 hours to earn cash back.
- GasBuddy: View a map of gas stations and even search more specifically by price, distance, fuel type, and payment options. Link your credit or bank card to the “Pay with GasBuddy” option for additional savings. GasBuddy is known to collect a large amount of data, and managing your privacy is strongly recommended.
- Rakuten (formerly Ebates): This is one of the original cash back services. It is a favorite of many users because it is simple to use and works by shopping in-store or online with participating retailers. It also has a browser plug-in that allows purchase tracking without going through the Rakuten site. Upon checkout, the app will apply any relevant coupon codes before payment, saving additional dollars. Rakuten sends a “big fat check” via mail or PayPal quarterly.
- Dosh: Another simple shopping app that invites you to link your credit card and rewards you for purchases among their vast number of partners within online stores, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and more. Once you accumulate $25, your cash can be transferred to your bank, Venmo, or Paypal account. There’s even an option to donate your cash back to charity.
Each app has a different process to verify purchases, so try a few out and find the one that works best for you. Make sure you take advantage of any sign-up bonuses which most of these apps offer. After joining, invite your friends and family to earn generous referral bonuses. Every app is available in the iOS app store and through the Google Play store for Android devices.