Cashback Apps: What You Need To Know

In today’s ever-volatile market, who isn’t looking for more ways to save? While you shouldn’t discount traditional savings methods, such as the 50/30/20 rule, it doesn’t hurt to compliment your efforts with more innovative and easier ways to save, such as through cashback apps. By using cashback apps, you can earn money, rewards points and other goodies simply by making everyday purchases. Though not a big money-play, the strategy is simple to implement and relatively passive, making it one you would be unwise not to add to your money-saving arsenal.

What Are Cashback Apps?

Not to be confused with a coupon app, which allows you to save money before you pay, cashback apps help you earn cash rewards — either in the form of actual cash, paper checks, store credit or gift cards — after you make a purchase. Essentially, cashback apps issue rebates for everyday purchases. Some cashback apps are geared toward online purchases, while others cater to in-store shoppers. Some let you earn rewards and cashback both online and off.

To use a cashback app, you would download the app, create an account and locate participating stores and brands. Then, after you shop, take a picture of your receipt and/or scan an item’s barcode to claim your rewards.

If the app offers rewards for online purchases, earning rewards is even easier. Simply open a brand’s website directly through the app or web browser and shop through that particular portal.

What Are Some Big Players on the Market?

There are dozens of cashback apps on the market today, each of varying degrees of reputability. It’s important that you shop only through those with positive user reviews and high BBB ratings; otherwise, you risk falling victim to an identity theft scam. Some of the top-rated cashback apps available on both Android and iOS are as follows:

  • Fetch Rewards
  • Ibotta
  • Dosh
  • Checkout51
  • Shopkick
  • Saving Star
  • GetUpside

Before downloading any one app and inputting your information, do your research. In addition to considering reputability, also consider categories of spending. For instance, GetUpside is great for earning rebates on gas and restaurant purchases. Likewise, Dosh offers promotions for hotel purchases, and Saving Star is great if you frequent the Dollar General, Safeway or CVS.

Red Flags To Avoid

Before signing up for a cashback app, it’s important to understand how the host makes money. Reputable cashback apps earn a small commission off purchases you make because of or through the app. Not-so-great companies, however, earn money by selling your information to retailers. You can avoid having your information sold by simply reading the fine print before enrolling in a program.

So, what’s a red flag that an app is not all it’s cracked up to be? Poor user ratings, too-good-to-be-true offers, membership fees and no clear payment method.

Tips for Maximizing Your Cashback Rewards

Once you identify the one or a couple of cashback apps you want to use, you can start earning. To make the most of your efforts, keep the following in mind:

  • Read the fine print on offers, as several offer cashback only on bulk purchases.
  • Price shop to ensure that you are getting the best discount even with the cashback deal.
  • Write your shopping list before browsing offers; that way, you’re not tempted to purchase items you don’t need simply to “snag a deal.”
  • Learn how to deal stack with coupons and offers from your cashback app.

Cashback apps can help you earn money on everyday purchases. Though the rebates may seem small at first, over time, they can amount to significant savings on items you need to purchase anyway.