I first heard about cashback apps in college. But the technology, from what it is to how it works, made little sense at the time.
As I continued to learn more about the apps, testing them in real-time, and getting the most of the more reliable options, the only regret I have is not having tried them sooner than I probably should have.
Nowadays I use cash back apps almost every week. And while they aren’t a big-money play, they’ve enabled me to develop a money-saving mentality already.
Today I’ll share with you some of the best cashback apps that I’ve actually used and benefited from. Whether you plan to use them once or you’d rather incorporate them into your savings plan, you’ll find the list I’ve highlighted below quite handy.
But first things first …
What is a Cash Back App Exactly?
Before we look at the best cash back apps that you can use in 2021, I just want to make sure you understand what the app is first, how it works, and how to use it.
In general, a cash back app is a mobile platform built to save you money every time you do shopping. You earn discounts, rebates, and points, which you can use to make future purchases.
To be clear:
You aren’t going to save a lot of money with a cashback. But a dollar off a purchase is better than nothing is at all.
Depending on how many times you shop per month, you can save as much as $1500 a year with cashback apps alone. And that isn’t little money; it’s enough to do more shopping as you continue to amass even more discounts, points, and rebates from online stores that offer them.
How Do Cash Back Apps Work?
I’m a fan of cash back apps for two reasons
- They’re easy to use and
- One easily benefits from them quite a lot.
With the case of technology, you don’t do your shopping directly from a shop or online store. Instead, you access the store via the cash back app that you choose.
More often than not, cash bank apps have links to products from a huge selection of physical goods and digital products. When you shop via a cash back app, you’ll get two things:
- The products you buy: these come directly from the manufacturer
- A percentage of your total spending: these come via the third-party apps
But how exactly do you use the app and get the most out of it? It’s simple and straightforward.
Let me explain:
First, choose a platform to use and then download their app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store, depending on the type of smartphone you use.
Second, navigate to the product catalog of the app to see the items on sale. Find the product that you’d like to buy, click the link to the product to go to the vendor’s site, complete your purchase, and earn a percentage of the total amount of money spent.
List of Top Cash Back Apps
The following is a list of the best cash back apps that can save you money in 2020 and beyond. Read along, download them, and start earning a part of your money back every time you shop.
Ibotta is one of the most popular cash back app on the web. It boasts of 1000+ participating retailers, not to mention it has helped customers earn $797M in cash back.
One thing that makes Ibotta stand out is its versatility. Unlike platforms that give you a part of your cash back for shopping only online, Ibotta rewards you whether you shop in person, online, or when traveling.
This app doesn’t give you promotional codes, and there are no coupons to track. Once you download and install it, search for and buy the products you like, upload a photo of the receipt of the purchase to earn your cash.
Sometimes users have to watch videos to unlock some discounts, but some people will find this very annoying, to say the least.
2. Fetch Rewards
There’s no doubt Fetch Reward is climbing up the competition ladder in the cash back promotion space. With more than 5 million installs, there’s no doubt an app like this is closing a tight gap on a service like Ibotta, especially on groceries.
Like Ibotta, this service doesn’t offer promotional codes or coupons to track. Instead, you find an offer you like via the app, buy the groceries, snap and upload a receipt of the purchase, and you earn reward points.
Fetch Rewards doesn’t send you cash. Instead, it lets you earn points that you can redeem for gift cards on big stores like Amazon and Walmart.
While the app is easy to use, it would have been even better if it didn’t have the 14-day limit for check submission.
Dosh gives you a platform you can use to get automatic cash back at hundreds of different places. With the partnership with big brands like Walmart and ASOS, and boasting of over a million users, Dosh continues to grow into a reliable and professional platform that you can trust.
You’ll love the Dosh mobile app because it’s easy to set up and use. All you have to do is to download the app, create an account, link the card you’d like to use to do your shopping, and start spending.
Here’s what’s interesting about Dosh:
You can use the app to see local retailers and restaurants that have collaborated to do business with the brand. Every time you make a purchase from these retailers via the app, Dosh will give you some cash back.
4. My Points
My Points is all about earning points by shopping at your favorite online store. They have partnership with big brands such as Home Depot, Target, eBay, Walmart, Amazon, and Old Navy.
With My Points app, you can get up to 40% return rate on the total amount of money you spend shopping online.
Like Swagbucks, My Points rewards you with points every time you shop online via the app. You can redeem the points as gift cards on popular online stores mentioned above, or you can convert the points to credit to your PayPal account.
Becoming a member of My Points is easy and straightforward, and you don’t have to pay a registration fee to join the family. Plus, you get a $10 signup bonus when you register a new account.
Swagbucks is one of the oldest platforms that reward you for watching videos, shopping online, and completing survey questions. Founded in 2008, this 13-year-old platform steams with members every month, so it’s a good platform to join if you want to earn some of your cashback.
While Swagbucks mostly allows you to convert your points to gift cards, which you can redeem on big eCommerce stores like Amazon, Sephora, and Walmart, you can also convert the points to PayPal credits.
One thing I love about Swagbucks is the tips they provide to help you get the most out of the platform. So if you’re new to the app, read this guide to learn how to get the most out of the platform.
Isn’t it cool that you can shop from the brands you love and get a reward for doing so? That’s exactly what you can do with Drop app.
Just like Dosh, Drop requires you to link your credit card so you can earn points that you can redeem as a gift card the next time you want to do some shopping. You start using the app by picking your first five stores, and you can easily access other stores if you want to.
With drop of 1000 points are equal to $1 worth of goods. And while that isn’t a lot of money per se, it’s still something you earn back from the money you’ve already spent.
Rakuten is as old as I can possibly remember, and it’s actually a branded version of Ebates. Refined in design and easy to use for that matter, the Rakuten platform gives you the opportunity to earn cash returns when you shop at any of your favorite stores.
Rakuten offers you around up to 5% cash back for every purchase you make online via the platform. That isn’t a ton of money you’re getting, but you can be sure that it’s better than no cash return at all.
Sometimes you can get a higher return on purchase depending on your choice of the store or the time of the year.
I’ve been interacting with Pei for about two months and my thought is that it works exactly like Drop and Dosh. That means all you have to do is to link your credit card, start shopping, and you’ll earn a certain percentage of the money you spend at stores and restaurants. You can download the app by clicking here.
9. Honey and WikiBuy
Honey and Wiki is also an interesting platform to use if you want to earn some cash back from shopping at your favorite stores. The primary goal of these two Chrome browser extensions is to make sure you pay the lowest amount of money possible when shopping online.
Note that Honey and WikiBuy work almost the same way. And they both have mobile apps that you can download for both iOS and Android Smartphones.
If you’re interested in a better way to save some cash by shopping at your favorite brands you should consider using Coupons. This platform gives you the opportunity to get and use cash back offers at any store that provides customers with itemized receipts.
Two Things Before You Use a Cash Back App
The concept of a cashback app looks great so far. You download an app, sign up for an account, buy products from your preferred vendor via the app, and you earn a percentage of the sale.
All that sounds great, or doesn’t it?
But as with everything else under the sun that comes with an offer attached to it, the devil is always in the details.
In other words:
There are terms and conditions to using and benefiting from cash back apps.
First, you don’t automatically qualify for cash back simply because you’ve used a cash back app to do your shopping online.
Not to be confused with scam apps, cash back platforms require you to spend a certain amount of money on qualifying purchases to earn. That means you can only earn from the platform once you make enough purchases.
This brings me to the next point:
Before you start using a cash back app to do your online shopping, find out what their qualifying purchase and judge for yourself if you can meet the threshold. If an app doesn’t have qualifying purchase terms that suit you, simply find one that does.
Second, don’t overlook how much you’ll get at the time of purchase. At the end of the day, the rate of return is important as it helps you to know beforehand how much you’ll get back after spending a certain amount of money.
In my opinion, there are two reasons why it’s important to look at the return rate before spending your money via a cash back app:
- It enables you to know if the purchase qualifies for a cash reward
- You get the option to decide if making a purchase via the app would even be worth it in the first place
Nothing is as exciting as being able to get a part of your money back after shopping online or in person, however small the amount is. It’s a great feeling if you ask me.
To be clear, you aren’t going to save a lot on your shopping overnight. However, the more you use these cash back apps, the higher your chances of saving a lot of money for your future shopping.