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If you’re looking for the best cash-back apps for shopping to save more money, look no further.
We hear about new personal finance tools all the time, from cash-back apps like Ibotta to tools that automate your savings.
In fact, over the last several years, dozens of new cash-back apps for shopping have popped up, making it difficult to determine which ones are the best and give you the most money back.
To help you out, we tested several of them. Here are our nine favorites cash-back apps.
9 Best Cash-Back Apps We Actually Use to Save Money
Here are the free apps we love and use to save money on groceries, clothes, and everything in between.
DollarSprout co-founder Jeff Proctor has been a fan of Rakuten (formerly Ebates) since he started using it a couple years ago.
The reason I love it so much is because of its simplicity — you don’t have to do anything different, just shop and earn cash back. The shear number of merchants available through Rakuten means I’m almost guaranteed to find a good deal each time I shop.
With over 2,000 stores to choose from, that doesn’t come as much of a surprise. To date, Rakuten has paid its members over $1 billion in cash back. Rakuten shoppers get paid via check or PayPal.
You can shop directly through Rakuten by visiting the website and choosing your store.
You can also install the Rakuten Cash Back extension for your browser or download the app (available for iOS and Android). “I can be forgetful, but the Rakuten extension always reminds me to activate my cash back before checking out. That way I never miss out,” Jeff says.
In addition to shopping online, you can also earn money with Rakuten by referring new members. To do so, simply obtain a personalize referral link to send to friends and family members who aren’t using Rakuten to save on their shopping.
Related: Rakuten Review 2020
Swagbucks is the original cash-back app. They have an A-rating with the Better Business Bureau, 13 years worth of positive testimonials, and, to date, have paid members over $297 million in rewards.
We cover all the details of how the platform works in our full Swagbucks review, but the premise is simple: complete easy tasks, earn rewards.
You can earn points (aka Swagbucks) by watching videos, taking surveys, shopping online, playing games, buying gift cards, and using their search engine to browse the web. Once you earn $5 worth of Swagbucks, you can cash out via PayPal or redeem your points for gift cards to your favorite retailers.
Sign up for Swagbucks to earn your first $10 today.
More Cash-Back and Rewards Apps
If these cash-back apps don’t sound like they’re for you, don’t worry. There are still plenty to choose from. And remember that you can use more than one to maximize your savings and cash back.
If you want to earn rewards but don’t want to spend money doing it, then Shopkick is the app for you. Shopkick points are called kicks. You can earn kicks by:
- Walking into stores
- Scanning barcodes of specific products
- Shopping with a linked card
- Submitting your purchase receipts
- Visiting online stores
- Viewing products online
- Shopping online
- Watching videos
Redeem your kicks for free gift cards to your favorite stores, like Target, Starbucks, Sephora, and Amazon.
Bonus: Get a free $5 if you sign up with code DS5 and make an in-store scan within 7 days of installing the app.
One of the best cash-back apps for groceries is Ibotta. Since its launch in 2012, Ibotta has had nearly 22 million downloads and paid over $200 million dollars in cash back to its users.
Co-founder of DollarSprout, Ben Huber, says Ibotta is his “#1 resource for saving money on groceries.”
I haven’t talked to a lot of guys who use Ibotta, and I have no idea why. I spend five minutes searching for deals on my phone before heading to the grocery store and regularly save $20-50 a month just shopping for myself.
There are three ways to earn cash back with Ibotta:
- Scan your receipts after shopping
- Link your store loyalty card and let them do the rest
- Shop through one of their mobile partners’ apps
Keep in mind that each method requires you to choose your deals before you go shopping. To do this, you’ll need to download and search for the store where you plan to shop. Then browse the available deals and select the ones you want to redeem. It’s important to take this step; if you don’t, you won’t be able to redeem your rebates.
Once you earn $20, you can cash out via PayPal, Venmo, or a gift card to your favorite store. And just like Rakuten, you can earn additional cash rewards by referring friends and family who also want to save money.
You can read our full Ibotta review here.
MyPoints is similar to Swagbucks. They’ve been around since 1996 and have paid out over $236 million in gift cards and PayPal cash.
You can earn rewards by shopping online, watching videos, taking surveys, playing games, and reading the MyPoints emails. Cash out for gift cards to Amazon or 75+ other retailers.
MyPoints offers a $10 sign-up bonus to new members. However, it’s not a completely free $10. You still have to make a purchase of $20 or more through the MyPoints site or email offers within 30 days of signing up in order to qualify.
Since its release in late 2017, Dosh has been making a big move in the world of cash-back apps.
There’s minimal effort involved to earn rewards with Dosh. Just download the app and link your credit or debit card. You’ll automatically earn up to 10% cash back when you shop with participating merchants, including Walmart, Target, Nike, Walgreens, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and hundreds more.
Most other cash-back apps require at least a little work like scanning receipts and choosing deals. But with Dosh, all you need to do is sign up and shop.
They even offer a $5 bonus when you link your credit or debit card to the app for the first time. Dosh takes security seriously so you can confidently link your card without worrying that your information will be compromised.
You can earn cash by shopping online, in stores, or referring friends and family. For the full rundown on this cash-back app, check out our complete Dosh review.
Drop is a free app that rewards you for your everyday spending. The way it works is simple.
To get started, you’ll need to download the app and create an account. From there, link a debit or credit card to start earning rewards. Whenever you shop with one of Drop’s hundreds of partner brands, you’ll earn points.
In addition to the points you earn for shopping, you can earn more rewards for referring friends (worth 1,000 points each), integrating other apps, completing Linked or Mobile offers, and more.
Every 1,000 points is worth $1. Once you reach 5,000 points, you can redeem them for gift cards to your favorite retailers, including Amazon, Starbucks, and Target just to name a few.
For more details on how Drop works and the pros and cons of this cash back app, check out our complete Drop App review.
8. Checkout 51
If you’ve used Ibotta, then Checkout 51 will be easy for you to use as well. The two apps are similar in function: download the free app, browse offers and shop, then scan your receipts to get cash back.
The biggest difference is that with Checkout 51, you don’t have to claim offers at a specific store. You can shop wherever you want and still get rewarded for it.
Checkout 51 updates their offers once a week on Thursday mornings. Although you may not find as many options as you would with other apps, they, like SavingStar, do offer deals on produce, which is pretty uncommon.
Once you scan your receipt, you’ll receive cash-back credit to your account. Rack up $20 in cash back and you can request your savings via check.
SavingStar is another grocery rebate app. What makes this one different is that you’ll find rebates on produce, and you can also get rewards for reaching a spending limit.
Most major supermarkets partner with SavingStar, but how you get your rebates varies from store to store. At some stores you’ll need to connect your store loyalty card to redeem offers while others require you to submit a picture of your receipt and submit it via the app or website.
You can select your rebates via the app or the website.
With SavingStar, you need $5 in your account to redeem your savings. They allow you to receive payment through PayPal, a personal bank account, or donate your savings to a charitable cause.
How to Find the Best Cash-Back App for You
The best cash-back apps for you obviously depend on where you shop, how often you shop, and your preferences for earning rewards. But the best way to find your favorite cash-back app?
Try them all.
Each of these tools offers a different experience, so don’t be afraid to sign up for more than one. You may find that certain apps have better deals on the products you normally buy, or that some of them require more effort than you prefer.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing your favorite: the best cash-back app should make your life easier and reward you for things you already do. The less effort you have to put in, the higher return on your time investment.
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The opportunities for personal shoppers will only continue to grow as it becomes more convenient to connect shoppers with customers. If you love shopping and want to make money doing it, you can shop for other people or work as a mystery shopper.