Upromise Review: Is This College Savings Rewards Program Right for You?

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Quick Take: Upromise is a rewards platform designed to help parents save for their child's college education. As you earn rewards, these will be automatically sent to a linked 529, checking or savings account to help you save for your child's future. 
  • Rewards
    4.0
  • Ease of Use
    4.0
  • Customer Satisfaction
    4.4
  • Savings Options
    5.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Free way to earn rewards
  • Earn rewards for your child's education
  • Scholarship opportunities available

Cons

  • Must link a 529, checking or savings account
  • Might earn more cash back through a cash-back credit card

Upromise Overview

Originally launched in 2000, Upromise has a self-stated mission of helping families save for college. In the last 22 years, the platform has awarded over $1 billion in rewards to parents saving for their child’s college education.

The premise is simple and starts with signing up for a Upromise account. From there, you have the option to link debit cards and credit cards. As you use these linked cards or shop online through your Upromise account, you’ll earn cash-back rewards. Each month, these rewards are deposited into a linked account that you’ve designated as your child’s college savings.

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Key Features

Rising college costs make any new opportunity to save especially enticing. Here’s a closer look at the key features of Upromise.

Rewards

When you work with Upromise, you can turn most expenses into an opportunity to build college savings. You’ll earn cash back for shopping online, buying groceries, dining out, and making any purchases with a Upromise Mastercard. Importantly, you won’t need a Upromise Mastercard to work with this program. Instead, you can tap into the rewards by linking your debit card or credit card to the program.

For example, you can earn 2.5% cash back dining at over 10,000 restaurant locations. If you opt to open and use a Upromise Mastercard, you’ll get 5% cash back on purchases in this category. In either case, it’s clear that the rewards tied to this program can stack up quickly.

Ease of Use

The main feature of Upromise is a seamless opportunity to boost your child’s college savings. You won’t have to pull any funds out of your paycheck. Instead, these funds accumulate based on the rewards tied to your spending. It offers a worthwhile way to give your child’s education fund the boost it might need.

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Customer Satisfaction

Not all rewards programs live up to your expectations. But when it comes to Upromise, many are finding a positive experience as they boost their child’s college savings. The program has earned 4.4 out of 5 stars and a rating of “excellent” on Trustpilot. With over 1,100 reviewers, it seems likely that you’ll have an excellent experience.

Plus, the entire experience is free.

Savings Options

Upromise makes it very easy to link your rewards account to the savings vehicle of your choice. You can link a 529, checking or savings account to your Upromise rewards account. But there’s an incentive to link a 529 account in the form of bonus funds. When you sign up, you’ll receive a $5.29 bonus. Plus, you’ll earn $25 in welcome rewards for linking your 529 account.

Good To Know

Eligible Upromise members are entered into a monthly scholarship giveaway. Although you aren’t guaranteed to win, this perk gives lucky families a helping hand in paying for college.

How Upromise Stands Out

Upromise provides a unique twist on the typical cash-back rewards program. Although there are plenty of cash-back opportunities out there, the specific focus on college savings is exciting. As a parent, opting in to this program can give you extra peace of mind knowing that you are helping your child avoid the sky-high cost of college.

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Comparable Options

Upromise is a relatively unique offering. But here’s a closer look at how this program stacks up in the marketplace.

Cash-Back Credit Cards

It’s not a secret that cash-back credit cards can offer a top-notch rewards experience. As a parent saving for college, taking advantage of a cash-back credit card might help you stretch your dollars further. This won’t directly put funds into your child’s college savings account. But you always have the option to set aside all of your earned rewards in an account designated for your child’s future.

Cash-Back Shopping Rewards

When shopping online, you don’t need a special credit card to tap into cash-back rewards. As a savvy shopper, all you need is an account with one of the top cash-back websites. Like cash-back credit cards, this opportunity won’t automatically deposit funds into your child’s 529 account. But if you want to save for college, you can choose to set aside those rewards.

How To Sign Up for Upromise

Ready to make a Upromise account? It’s as simple as adding your email address and creating a password on the program’s homepage. After that, you’ll have the option to link your college savings account, apply for a Upromise Mastercard, or download the Upromise Extension.

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Who Upromise Is Best For

If you are looking for a seamless way to start saving for college on a regular basis, Upromise offers the ability to turn cash-back spending into savings. However, you might find more attractive cash-back opportunities through a traditional cash-back credit card or shopping rewards program. With that, this opportunity is best for those who want an easier way to save. But if you already stick to a college savings plan and have a credit card rewards strategy, this might not be the right fit for you.

Final Take

Upromise offers a painless way to start saving for your child’s college costs. Although the rewards might seem small at first, every little bit counts. If you are intrigued by the opportunity, it’s free to open an account.

FAQ

  • Is Upromise a legitimate program?
    • Yes, Upromise is a legitimate rewards program designed to help families save for college.
  • How do I claim Upromise money?
    • Instead of manually claiming Upromise money, you'll have the option to link a 529, checking or savings account. Each month, Upromise will transfer your earned rewards to the linked account. Typically, this process happens during the first week of the month. 
  • Is Upromise still around?
    • Yes, Upromise is still an option to help you save for college costs.

Information is accurate as of Nov. 17, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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About the Author

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer with a desire to help readers improve their own financial balance sheets. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology, she went on to business school. With a master’s degree in Management from the Hough School of Business at the University of Florida, she loves diving into the details of personal finance. With years of experience as a personal finance writer, she helps readers grasp the concept and take control by breaking down complex topics filled with jargon down to their basic components. After all, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in the world of personal finance.

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