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9 Unexpected Cash Back Apps To Try This July

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There’s no doubt about it — prices are going up just about everywhere. So, who couldn’t use a little extra cash in their pocket right about now?

One way to do that is with cash back apps. These apps pay you back when you make purchases at the merchants that participate. It can be a great way to get a little money back for things you were going to buy anyway. Here’s what you need to know.

What Apps Give You Free Cash?

There are some apps that give you cash, while others give you points you can use toward rewards — usually gift cards. These can still be worthwhile, but cash is king. Here are some apps that give you cold, hard cash for using them.

  1. Rakuten — Retail
  2. PayPal Honey — Retail
  3. Ibotta — Retail
  4. Upside — Gas and Food
  5. Freebird — Rideshares and Restaurants
  6. Fetch Rewards — Retail and Food
  7. Drop — Retail and Food
  8. MyPoints — Retail
  9. Dosh — Retail, Food and Hotels

Rakuten

Rakuten offers cash back at over 3,500 stores, including Target, Nordstrom, Best Buy and more. You can shop through Rakuten.com, on the Rakuten app or using the Chrome extension. You’ll get your cash back every three months, either by PayPal or a check. Rakuten also offers a Cash Back Visa credit card that earns you an extra 3% cash back on your Rakuten purchases.

Make Your Money Work for You

To redeem your cash back, be sure to add your address to your account. Choose whether you want your cash by check or PayPal. You’ll get your cash back 45 days after the end of the quarter in which your payments are posted. So, for cash back you earned between January 1 and March 31, they’ll send your payment on May 15.

Pros

When you open an account and spend $25 within the first 90 days, you’ll get a $10 welcome bonus.

Cons

You only get your cash back every three months, not on demand. And you have to have earned at least $5.

PayPal Honey

Honey, now owned by PayPal, offers cash back for Gold points, which you collect when you shop at certain merchants. There are over 4,500 participating stores, including Walmart, Apple, Trip Advisor, The Home Depot and more, offering as much as 5% cash back through Honey. If cash back isn’t your thing, you can redeem your points for PayPal credit or gift cards.

To redeem Gold points, go to the Redemption page. Click on the gift card you want. You can redeem 1,000 Gold points for a $10 gift card.

Make Your Money Work for You

Pros

There are a lot of stores to choose from.

Cons

You don’t get rewards at every Honey store.

Ibotta

Ibotta gives you cash back at thousands of online and brick-and-mortar retailers, including Walmart, Best Buy, The Home Depot, Old Navy, Chewy, Groupon and more.

You can use Ibotta when you shop in-store by linking your store loyalty card or by submitting a photo of your receipt. When you’re shopping online, you can use the Ibotta app on your mobile device or the browser extension on your computer.

To redeem your cash back, go to the Account section of the app and select Withdraw Cash. Choose PayPal or select a gift card. If you choose PayPal, you’ll need to link your PayPal account to your Ibotta account.

Pros

You can link your store loyalty card to earn cash back automatically.

Cons

You have to amass $20 before you can get the cash.

Upside

Upside gives you cash back when you buy gas, fast food and other everyday items. With a specific focus on gas stations, you can use Upside at Exxon, Shell, Mobil, Sunoco, Racetrac and more — over 45,000 locations nationwide. Plus, you can use it at Popeyes, Burger King, Piggly Wiggly and more.

Make Your Money Work for You

You find an offer on the app, pay with a credit or debit card, and then check in to get your cash back. If you can’t check in, you can take a picture of your receipt and upload it. You can redeem your cash via PayPal, directly to your bank account or as an e-gift card. Unlike some apps, there’s no minimum amount of cash back you need to have in order to cash out.

To redeem the cash you’ve earned from Upside, tap the balance amount in the upper right corner of the app. Tap Cash Out and choose whether you want a bank transfer, gift card or PayPal payment. Then follow the prompts.

Pros

Cash out any time.

Cons

It’s primarily for gas, and some fast food and retail stores.

Freebird

Freebird gives you cash back when you use rideshare services and when you go to local restaurants. You link your Uber and Lyft accounts to Freebird and earn points for rides you take. You can also link your credit card, and when you use that card to pay your tab at participating bars and restaurants, you’ll get points for that too.

Make Your Money Work for You

To cash out, request a transfer to your debit card through the app. Freebird does not offer transfers to credit cards or prepaid debit cards.

Pros

Get cash back automatically by linking your Uber and Lyft accounts.

Cons

The restaurants are mostly local or regional, so there may not be any near you.

Apps That Give You Rewards

Other apps will give you points for using them, but those points can be redeemed for rewards. Often these are gift cards for various merchants, but some offer other rewards as well. Before signing up for one of these, make sure the rewards you can get are valuable to you.

Fetch Rewards

With Fetch Rewards, you get points for purchasing specific products, which can be redeemed for gift cards and other rewards. You scan your receipt from any store or restaurant, and when you buy brands that participate in Fetch Rewards, you get points.

Brands include supermarket favorites like Gatorade, Huggies, Entenmann’s, Cheerios and Ben & Jerry’s; beauty brands like L’Oréal and Maybelline; beverage brands like Blue Moon, Absolut, Coors, Barefoot wines and Topo Chico hard seltzer; and many more. You can also earn points for taking advantage of special offers, taking surveys or referring friends.

Make Your Money Work for You

To redeem your points, tap the Rewards tab at the bottom of the app screen. Search for the reward you want. The rewards you are eligible for, based on your point balance, will be circled in orange. Tap the reward you want, click Get My Reward and confirm.

Pros

Lots of participating brands.

Cons

You can’t get cash back, just gift cards.

Drop

Drop is an app that lets you earn rewards points that you can then redeem for cash back on future purchases. In addition to shopping through the Drop app, you can also play games and take surveys to earn more points.

If you link your credit or debit card to Drop, you’ll get more offers. Plus, you get an extra 1,000 points per month for linking your card. Drop indicates you can shop at “over 500 brands,” which is significantly fewer than others like Ibotta and Rakuten, but they do have big names in popular categories, like Bloomingdale’s, Uber and Uber Eats, Hello Fresh, StubHub and more.

You can only redeem points to be used on future purchases through the Drop app. To apply points to your purchase, check the Apply Drop Rewards checkbox. The rewards will be applied to your next purchase and will show up on the checkout page.

Make Your Money Work for You

Pros

You get points just for having a linked credit or debit card.

Cons

You don’t get cash back — you apply rewards to your purchases through Drop. 

MyPoints

MyPoints gives you coupons, deals and promo codes in addition to points you can redeem for gift cards or transfer to your PayPal account. You can also get points for answering surveys.

To redeem your points, click on the gift box icon in the upper right to go to the Rewards page. You can filter by the type of reward or sort by the number of points. Click on the option you want. You’ll be asked to log in again, and then you can click the Get Rewarded button.

Pros

It’s offering a $10 welcome bonus for new users, in the form of an Amazon gift card or Visa gift card.

Cons

It doesn’t consistently offer cash back — there has to be an offer available for what you’re buying.

Dosh

To use Dosh, you’ll need to link your credit cards to the Dosh app. You can also link your Venmo account. When you shop using those cards, cash back for qualifying purchases is automatically added to your Dosh wallet. You’ll need to accumulate at least $25 in your Dosh wallet before you can transfer it to your bank, PayPal account or Venmo account. You can also donate your cash back to charity.

To cash out, tap the wallet icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap the transfer button, then which account you want to transfer to. You can transfer to your bank, Venmo or PayPal, as long as you’ve linked the appropriate account. Enter the amount you want to transfer, tap Next, review the details and tap Transfer.

Pros

Linking your card gets you cash back automatically.

Cons

You have to accumulate $25 before you can cash out.

Are Cash Back Apps Worth It?

They can be if you’re smart about using them. First, never make a purchase you wouldn’t otherwise make just to get the points. Likewise, don’t redeem your points for gift cards for merchants you wouldn’t otherwise shop with. Finally, only you can decide if the effort you have to put in to get the cash or rewards is worth your time.

The bottom line on cash back apps is, if they’re easy to use and earn you points on things you would have bought anyway, they can be a great way to put a little money back in your pocket.