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Are you looking for the best cashback apps to put more money in your pocket for doing next to nothing? You’re in the right place.
At FinanceSuperhero, we’re practically obsessed with finding ways to save money which require minimal effort.
You might even say it’s in our DNA to find easy ways to get cashback for doing the things we already do, like buying groceries, shopping on Amazon, and even goofing around on the internet.
To help you elevate your savings game from “ordinary human” to Clark Kent-level, we assembled this list of the 7 best cashback apps we actually use to save money each month.
No, you won’t save thousands of dollars each and every month—you’ll need a side gig or two if that’s your goal—but the small cashback rewards you could earn by passively using the apps below could easily add up to thousands of dollars each year.
What Are Cashback Apps?
Before we dive into our review of the top cashback apps, let’s address the elephant in the room. You might be wondering, “What are cashback apps, anyway?”
After all, not everyone has been on the smart phone bandwagon for years and years. My dad, who still uses a flip phone, is a great example.
Simply put, a cashback app is a mobile phone application (app) that allows retailers to reward customer loyalty by passing savings back to their customers in the form of cashback. The amount of cashback given is typically a percentage of the total amount spent by the customer, but each cashback app has their own program and rules.
How Do You Use Cashback?
Getting cashback is great, but exactly how great is it? Is it really worth the time and effort to download phone apps just to get cashback?
In our editorial opinion, yes and yes!
More often than not, customers have quite a bit of flexibility in how they can use cashback. For example, users of our favorite cashback app, Ibotta, can cashout their cashback rewards for real money or select from a variety of available gift cards.
On the other hand, some popular retailers offer cashback in the form of a rebate or in-store credit. Home improvement retailer Menards is famous for this type of cashback offer through their 11% off promotions, for example. And you don’t even need an app for it.
Are Cashback Apps Really Worth It?
Retailers have been giving out rewards to loyal customers for years, so conceptually, cashback rewards really aren’t a new thing. Casback apps, on the other hand, are still somewhat new.
And that inspires a healthy dose of skepticism.
In our opinion, cashback apps definitely beat the days of cutting coupons to save money. They also make saving money much more environmentally-friendly for consumers, as they are 100% paperless.
You don’t even have to feel bad when you forget to use a flyer or coupon anymore, as the process is mostly automated.
Furthermore, most top cashback apps offer flexible options in order to entice more people to use them, whether it’s shopping online, in person, or even playing simple games to get rewards.
In other words, these apps are offering you the chance to get free cash rewards for doing the things you normally do anyway. Why not get paid for that?
Our Top 3 Best Cashback Apps That Pay You Consistently Every Month
In 2019, there’s no simpler way to passively save money than by using a selection of the top cash back apps available for your smart phone.
Of course, finding the apps that actually work is half the battle. Have you ever downloaded a new promising money saving app only to discover you had no regular use for it?
That’s why we’re kicking this list off with the cashback apps we use each and every month to save money. Each one works as described and is worth a test drive to see if it fits in with your lifestyle.
1.) The Ibotta app
I’ve you’ve read this blog for a while, it’s no secret that we love the Ibotta app.
Since we started using it a few years ago, we’ve saved over $1,400 on groceries—and that’s despite shopping on a tight grocery budget for a family of two adults and one toddler!
Honestly, our results are pretty ho-hum. Ibotta has saved its users over $575 million and counting since it launched, and we’ve seen others save way more money than we have so far.
Never heard of Ibotta? Here’s how it works and what makes it the best cashback app for groceries we’ve ever tried:
- Create a free Ibotta account and get the app (available for iOS and Android).
- Click on “Find offers” in the bottom menu of the app and select offers that are available on items you normally buy anyway.
- After you check out, scan your receipt in the app to prove that you redeemed the offers you chose.
- Cashback will show up in your account within 48 hours (usually sooner, in my experience).
We think Ibotta is one of the easiest cashback apps we’ve ever tried, but we still receive a lot of questions about the app from time to time.
Here are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we receive about Ibotta:
How can you get cashback using Ibotta?
There are four ways to get cashback using Ibotta:
- Scan your receipt after shopping to redeem your offers.
- Link store loyalty accounts to your Ibotta account and automate the process.
- Shop online using store mobile apps.
- Pay for purchases directly in the Ibotta app to get extra cashback savings on your entire purchase amount (not just selected offers).
Friendly word of warning: Make sure you select offers you plan to redeem before you go shopping. It only takes a few minutes of your time, but if you don’t do it, you could easily miss out on $30-40 of cashback savings per week. (Take it from someone who has learned the hard way *cough cough* – you can’t select offers and try to redeem them after you’ve already made your purchases.)
How much money can you save using Ibotta?
Despite Ibotta being one of the most easy to use cashback apps, I still meet people all the time who don’t use it.
Yes, I’m weird and actually ask people about it—don’t judge me! 🙂
This is a head-scratcher to me simply because it takes very little effort to plan a grocery shopping list and scan the Ibotta app for matching offers before you hop in the car.
Results will vary, obviously, but we have been able to save an average of around $15-20 per normal shopping trip using Ibotta.
If you use the app once per week at that rate, it could be possible to get over $1,000 cashback in a year.
Is Ibotta legit?
Yes, Ibotta is as legit as a cashback app can be.
I know many people, especially those who aren’t tech savvy, fear giving away any kind of information about themselves.
- Your banking information is secured using 256-bit Bank Level encryption technology. This is only if you opt to use Pay (which requires you to provide debit or credit card information) within Ibotta, otherwise you’ll never even share this information with Ibotta.
- Ibotta regularly reviews its security policies and practices via third party inspections.
Once you have started using Ibotta and earned $20, you can cash out your cashback rewards for gift cards or get cash and transfer it to your bank account using Venmo or PayPal.
Oh, and our favorite part about Ibotta: We were able to earn a bit of extra money a few weeks after starting to use Ibotta simply by referring a few friends and family to the app.
Ready to join the Ibotta family? Create your free account here and claim your $10 Welcome Bonus today.
2.) The Rakuten app and Rakuten Cash Back Button Extension
Let’s just get this out of the way: If you’re shopping online and you aren’t using Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, you’re simply missing out on easy cashback.
What about Rakuten makes getting cashback so easy?
It’s simple. When you sign-up for Rakuten and download the Rakuten Cash Back Button extension for your preferred web browser, you’ll automatically earn cash back whenever you shop online with any of the 2,500 partner retailers.
How much cashback can you make with Rakuten?
This will vary from retailer to retailer, but on average you could earn between 2-5% cashback by shopping online and in stores.
How can Rakuten afford to pay cashback to its users?
Rakuten has formed partnerships with over 2,500 retailers, and when a user completes a purchase, the retailer passes on a portion of the sale back to Rakuten. Rakuten then sends a portion of that money to users in the form of cashback rewards. Everyone wins.
This sounds too good to be true. Is Rakuten a scam?
It’s rare to find a program out there today that helps everybody win and make a bit of money, but Rakuten is definitely NOT a scam.
Believe it or not, this question has been Googled thousands of times since Rakuten re-branded from Ebates. Something about a little name change scares the heck out of consumers, apparently.
The truth is Rakuten is 100% safe. The only potential downside we are aware of when using Rakuten is if you accidentally delete the Button browser extension and forget to shop using Rakuten. If you do that, you won’t get any cashback rewards.
Ready to try Rakuten? Sign-up for your free account and start earning cashback today.
3.) The Drop app
More than 300,000 people are using the Drop app today, so you just know they’re onto something cool.
If you’ve never heard of the Drop app before, here’s how it works:
- After signing-up and downloading the free app, Drop users can earn points for doing ordinary things like buying coffee, shopping for clothes, or booking a trip.
- Securely link your debit cards and credit cards, and you’ll automatically receive points for shopping at 5 qualifying retailers of your choice. (You’ll pick these 5 retailers, which can be changed, when you enroll. You’ll want to start with the 5 qualifying retailers that get the most of your business.)
- The points system with the Drop app is very straightforward: 5,000 points are equal to $5.00, i.e. 1,000 points are equal to $1.00.
- Users can earn points for every single qualifying purchase, so you don’t have to worry about any “gotchas” or special rules to follow.
- Rewards points can be redeemed for cashback in the form of gift cards to places like Starbucks, Amazon, Netflix, Uber Eats, and more.
Our favorite part about Drop: Drop wants to encourage users, especially young people, to spend responsibly, so they offer double rewards points for purchases made using debit cards vs. credit cards.
You can learn more about Drop and set-up your free account here.
Up-and-Coming Cashback Apps
If it seems like there are always new cashback apps hitting the market, it’s because there really are new cashback apps coming out every month.
These apps are moving up the FinanceSuperhero rankings and carving out a soft spot in our frugal hearts.
4.) The ReceiptPal app
It might be just on the outside of our top rated cashback apps list, but the ReceiptPal app is quickly making us reconsider our rankings in the short time we’ve been using it.
We first discovered the ReceiptPal app in our quest to find apps like Ibotta, and so far, it has lived up to its billing.
Here’s the skinny on ReceiptPal:
- When you shop at cooperating retailers, simply snap a photo of your receipt using the app and you’ll receive reward points. Additionally, you’ll be automatically entered to win weekly sweepstakes for cash prizes.
- The app also works when you shop online. You can connect your Amazon account and e-mail account to your ReceiptPal account and you’ll automatically earn points faster.
- For members who have downloaded the ReceiptPal app, there are 3 sweepstakes entry periods each week:
- Entry Period #1: Sunday 12:00 AM and Monday 11:59 PM
- Entry Period #2: Tuesday 12:00 AM and Wednesday 11:59 PM
- Entry Period #3: Thursday 12:00 AM and Saturday 11:59 PM
How do you points work with ReceiptPal?
We’ll be the first to admit that the points process is a little confusing with ReceiptPal.
Here’s what we’ve experienced ourselves and learned through research:
- Points earned through ReceiptPal are not reedemable for straight cash. Instead, they can be redemeemed for gift cards in lieu of cash back. You can also redeem them in the form of donations, which is definitely unique.
- Points earned do not expire as long as you remain an active member within a 90 day period. If you go longer than 90 days without redeeming a receipt or making a qualified purchase with a linked email address or Amazon account, you could lose your points.
Here’s why we think ReceiptPal is worth using: Ultimately, you’re going to shop, make purchases, and live your life whether you use ReceiptPal or not. You may as well earn rewards and get cashback in the form of a gift card while you’re at it.
5.) The Shopkick app
How does earning cashback rewards without actually spending any of your own money sound?
Pretty sweet, right? You can do that with Shopkick.
Basically, a free Shopkick account gives you the opportunity to reward points, called “kicks,” for doing completing a variety of tasks:
- Earn kicks at the entrance of stores just for walking in
- Scan barcodes of products while you’re shopping, even if you’re not buying them
- Complete a purchase and submit your receipt
- Make a purchase using a linked credit or debit card
- Complete purchases online
- Watch videos
Kicks are redeemable for gift cards to places like Sephora, Starbucks, Amazon, and Target.
Download the Shopkick app today using our link and you’ll earn your first 250 kicks today.
6.) The Swagbucks app
Swagbucks isn’t exactly a new kid on the block.
As of August 2019, Swagbucks users have earned a cool $365 million in cashback rewards via gift cards by shopping online, taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and playing games.
Sure, it’s a bit of a non-traditional way to get casback, but we’re not complaining.
Once you’ve earned $5 in Swagbucks rewards, you can redeem them for your first cashback via gift card.
If you sign-up using our link for Finance Superhero readers, you can snag your first $5 reward just by earning 2,500 points—which isn’t too hard if you regularly shop online or use Yahoo! search.
Would you be willing to spend $20 to get $10 back? Of course not—unless you already planned to make that $20 purchase anyway. . . in which case, that $10 is icing on the cake.
MyPoints offers its users a free way to get cashback in exactly that way by shopping online. You can also earn points by reading emails, playing games, watching videos, and taking surveys.
If you’re planning to make an online purchase over $20 sometime soon, it’s worth joining MyPoints to get that easy $10 cashback reward.
Wrap-Up and Choosing the Best Cashback Apps for Your Lifestyle
If you haven’t jumped aboard the free cashback app train yet, now is a great time to start.
For starters, we highly recommend Ibotta, Rakuten, and Drop because they’re user-friendly and offer ways for just about anyone to regularly get cashback without alterring your normal lifestyle.
The other cashback apps on the list are solid, as well, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Our recommendation is to give each of the apps on our list a shot, as they’ve worked well for us, our friends, and our readers. If an app doesn’t help you save money or make your life better, dump it!
And don’t forget: getting cashback is supposed to be easy and mostly passive. Steer clear of apps that feel like a waste of time, offer little in the way of rewards, or require huge amounts of effort on your part.
What are the best cashback apps you’ve tried recently? Want us to review an app not included on our list? Let us know in the comments section below!