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According to recent analysis by CreditCards.com, rewards are one of the biggest factors that continue to influence overall satisfaction among credit card users. Furthermore, cash back rewards have become the most popular reward option among credit card users, as can be seen in the chart below.
The major takeaway: Americans love earning rewards.
The problem? Many of the ways to earn rewards, especially cashback, require people to use credit cards, and this comes with exposure to debt build-up, decreases to your credit score, and interest and fees.
The Drop app, a free rewards app, is a member experience-focused mobile rewards app designed to help members earn instant rewards—without any risk of accumulating debt, damaging your credit, or paying fees and interest.
Read on to see our unbiased Drop app review, including a breakdown of how rewards work, an in-depth review of the security features of the Drop app, an analysis of pros and cons, and our final recommendation.
What is the Drop app?
Started by CEO Derrick Fung in 2016, the Drop app considers itself a next generation rewards platform. One of their primary focus areas is helping millennials get rewarded for their everyday spending without adding any charges or debt—though to be fair, they do recognize that the app is designed to fit into just about any lifestyle.
The Drop app helps members earn reward points for free by shopping through the app, as well as through shopping using linked credit and/or debit cards. Reward points may be redeemed for gift cards to popular brands like Starbucks, Amazon, Dunkin Donuts, and more.
How Does the Drop App Work?
When Fung created the Drop app, he wanted to support good spending habits among the younger generation, particularly millennials.
Specifically, Fung noted two big trends among younger people:
- The days of carrying multiple credit cards around in a fat wallet or purse were over.
- Many young people had become far-less loyal to brands and were much more focused on getting the best value and experience.
As a result, Drop doesn’t care how you pay for your shopping. Credit card and debit card use is rewarded equally. Drop members earn $1.00 in rewards for every 1,000 points they earn.
As noted earlier, regular credit and debit card shopping helps you earn points. You can also earn points by redeeming in-app offers and bonuses when you use the related links in the Drop app.
Pro Tip: When you see a one-time offer or other bonus offer in the app, make sure you click the link to activate it. Purchases completed outside of the app won’t be eligible for points.
Once you’ve earned enough points to be eligible for a gift card, Drop will send you an e-mail notification inviting you to redeem your points.
How Do I Join and Get Started?
Once you join and download the app, Drop prompts you to create a basic account and link at least one credit or debit card.
This might make some people nervous, but the Drop app works by rewarding you for your regular shopping behavior, so linking a card or two that you use often is a good move (and it’s safe—more on that below).
Next, you’ll be asked to select five of your most frequently-shopped brands from among a long list that includes brands like Starbucks, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Uber, McDonald’s, Bath & Body Works, HEB, Chipotle, Macy’s, Lyft, 7-Eleven, Target, Walgreen’s, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods, among others.
Pro Tip: When selecting your five brands in the app, be sure to choose retailers where you typically spend the most money. This will help you maximize the rewards you earn.
A friendly word of warning: Make your five retailer choices very carefully, as you cannot change them once you’ve made your selections! As long as you choose brands that you tend to visit frequently, this won’t be a problem.
Rates for each partner brand may change from time to time, which is why we’re not publishing a list here. On average, though, reward rates tend to range between 1-2%. That may not sound significant, but if your family spends $1,000 per month on groceries and toiletries at Target, for example, you could earn nearly $10 every month without doing anything else!
Finally, once you’ve finished selecting your brands, you can also explore current Bonus offers. These aren’t necessarily time-sensitive, as you’ll get new waves of bonus offers from time to time, so you can skip this for now.
In our editorial opinion, this is one of the things that makes the Drop app so easy to use—when you get set-up, you technically don’t even need to login to the app to earn rewards as long as you continue to use your linked credit and debit cards. We like to take advantages of one-time offers and other bonuses in the app, but you can still earn rewards even if you don’t do this!
Is the Drop App Safe and Secure?
You can never be too cautious when it comes to internet and banking safety in 2019. Scammers have become more and more sophisticated, as evidenced by countless data breaches in the past few years.
So is the Drop app really safe to use? Our short answer is yes.
Here’s the long answer: Drop is just as safe to use as any other app that utilizes sensitive financial information, including banking apps, investing apps like Acorns, and other saving assistant-type apps like Digit and Trim.
There are several facts that back up our conclusion:
- Drop never stores your data. After the sleu of data breaches in the past few years, most companies don’t want to be caught storing your data. As a result, your bank login and credit card credentials are never stored on Drop’s servers. They use the same encryption technology as your bank to be sure your information is safe and secure.
- Drop’s security method is safe. This method, called Transport Layer Security (TLS), has been validated by DigiCert, one of the leaders in online security.
- Drop uses 256-bit encryption. This is the same encryption level used by banks, the NSA, and the US military.
If you’re truly concerned about safety issues using Drop, we recommend only linking credit cards that feature fraud protection. This isn’t really necessary, as the app is safe, but it will help you sleep better at night knowing there is no possible way a hacker could gain access to your checking account through the app.
Pros and Cons of the Drop App
Still not sure if the Drop app fits your lifestyle? We have broken down the pros and cons of Drop in detail below.
Our Final Recommendation
The Drop app isn’t a perfect rewards app. It has its limitations — in particular, we think the app could stand to be a bit more flexible and allow users to change their 5 brand selections, even if just a couple times per year.
That said, we’ve found Drop to be one of the easiest, laziest ways to earn rewards for doing what you already do — shop for food, buy clothes and apparel, and grab coffee on the way to work — and it only takes a few minutes to join and set-up your free account.
If you choose your 5 brands very carefully and make sure that they are aligned with the brands you spend spend a large portion of your budget on (like food and toiletries, clothes and apparel, and the catch-alls that show up on your doorstep from Amazon), it’s quite possible to earn enough points to get several gift cards each year.
A final word of warning: The best way to use rewards apps like Drop, including Ibotta, Swagbucks, and Rakuten, is to be sure you’re not making purchases just to earn rewards. Simply put, if you wouldn’t make the purchase without the rewards points attached, don’t do it!
Get the free Drop app and start earning rewards today.