With the holiday season starting up in full swing this week, I thought it’d be a good idea to share all of the best cashback apps I use to help optimize my spending.
For me, whenever I spend money, I’m always thinking about how to get a good return on my spend. That’s why I try to open up a new credit card every few months. That way, I spend money, but I get money back in the form of a hefty credit card signup bonus (which I can then use for free travel). The way I see it, if you’re spending money already, you might as well get a little something back in return.
In addition to using credit cards, I also use a plethora of apps that run in the background and that offer me some form of cashback when I spend money at certain places – either in credits, gift cards, or just plain cash.
The apps I talk about in this post differ from the receipt apps that require you to take a picture of your receipt in order to earn cash back. I’ve always found those apps took me too much time for what I was getting back in return.
In this post, I’m talking about the best cashback apps that allow you to earn cashback without having to do anything besides setting them up. These apps are entirely passive and run in the background without you even noticing them.
The Best Cashback Apps
If you’re just looking for a list of the best cashback apps, here’s what I recommend (I use every single one of these apps personally):
- Dosh (Get $5 if you sign up using my link)
- Drop (Get 1,000 points if you use the promo code j6d3y)
- Ebates (Get$10 if you sign up using my link)
- Visa Local Offers from Uber
The first app I recommend you use is Dosh. It’s a mobile-only app that tracks your spending and gives you cash back for purchases you make at certain places. I’ve been using Dosh for a few months now to earn approximately 7% cashback on my spend at various restaurants and breweries around me.
What makes Dosh really great is that it’s completely passive once you set it up. You just link your credit cards to Dosh and if you spend money at a participating place, you automatically get cash back to your Dosh account. You can then cash out your earnings to your regular bank account.
In my time using Dosh, I’ve found that it instantly recognizes when I spend money at a participating restaurant or bar and then credits my Dosh account immediately. It’s pretty crazy how fast it works.
For me, Dosh has worked out really well simply because, for whatever reason, every brewery in my city seems to offer 7% cashback. In essence, whenever I go grab a beer somewhere, I get an automatic 7% discount. When you combine that with the credit card rewards that I earn (typically at least 2% back), I’m basically snagging myself a 9% or 10% discount at most breweries – without having to do anything!
You shouldn’t go out of your way to eat or drink at places you wouldn’t normally go to, but you should definitely link your cards to Dosh to give you a little bit of return on spend for random places you might happen to go to.
Even better, if you sign up for Dosh using my link, you’ll get a free $5 to start off your account. You can’t beat that for a few seconds of work.
*Note, Dosh uses the same cash back network as Swagbucks Local and Yelp Cash Back, and unfortunately, you can’t double dip with them. You’ll get the same cash back on Swagbucks Local or Yelp Cash Back, but personally, I think Dosh is the way to go simply because of the free $5 you get for signing up with a referral link. The smart money move here is to sign up with a referral link, then refer your spouse using your own referral link.
Another app I’ve been using to get a little bit of cash back on my everyday spend is Drop. Like other cashback apps, you link your credit cards to Drop and you then earn points that you can redeem for gift cards. 1,000 points are worth $1.
When you first sign up for Drop, you’ll have to link five primary stores that you can earn points at. I picked Chipotle, Uber, Walgreens, Target, and McDonalds as my five base stores. Other stores include Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and some clothing stores that I don’t really shop at very often. Pick the ones that work for you.
Drop also offers special deals which allow you to earn more points for certain purchases. These are rotating categories that you technically have to activate, so every once in a while, you’ll need to go into the app and activate these deals.
It takes only a few minutes to sign up and get everything set up, so it’s not really a big commitment to get started. Again, I wouldn’t go out of my way to earn the points, but it’s not bad to just have Drop passively running in the background for you.
If you sign up for Drop and then enter my promo code – j6d3y – you’ll get 1,000 Drop points to start off your account. Yep, you’ll be rich!
Ebates is pretty much a no-brainer Google Chrome extension that everyone should have in their browser. With Ebates, you basically get cashback on almost any purchase you make online – typically around 2% -5% back.
The extension only takes a few seconds to set up, and once it’s in your browser, it’ll automatically notify you if you’re on a website where Ebates offers cashback. From there, you just activate the extension and continue with your purchase as normal. Ebates then tracks your purchase and gives you whatever percent cashback you earned.
Payments are made from Ebates four times per year, so it’s a nice little bonus when you get an Ebates check in the mail. In my time using Ebates, I’ve earned back a little over $100 – all while spending on stuff I was already going to buy anyway. And all I had to do was click a button to get my cash back (this used to be way harder before they created the Google Chrome extension, which is why I used to forget to activate Ebates).
If you combine Ebates with the return you’re getting on your credit cards, pretty much any purchase you make online should be worth at least a 5% to 10% discount.
I think everyone should use Ebates if they buy anything online. It’s pretty much a waste not to have it set up. Plus, use my link and you’ll get $10 free once you signup!
4. Visa Local Offers From Uber
I recently discovered that Uber has their own cashback program in the Uber app. Like with other cashback apps, you link your credit card and it tracks your spending. When you spend at certain places, you’ll automatically earn cash back in the form of Uber credits. It won’t be helpful for you if you’re looking for straight cash, but if you ever use Uber, this is a nice way to get a little bit back.
You can also use Uber Offers even if you’re using other cashback apps (like Dosh or Drop), so it’s a nice way to stack some extra return on your spend.
The transactions are immediate as well – literally as soon as my card was charged, I received my Uber credit (which was a nice bonus because I had no idea that I was going to get any Uber credit at the time).
To set up Uber Offers, just go to your Uber app and activate it. It’ll be somewhere on the main screen. After that, you don’t have to do anything else – it’ll just monitor your cards and give you cash back if you spend at eligible places.
Honey is another no-brainer Chrome extension. Like with Ebates, it runs automatically in the background while you’re shopping, only instead of cash back, Honey helps you get immediate discounts on your purchases.
Here’s how it works. Once you get to a checkout screen, Honey automatically scans for any promo codes that you might be able to use and then applies the promo codes to your purchase. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by having this extension running in the background.
It takes 10 seconds to set it up and is definitely something that everyone should use. There are a ton of discount and promo codes floating out there, so you might as well get use of them.
If you feel like supporting this site, use my referral link to sign up for Honey (I’ll get $5 for everyone who signs up using this link).
Earny is an app I use to help me get refunds in the event that something I buy goes down in price.
Most people don’t realize it, but if you buy something and the price drops a little later, most retailers will give you a refund on the difference. The issue, obviously, is tracking this. None of us have time to go around tracking prices on our purchases.
Earny takes away this problem by monitoring your purchases for you and then getting you refunds when there’s a price drop.
They charge 25% of any refund they get you, but that’s worth it when you consider that you’d normally get nothing back. So, if you were to get a $10 refund, Earny takes $2.50 of that $10 refund, netting you $7.50 that you otherwise wouldn’t have seen.
It doesn’t take long to set up, and you might as well have Earny running in the background as well. Sign up for Earny using my referral link here!
The last cashback program I use is Upromise. Like with Dosh, Drop, and Uber Offers, Upromise tracks your credit card spending in the background and then gives you cash back on eligible purchases.
The main difference is that you’re supposed to use the cash back that you earn through Upromise to pay student loans or to fund 529 plans. I’ve just been putting the cash into my own 529 plan that I set up for myself a few years back.
I haven’t earned a ton of money through Upromise and it seems super slow in actually applying your cashback to your account. Still, it requires no work on your end other than linking your credit cards, so you might as well have it set up.
There are a lot of apps out there that can save you money or give you some cash back on your everyday spend.
You obviously won’t get rich from these apps, but it’s at least something. And none of this requires you to change any of your spending habits. You’re basically adding a cashback component to your financial life that runs passively in the background.
It literally takes a few minutes to set up all of these accounts. Most of you could probably read this post and set up all these apps in the next 15 or 20 minutes. Once set up, you can sit back and just keep doing what you normally do.
What do you think of my best cashback apps list? Any other cashback apps that you recommend?