11 Best Cash Back Apps for Shopping
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There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but getting cash back on items you buy comes pretty close. The best cash back apps can easily give you a few percent cash back on most of your purchases. Think of cash back shopping apps as the modern day version of a coupon. While using coupons can get you great discounts, it can be time consuming. Not only that, if you forget the coupon when you shop, you can’t take advantage of the discount.
Cash back apps, however, are simple and require minimal time to use.
For instance, you can use your smartphone to get money back on purchases. This saves you time since you can often take advantage of the offer right away. It also allows you to get cash back on buying something you were already planning on buying anyway. And since your phone is with you, there’s no forgetting the coupon.
You won’t get rich from this process, of course, but the top cash back apps allow you to stretch your budget further.
The Best Cash Back Apps for Shopping
When looking for cash back shopping apps, it’s important that you understand how each app works. Some give you cash back for receipts while others are cash back apps for buying groceries. Cash back shopping apps and cash back portals pay you for the purchases you make through them.
Here are the best cash back apps in each category to help you earn (or save) a little extra money.
Cash Back for Receipts
Do you want to earn cash back for receipts? Believe it or not, sometimes earning cash back is as simple signing up for offers and then scanning your receipts to prove you made the purchase. Here are a couple of apps that let you scan receipts for cash back.
Ibotta is a cash back for receipts app that works both on iOS and Android devices. Once you download the app, you add offers to your account before you shop. Then, purchase the items detailed in the offers you selected.
After you buy items at the store, take a photo of your receipt to earn the cash back detailed in the offers you picked. The cash back you earned will be deposited in your Ibotta account within 48 hours. Ibotta is a popular cash back app for grocery store items, but it also works at over 350 retailers and an excellent choice to get paid to shop online.
You can check out our Ibotta review to learn more about how the service works.
Although you have to reach the withdrawal threshold of $20 before you withdraw money from your account, they do give you $10 when you open an account. You can use your cash back to redeem for gift cards or send money to your PayPal or Venmo account.
2. Receipt Hog
Receipt Hog is another app that pays you for scanning your receipts and is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. To earn cash back, all you need to do is go shopping and take a picture of your receipt.
You can shop anywhere and buy anything you want. Each qualifying receipt earns you coins or spins. Coins are equivalent to cash and spins give you a chance to win more coins.
Once you’ve earned at least 1,000 coins, you can cash out with PayPal, get an Amazon gift card or get a Mastercard/Visa e-gift card code at the following redemption rates:
- 1,000 coins = $5
- 2,900 coins = $29
- 4,300 coins = $25
- 6,500 coins = $40
You also earn more points by taking paid surveys, or scanning a certain number of receipts during a single month.
Cash Back Apps for Groceries
Everyone buys groceries. Why not get a discount by earning cash back? Here are a few of the best grocery cash back apps to consider the next time you’re at the store.
3. Checkout 51
Checkout 51 gives you cash back for groceries you buy and works on Apple and Android devices. Simply download the app and create an account to get started.
Every Thursday, Checkout 51 shows you a list of offers. Pick the ones you’re most interested in and purchase them at any store. Next, take a picture of your receipt, note which offers you took advantage of and how many times you’re claiming each specific offer.
Once Checkout 51 processes your receipt, cash will be credited to your account. When your account balance reaches $20, you can request a check to get your cash back in your hands.
4. Fetch Rewards
Fetch Rewards is one of the best cash back apps for shopping. The Fetch Rewards app is solely for name brand products. While buying generics are an awesome way to save money, you may prefer a particular brand, or not have the choice to buy generics all the time.
Fetch Rewards is an easy to use app. After you buy your groceries, you scan your receipt. If your receipt is itemized you receive points for every product that has an active discount offer. The app gives you ten points for each dollar spent on those products.
You can redeem these points for cash, or gift cards from hundreds of retailers. Fetch Rewards has a minimum redemption amount of $3, so there is not much hassle to redeem earnings.
SavingStar offers hassle-free grocery rebates with no clipping, printing, or mailing. Their app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. All you have to do is link your store loyalty cards to your SavingStar account and select the rebates you want within the app.
When paying, make sure to use your store loyalty card. Your rebates will be automatically added to your SavingStar account. Some stores participate in SavingStar but don’t have loyalty cards. For these stores, simply scan your receipts using the app or on SavingStar.com.
After you earn $20 in rebates, you can add your cash back rebates to your bank or PayPal account. You can even donate your cash back to charities.
Cash Back Portals
Some of the best cash back apps are simply cash back portals. To earn cash back, visit the portal site before you shop and click on a link to shop at the store of your choosing. Here are some of the best cash back portals.
Swagbucks offers a cash back portal in addition to plenty of other fun ways to earn cash back. You can earn Swagbucks on their website or on their iOS and Android apps.
To earn Swagbucks points through their portal, visit Swagbucks.com before you shop and click through their links to earn cash back at the places you usually shop online.
You can also earn Swagbucks points in some of the following ways:
- Answering paid surveys
- Watching sponsored videos
- Using their search engine
- Playing games on their mobile app
Once you earn enough Swagbucks points, you can redeem them for free gift cards to places like Amazon and Walmart or get cash back from PayPal.
The minimum redemption amount for Swagbucks is $25, but you can start redeeming gift cards as low as $1. This makes the app one of the best ways to make PayPal money fast.
Swagbucks also gives you a $5 just for opening an account. Check out our Swagbucks review to learn more about the platform.
Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) is a cash back portal that allows you to shop from your computer, iOS, or Android device. Once you sign up for an Rakuten account, you just need to click the appropriate Rakuten link before shopping at an online store.
Rakuten will tell you how much cash back you’ll earn at each of their shopping partners. If you’re purchasing an item you can buy at multiple retailers, make sure to check which store offers the highest cash back. Then, shop as you normally would and check out.
Rakuten sends out checks for the cash back you earn once per quarter as long as your balance is above $5. For instance, they send out checks on May 15th for cash back earned between January 1st and March 31st.
If you don’t have an Rakuten account, sign up today. You can also get $10 bonus cash back by making your first $25 purchase through Rakuten within 90 days of becoming a member.
Check out our Rakuten review for more in-depth review.
The Affinityy cash back portal allows you to earn cash back while shopping at your favorite online stores. They also have exclusive credit card offers to choose from.
At this time, Affinityy only works through your web browser and does not have an app. To earn cash back, visit Affinityy and browse their available retailers that offer cash back. Click through the Affinityy link before you shop and you’ll earn cash back in your Affinityy account.
*Related: Want other choices to save money shopping? Here’s our guide on the best printable coupon sites to use to save money.*
Once your available cash back balance reaches $50, you can cash out through PayPal or opt to receive a check. Affinityy gives you $20 cash back after making your first purchase, so reaching the redemption threshold is fairly easy.
Cash Back Shopping Apps
Cash back shopping apps are another great way to save money. Below are the best cash back shopping apps to use the next time you need to make a purchase:
Shopkick gives you many ways to earn points, which they call “kicks”, using the Shopkick app. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. You can earn kicks by:
- Scanning barcodes of select products
- Making purchases with linked cards
- Making a purchase and submitting a receipt
- Visiting online stores
- Viewing online products
- Making online purchases
- Watching videos
Rewards typically cost 250 kicks per dollar, so a $2 reward would cost 500 kicks. Once you have enough kicks, redeem them for a gift card of your choice. Shopkick works by GPS so you can even earn kicks by simply walking into a store! Thanks to this, Shopkick is one of the best apps similar to Ibotta to get cash back on your shopping.
Shopkick is available on iOS and Android.
Drop is a unique cash back shopping app that allows you to earn cash back by linking your debit card to the app. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. After linking your debit card, just shop like normal.
Drop is best for those that don’t want to rely on rewards credit cards to get cash back. Linking to a debit card does pose a security concern for some, but they have a sophisticated security process to ensure your protection.
You earn points for your purchases which you can redeem for cash rewards. One thousand points are equal to $1 and redemption options for gift cards start at 5,000 points for a $5 gift card.
Jet.com is a unique cash back shopping app. You can shop through Jet.com with your browser, iOS or Android device. Rather than grow a cash back balance, Jet.com focuses on helping you save more on the items you’re purchasing.
As you add items to your cart, the price per item may decline. You can also save money by opting out of free returns. Not all products allow you to save more by adding additional items to your cart but many do. You’ll receive your savings as a discount from the retail purchase price.
How to Maximize Your Cash Back
Most of the best cash back apps are great saving you money. If you want to save more money each month, don’t overlook ways to maximize your efforts. Below are a few ways you can reduce your spending even more:
Use coupons: Many of the apps mentioned let you double dip on savings. You can use either physical coupons you’ve clipped or in-store coupons. This may not work for each app, so make sure to refer to their terms and conditions prior to trying to double dip.
Use a rewards credit card: If you have a rewards credit card, you can often get cash back or other rewards for your purchases. Since none of the cash back apps care how you pay for your purchase, you instantly earn the rebate plus the reward from your card. Remember, though, to use your credit cards wisely. If you struggle to pay off your cards each month, this might not be the best strategy for you.
Scan your receipt immediately: This applies to apps that pay give you cash back for receipts. Some apps have a limited window to scan the receipt to get money back. If you wait too long to scan the receipt, you may forget to take advantage of your rebate. It’s best to scan the receipt within 24 hours of your purchase to ensure you don’t lose out on money.
Get Started Today
Earning cash back isn’t totally free. In exchange for earning cash back, you give away information about your shopping habits. For example, you may have to click through special links that track your purchases.
However, these sacrifices are things that, in many cases, happen anyway. You might as well get paid for what you’re already buying.
It’s difficult, and probably unnecessary, to use every one of the cash back apps listed above. Instead, pick a handful that you’re excited about and start using them today. If you find one of the apps doesn’t work well for you, switch it out for a different app until you find the combination that works for your needs.
What are some of the best cash back apps you’ve used? What are some other ways you like to save money on your shopping? Do you still clip coupons?
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