I love saving money where I can, and every little bit adds up. Today, apps are making it a lot easier for you to get cash back on purchases you’re already making. I want to tell you about five apps that I have installed on my phone and regularly use to reap the benefits of saving a little money here and there.
I’ve been using this app for the last few years and to date have received more than $330 in cash back. The process of using it is pretty simple. When you’re shopping online at a specific website, open the Rakuten app first to see if the store you’re visiting is in the app. If it is, you’ll get a certain percentage of cash back on your purchase by opening the store’s website through the Rakuten app. The cash back will show up in your Rakuten account.
Here’s an example: if Rakuten is offering 10% back on all Groupon purchases, you would get $5 back on a $50 Groupon purchase within the Rakuten app.
Some restrictions on purchases do apply, so check the fine print. Rakuten has also introduced cash back on some in-store purchases and cash back offers linked to your debit and credit card, so keep an eye out for that too.
There is one downside – you won’t get your money instantly. Rakuten only pays out your savings four times per year.
Much like Rakuten, Dosh provides you with a percentage of cash back on purchases you’re already making. There are some in-app offers, but where Dosh really shines is how it works so invisibly when you are shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, too. You connect your debit and/or credit cards to the app, and when you make purchases at eligible merchants, cash back is applied almost instantly in the app. It’s fun because a lot of times the cash back notification pops up after your credit/debit card has been swiped at the store.
You can cash out anytime, but you do need to have at least $25 in your account to do so.
Pei works much like Dosh and applies cash back to your account when you make purchases at eligible merchants. You also need to have at least $25 in your account before withdrawing.
Uber has a great cash back program that gives you the chance to earn Uber credit when you use your Visa credit and/or debit card at eligible merchants. When you do so, your account is instantly credited. Make sure any credit/debit cards you regularly use while shopping or dining are connected to your Uber account, even if you don’t use those cards for rideshare.
I will say that while I think this is such a good program, Uber falls so short in making this user friendly within the app. At least at the timing of this video. The list of merchants is tough to find (there’s a link located within the Wallet app). There’s also not an interactive map to see merchants locally, regionally or nationally. You’re instead limited to a narrow listing of merchants nearby. I hope Uber builds this out more.
The fifth and final app is Target Circle, formerly Cartwheel. This app gives you the ability to “clip” coupons right in the app on a variety of products and receive a discount (by percentage) when you make a purchase. The cashier scans a barcode within the app to apply all the discounts you selected at once. Plus, Target offers 1% cash back on all of your purchases, which can be redeemed as Target store credit. Side note – if you don’t have a Target Red Card, this is a great way to instead earn a 5% discount on nearly everything in the store versus the 1% discount that Target Circle offers. Target has a credit card or a debit card that simply debits your checking account.
Honorable Mention: iBotta
iBotta is a great service with a nice user interface, but unlike the top five apps, you often need to scan your receipts to redeem most of the offers. That can feel a little clunky when you’re talking about 10 cents here or 50 cents there. But hey, free money is free money. I probably use this program the least but it’s still worth keeping the app on your phone. If you want to see this list with my commentary in written form, head to my website, Kevin Talks Tech.com…you’ll find all of it there.