12 Cash-Back Apps You Need to Have on Your Phone

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Over the last several years, dozens of new cash-back apps for shopping have popped up.

These apps can save you money on groceries, travel, clothes, and so much more.

They’re a lot easier than clipping coupons, and more practical, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the house without coupons that I wanted to use. But with them on my phone, I’m always able to save money.

With so many cash-back apps available now, it’s difficult to determine which ones are worth using and which ones to ignore.

12 Best Cash-Back Apps to Use to Save Money

Here are some of the most popular cash-back apps you can use to get money back on your everyday spending.

1. Swagbucks

Swagbucks logoWhat it is: Swagbucks is a rewards program that gives you gift cards and cash for performing everyday online tasks.

How it works: You can earn points (aka Swagbucks) by watching videos, taking surveys, shopping online, playing games, buying gift cards, and using their search engine to browse the web.

Pros:

  • Lots of opportunities and ways to earn cash and gift cards
  • No daily limit to how many points you can earn

Cons:

  • Low payout for many tasks
  • Can take a while to earn enough Swagbucks to cash out

How to cash out: Once you earn $5 worth of Swagbucks, you can cash out via PayPal or redeem your points for gift cards to your favorite retailers.

Referral program: Sign up for Swagbucks to earn your first $10 today. You can also refer your friends and family. For each person that signs up using your unique referral link, you earn 10% of what they earn.

Related: Swagbucks App Review 2020: What is Swagbucks and How Does it Work?

2. Rakuten

Rakuten LogoWhat it is: Rakuten gives people rebates and cash back on purchases they make through the company’s referral links.

How it works: Using the website, browser extension, or app, consumers can search for deals, promo codes, and cash-back offers that help them save money when they shop online or in stores.

Pros:

  • Can access the deals from the app or desktop version
  • Multiple ways to find rebates
  • Substantial number of partner companies, so it’s easy to get cash back

Cons:

  • Only receive your rebates once per quarter
  • Must spend money to get money back
  • If you tend to overspend on shopping, it may encourage impulse spending

How to cash out: You can receive your earnings via check or PayPal, but you must have accrued at least $5.01 to receive payment.

Referral program: You can also earn money with Rakuten by referring new members with a unique referral link to send to friends and family members who don’t have a Rakuten account.

Related: Rakuten Review 2020: How Does the Cash-Back App Work? Is it Legit?

3. Ibotta

Ibotta logoWhat it is: Ibotta is one of the best and most popular cash-back apps for groceries. Since its launch in 2012, Ibotta has had nearly 22 million downloads and paid over $200 million dollars in cash back to its users.

How it works: You can search for deals at your local grocery store through the app or website and select which ones you’d like to redeem. You might have to perform a short task like watching a video or answering a question to add the deal. After shopping, you can claim your rebates by scanning your receipt or using your linked store loyalty card.

Pros:

  • Easy to search for offers and add them to your account
  • Usually plenty of deals to choose from

Cons:

  • Must manually select which deals you want in advance
  • Offers can expire
  • Must scan your receipt within a week or you’ll miss out on cash back

How to cash out: Once you earn $20, you can cash out via PayPal, Venmo, or a gift card to your favorite store.

Referral program: You can earn additional cash rewards by referring friends and family through a personalized referral link. If they sign up, you’ll get $5 added to your account. Ibotta also adds $10 to your account when you register and redeem your first offer. Note, though, that the offer must be for a specific product. You can’t redeem their “Any Brand” offers and receive the bonus.

Related: Ibotta Review 2020: Pros, Cons, and How the Grocery Cash Back App Works

4. Dosh

What it is: Another rebate app, Dosh gives you up to 10% cash back when you shop at their participating merchants using a linked debit or credit card.

How it works: Unlike other cash-back companies, all you need to do to get cash back with Dosh is download the app and link a credit or debit card. Most other cash-back apps require you to scan a receipt and choose a deal. But with Dosh, all you need to do is sign up and shop.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy
  • No coupon clipping involved or rebates to redeem

Cons:

  • Only available in the United States
  •  If you have a linked card that you use on another site, you can’t use it with Dosh

How to cash out: You need to have $25 in your account before you can redeem the funds. This redemption limit is slightly higher than other apps. Once you reach that threshold, you can opt to receive your cash via PayPal or direct deposit.

Referral program: You can earn an extra $5 for every friend you refer to Dosh who starts using the program. There’s also an option to partner with businesses, and you’ll earn 20% of the business’s Dosh fees if they register with the app. You can also earn $5 when you sign up and link your card.

Related: Dosh Review: Pros, Cons, and Examples of Deals (Screenshots Included)

5. SavingStar

Savingstar logoWhat it is: SavingStar is another grocery rebate app. What makes it different is that you’ll find rebates on produce, instead of only processed or packaged food, and you can also get rewards for reaching a spending goal.

How it works: Most major supermarkets partner with SavingStar, but how you get rebates varies from store to store. At some stores, you’ll need to connect your store loyalty card to redeem offers while others require you to upload a picture of your receipt and submit it via the app or website. You can select your rebates via the app or website.

Pros:

  • Can get rebates on produce; most grocery-saving apps only offer rebates on packaged food
  • Get money back when you reach a spending limit
  • “Always On” program allows you to earn 1% cash back every time you purchase certain products

Cons:

  • Must select your offers in advance
  • Your favorite store might not partner with the company
  • Have to wait until you’ve reached a threshold in your account to cash out

How to cash out: With SavingStar, you need $5 in your account to redeem your savings. That’s among the lowest cash-out limit of all the cash-back apps. They pay through PayPal or a personal bank account, or you can donate your savings to a charitable cause.

Referral program: SavingStar only has a referral program for owners of blogs and websites.

Related: Top 10 Best Shopping Apps for Epic Savings in 2019

More Cash-Back and Rewards Apps

You can often use multiple cash-back and rewards apps to maximize your savings and earnings.

6. Shopkick

Shopkick LogoWhat it is: Shopkick is a free shopping rewards app that lets you earn money by performing tasks, rather than just spending money.

How it works: You earn points or “kicks” with easy tasks like walking into stores, scanning barcodes for specific products, shopping with a linked card, and shopping online. Once you’ve earned enough points, you can cash out for gift cards.

Pros:

  • The app is free and simple to use
  • Easy to earn kicks
  • Rewards selection is large
  • Gift cards are digital so they arrive quickly

Cons:

  • Generally can only receive gift cards
  • Can take a long time to accumulate enough to cash out for a gift card
  • App requires a lot of permissions, so you’ll have to disclose a lot of personal information

How to cash out: Redeem your kicks for free gift cards to stores like Target, Starbucks, Sephora, and Amazon. You can also redeem them for cash or other prizes Shopkick might offer, but those vary so you’ll need to keep an eye on those options.

Referral program: Similar to other apps, you can invite friends and family to use Shopkick using a unique referral code and link.

If they sign up or download the app using your invite code or link, you’ll receive 250 kicks as long as they walk in somewhere or scan the app within seven days of registering. You can also earn 250 kicks just for downloading the Shopkick app.

7. MyPoints

mypoints logoWhat it is: MyPoints is an online survey site and app that provides discount codes up to 40% off at nearly 2,000 stores.

How it works: Similar to Swagbucks, you can earn rewards by shopping online, watching videos, taking surveys, playing games, and reading the MyPoints emails. You can cash out for gift cards to Amazon or 75+ other retailers.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Easy to accumulate points
  • Receive payment quickly
  • Don’t have to provide lots of personal information

Cons:

  • Point-tracking system isn’t great, which can lead to lost points
  • Only available to residents of the U.S. and Canada
  • Some earnings take a while to show up in your account

How to cash out: There’s no minimum threshold to cash out using MyPoints, and you can receive gift cards or cash deposited into your PayPal account.

Referral program: You’ll get 25 points for each friend or family member who joins MyPoints using your referral link. If they make a $20 or greater purchase within 30 days of signing up, you get an extra 750 points and 10% of all their eligible points.

8. Honey

Honey logoWhat it is: Honey is a free browser extension, like Rakuten, that can help you automatically find online discount codes.

How it works: After installing the app, Honey will provide you with discount codes every time you shop online. You don’t have to do any manual searching.

Before checking out, click the Honey browser extension to see if there are any deals available. If there are, they’ll be applied to your purchase. There’s also a feature called Droplist that allows you to track prices on certain items and receive an alert when the price drops.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Compatible with all internet browsers
  • Available for iPhone and Android devices
  • Automatic savings; no searching for discount codes and coupons
  • Price tracker feature is handy for large or expensive purchases
  • Rewards program allows you to earn gift cards once you’ve spent a certain amount of money using Honey

Cons:

  • Won’t always find every discount code
  • Appears on all of your shopping pages
  • Must have the browser extension for Honey to work

How to cash out: Since Honey uses coupons and discount codes, there’s no money you’ll get back. The money you save is upfront. However, if you use Honey Gold, their rewards program, you can cash out for gift cards once you’ve reached 1,000 Honey Gold points.

Referral program: You can send a referral link to your friends and family that will earn you Honey Gold after they make their first purchase. Each friend you refer will net you $5 in Honey Gold.

Related: Honey Review: Pros, Cons, and How This Coupon Browser Extension Stacks Up

9. Fetch Rewards

Fetch Rewards LogoWhat it is: Fetch Rewards is another free grocery rebate app that gives you cash back on qualifying purchases.

How it works: After shopping, scan your receipt into the app. If there are any products that qualify for a rebate, Fetch Rewards will add those rebates to your account in the form of points.

Some are classified as “special offers” which will earn you extra points. Unlike Ibotta and others, you don’t need to pick your offers in advance, and there are no extra tasks to complete to claim an offer.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Provides simple ways to earn points
  • No special tasks to perform to unlock offers
  • Can claim rebates from grocery stores, drugstores, liquor stores, and warehouse stores like Costco

Cons:

  • Offers might have specific requirements or limitations (e.g., purchasing a certain quantity)
  • Amount you receive per offer can be low
  • Low number of offers available
  • Can only cash out your points for gift cards; you can’t get cash back

How to cash out: After you accumulate 3,000 points, you can cash out for gift cards to major retailers including Amazon, Target, and Sephora.

Referral program: You can earn 2,000 points for each person you refer to Fetch Rewards after they submit their first receipt. There’s no limit to how many people you can refer with your link.

10. Drop

What it is: Drop is a free app that rewards you for your everyday spending.

How it works: To get started, download the Drop app, create an account, and link a debit or credit card to start earning rewards. You’ll earn points whenever you shop with one of Drop’s partner brands. You can earn more rewards for referring friends, integrating other apps, completing Linked or Mobile offers, and more.

Pros:

  • Free and available on iPhone and Android devices
  • Has a browser extension
  • Works with both credit and debit cards
  • Can redeem your savings for gift cards
  • Points never expire
  • Rewards are automatic since it’s linked to a card

Cons:

  • Can’t redeem your points for cash
  • Can only receive gift cards
  • Only works if you pay with a debit or credit card
  • Cash-back options are limited
  • Must provide an email address to get the browser extension
  • Numerous complaints regarding their customer support

How to cash out: Every 1,000 points is worth $1. Once you reach 5,000 points, you can redeem them for gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Starbucks, and Target.

Referral program: Drop provides you with a referral code to send to friends and family. If they complete the registration process, you’ll each have $5 added to your account. The referral code is only good for up to 10 friends.

Related: Drop App Review: How to Get Cash Back On Top of Credit Card Rewards

11. Checkout 51

Checkout 51 LogoWhat it is: Like Ibotta, Checkout 51 is a free rebate app that lets you earn money back on your grocery shopping.

How it works: Download the free app, browse offers, and shop. Then scan your receipts to get cash back. Unlike Ibotta, you don’t have to claim offers at a specific store. You can shop wherever you want and still get rewarded for it. They update their offers every Thursday morning.

Pros:

  • Deals and rebates on produce
  • Some items qualify for bonus offers
  • Usually a significant number of $1 deals
  • Can use their deals in conjunction with other coupons and discounts
  • Offers are updated every Thursday

Cons:

  • Offers are only good for one week
  • Limited offers, so others can claim them before you have a chance
  • Must upload your receipts quickly (e.g., before the offer expires); if you’re forgetful, you could lose out on rebates

How to cash out: Once you reach the $20 threshold, you can cash out and receive your money via check. You can’t get your money through direct deposit or PayPal.

Referral program: You can refer friends to Checkout 51 using a unique referral link. If they sign up and redeem an offer, you’ll get $10 cash back, and they’ll earn $2. They can earn an additional $3 by redeeming three more offers.

12. Receipt Hog

Receipt Hog LogoWhat it is: Receipt Hog is a free receipt scanning app that lets you get cash back from scanning receipts from almost everywhere you shop.

How it works: All you need to do is download the app and scan your receipts. You can earn extra rewards and coins by playing mini-games through their Hog Slots, answering survey questions, and referring friends. Every receipt you submit also gets you an entry into their monthly sweepstakes, where winners get up to 5,000 coins.

Pros:

  • Don’t need to select offers in advance
  • Can submit receipts from virtually any store
  • Plenty of chances to earn extra coins
  • Possible to get actual cash back

Cons:

  • Can only upload three receipts from the same store each day
  • Receipts must be submitted within two weeks of purchase
  • To claim your coins, you must answer questions about your trip that will be used for market research

How to cash out: Once you reach 1,000 coins, you can trade them in for Amazon gift cards, PayPal cash, or magazine subscriptions.

Referral program: Receipt Hog has discontinued its referral program.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Here are a few tips to get the most out of these cash-back apps:

Use multiple apps. Since each app provides different offers, using a combination of them will ensure that you’re getting back the most money possible.

Take advantage of referral programs and bonuses. Whenever you can, encourage your friends and family to join some of these rebate programs. They’ll save money, and you’ll get extra points or cash added to your account.

Combine rebates with coupons. If you’re a savvy shopper, you’re probably already using coupons. Combining those discounts with app rebates puts even more money back in your wallet. You can also use this strategy with credit card rewards if you’re comfortable using a credit card for everyday expenses.

Shop using the apps’ portals. Apps like Ibotta have shopping portals you can use. When you make purchases through those links, you’ll get access to bigger discounts and rebates. Just make sure you’re only buying items you truly need.

Pay attention to the rules. Most apps and offers have limits, deadlines, and other program rules. Follow them so you can claim every offer possible. You don’t want to miss out on cash back because you forgot to scan a receipt in a timely fashion.

How to Find the Best Cash-Back Apps for You

The best cash-back apps for you depend on where you shop, how often you shop, and your preferences for earning rewards. But the best way to find your favorite cash-back app is to try them all and see which ones you like best.

Each of these tools offers a different experience, so don’t be afraid to sign up for more than one. You may find that certain apps have better deals on the products you normally buy, or that some of them require more effort than you prefer.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing your favorite: the best cash-back app should make your life easier and reward you for things you already do. The less effort you have to put in, the higher return on your time investment.

Author
Megan Robinson

Hi! I'm Megan. I'm a personal finance enthusiast on a mission to help millennial men and women understand and make more money. Along with writing and editing content, I work one-on-one with individuals as a financial and behavioral money coach.

5 comments
Haydee Villanueva
Haydee Villanueva

Can you only use one of these at a time or can you combine? Which has better cash back offers, Ebates or Dosh?

Damien
Damien

I have found these apps cover different areas. Point in case, Dosh gives me cash back when I go to restaurants. Once you accumulate a specific dollar amount, you can cash it in. With Dosh, you can use any type of card (i.e., debit or credit card). Ebates generally tends to be internet based and the rebate percentage changes from day to day. Plus, you need to use a credit card. The percentages on Ebates can be as high as 20% and you receive a check in the mail. You have to access the websites through their app though.

David Gatlin
David Gatlin

I’ve just started using the cashback app Pei in the last month, and it works great! It works similarly to Dosh and Drop–you link your credit card and passively save money. There are plenty of national restaurants and retailers in the network. You can get $5 for free when you sign up.

Pauline B Molenaar
Pauline B Molenaar

I already have checkout 51, Ebates, Ibotta. Every little bit helps!

Renee
Renee

I have been using Fetch Rewards. It’s very low maintenance as you simply take pictures of the acceptable receipts and any eligible item rewards are calculated for you and added to your account balance. Even if you have no items to get extra points all eligible receipts give you 25 points. There is a 2000 point referral bonus for both the person referring and the one referred. The gift card amount begins at 3000 points which is equal to $3.

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