There are so many credit cards and banks vying for your business these days that many offer incentives in the form of cash back rewards. Points are earned as a percentage of what you spend on the card. Then you exchange the points and receive cash back, gift cards, or miles. There are even apps that help connect you to rewards just by linking your credit and bank accounts. All of them add up to savings for you.
Navigating so many offers and services can be tricky. Use this as a guide to find the best cash back apps.
Why You Should Use Cash Back and Reward Apps
You could spend money and not get a bonus. Or you can spend money and get rewarded with cash back and rewards.
Why wouldn't you spend the money and get the rewards? It's easy.
The rewards offered to spenders are not playing hard to get. They are given on everyday purchases you already make. Consider cash back offerings as icing on the cake. It's a great way to earn extra bucks on purchases you would make anyway.
Best Cash Back Apps
Gone are the days of clipping coupons to save money. Today, apps make it easier for you to get the best deals and earn cash back on your purchases. Some provide returns in the form of gift cards at your favorite store. Nearly all of them require that you merely keep shopping as you normally would. Here are some cash back apps that won't make you rich but will provide legitimate rewards:
Enroll in the mobile app, connect your cards, and scroll through the variety of current cash back opportunities. Simply spend money at the stores and receive the cashback offerings without needing coupons or scanning receipts.
When you have earned $25 in cash, you transfer the funds to your bank, Venmo, or PayPal account.Download Dosh App | Read Our Dosh App Review
BettermentBetterment as an investing option, but did you know they also offer a checking account? With Betterment you can earn cash back rewards with thousands of merchants, both online and in-store. Plus, you'll get personalized offers based on your spending habits and location.
You can easily check for current offers on the earn rewards section of your Betterment account. The service is powered by Dosh, a service that provides cash back rewards using nearly any linked debit or credit card.
Rewards are paid out as soon as possible- sometimes as soon as just one day! They are automatically deposited into your Betterment checking account, so you don't need to worry about transferring funds.Sign Up for Betterment | Read Our Betterment Checking Review
To earn cash back, install the extension to Chrome, link your cards, and activate your account. Earny likes to say you can get 20% cash back just for shopping online, but most brands offer only 4% back on your purchases.
Another special feature is Earny's partnership with Amazon. Add and track your wish list through your Amazon account, and whenever an item you're interested in goes on sale, you receive an alert, so you know when to buy.
As you collect points, you can turn them into electronic gift cards for big-name stores at any time. The rewards begin at $3 and climb to $50. You can get gift cards from Amazon, Target, Walmart, and many others. As soon as you redeem, you receive the cards and can shop within seconds.
When you have accumulated enough SBs, you can redeem them for gift cards for the same big-name retailers or choose to get the cash back directly to your PayPal account.
Swagbucks also provides a way to earn SBs without shopping. By answering surveys and watching videos to help its partners' marketing efforts, you can earn SBs and receive free gift cards. You can also check out exclusive deals and receive free samples. Some partners reward you for searching the web using Swagbucks Yahoo!-powered search engine or playing online games.
The same parent company actually owns MyPoints as Swagbucks. You can earn points by filling out surveys, playing games, and reading emails. The site also provides coupon codes that can be used while shopping online.
You can use your points to exchange gift cards at places like CVS, Old Navy, and Home Depot. Or you can convert your points into airline miles.
How to Get Money With Cash Back Credit Cards
You can also earn cash back when you use credit cards that offer the benefit. These cards typically provide you with 1% to 2% back on every purchase you make using them. Discover may be the most famous of credit cards offering this benefit, but many cards are offering this with multiple ways to earn cash back, including:
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards
- Chase Sapphire Preferred®
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Citi® Double Cash Card
Here are some ideas for ways you can earn even more cash back with your credit card:
1. Shop Online
Just like with cash back apps, credit cards often offer cashback for purchases made shopping online. Credit cards will feature special deals and categories to boost your cash back earnings, such as the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, which provides 5% cash back for categories you opt into each quarter. You also get 2% cash back for everyday purchases in one category you opt into, such as gas, groceries, and dining, and 1% cash back for all additional eligible purchases.
This option rounds up your spending to the next full dollar and gives you the difference. For example, if you make a purchase of $10.13, you receive 87¢ into your account. Bank of America's Keep the Change® savings program will do this.
3. Get Bonus Rewards
Many credit card companies offer fantastic sign-up bonuses to get you to choose them over a competitor. These, in turn, give you the best bang for your cash back buck.
For example, some credit card companies offer a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points if you spend a certain amount of money within your first three months as a cardholder. These bonus points can equate to free hotel nights or a free airline ticket for travel-related credit cards.
4. Be Strategic
Getting the biggest rewards requires having multiple credit cards and being strategic in how you use them. One card may offer better rewards only for dining out, while another may give its best rewards on travel expenses, and yet another focuses on gas or groceries. Instead of using one card for all of your spendings, use the cards with the biggest rewards by the category in which you are spending.
For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred® provides 2x points on travel expenses; PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card gives you 5x points on gas; and US Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card provides 4x points on dining, including food delivery and takeout. Use an appropriate card each time you shop to collect the biggest rewards.
How to Invest Your Cash Back
If you really want to benefit from the rewards you receive through cash back offers, invest your cash back rewards and watch them grow. A number of credit cards offer investment contribution opportunities, including American Express cards that partner with Charles Schwab and Morgan Stanley. Such cards allow you to deposit your redeemed points into your Charles Schwab or Morgan Stanley investment account.
You can also use your points to invest in a 529 college savings plan with a Upromise® Mastercard® offered by Barclays. Earn 1.25% cash back with the Upromise card on all purchases, and use the round-up method to contribute even more to your 529 college savings plan.
There Are Many Ways to Get Cash Back and Save
If you are not taking advantage of cashback offerings when spending your hard-earned money, it's like having a hole in your pocket and letting change scatter throughout the day. Using a cash back apps and credit cards, rounding up and investing the savings are modern-day ways of saving every penny. It may seem small, but over time the savings can add up.