The Best Cash Back Sites You Shouldn’t Shop Without: The 2021 ListCash Back Apps and Sites
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If you’re not yet using cash back sites when you do your shopping, you’ve been missing out.
Maybe you heard about rewards programs and thought they were a scam since they sounded too good to be true. However, you really can get some of your money back when you buy everyday items through certain retailers.
You sign up for free membership and then make your purchases through the cash back site instead of directly from the retailer.
Cash back sites make their money by getting a small commission from the retailer when shoppers make purchases. They pass some of that commission on to you.
There are many sites to choose from. Some offer cash back directly while others give you points you can redeem for gift cards.
You may want to start with sites that have arrangements with the retailers you already shop with. Since you were already going to buy the items, you’ll get added benefits.
Things to Bear in Mind When Evaluating Cash Back Sites
This article will highlight some of the best cash back sites for 2021 but there are many websites out there making a range of promises.
Any time you come across a site offering cash back or rewards, you need to do your research. Look for reviews about the site and see if they are positive or negative.
You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure everything is above board.
Once you’ve determined a site is legitimate, you need to make sure it’s right for you. Different sites have different guidelines for payouts.
Some give you an immediate refund while others may only pay out on a monthly or quarterly schedule.
Some sites may require you to reach a certain level of earnings before you can redeem your money.
Another thing that varies is the payout method. Some sites will mail you a check while others will pay you in gift cards or via PayPal.
You should also check if the offers usually apply to products you actually buy.
The idea of deals can be tempting but you should use cash back sites to save money on things you already buy or already intended to buy. If you purchase things you don’t need or use, this defeats the purpose.
With these tips covered, let’s look at some the best cash back sites which you should consider if you want to save money this year.
Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is one of the most popular cash back sites and apps. It can give you as much as 40 percent cash back at over 2, 500 online stores, including well-known ones like Amazon, Macy’s, eBay, and Kohl’s.
Service brands like Expedia and Groupon are also on Rakuten.
This is one of the advantages of Rakuten. You were probably going to shop at these retailers even without the possibility of cash back so why not do it in a way that’s rewarding?
Rakuten is easy to use. You simply go to the Rakuten app or website, search for the store you need, click the link, and shop as usual.
You can also choose from the varying deals and offers displayed on the site or app. When you make a purchase and your order is reported to Rakuten, cash back is applied to your account.
You can get cash back when you shop in some brick and mortar stores including Sephora, Crate&Barrel, Ashley HomeStore, and JCPenney.
How to Redeem Cash Back from Rakuten
The amount you get back varies from one percent to 40 percent. Every quarter, you get a PayPal payment or a “Big Fat check”.
This is in contrast to some sites which offer you a gift card to a specific store. You can spend your Rakuten refund however you want.
If Rakuten has a relationship with many of the online stores you frequent, you can get back quite a large sum.
It allows you to earn cash back on a range of purchases from over 300 retailers including Target, Walmart, and CVS.
New retailers are added often so you should keep checking back if you really want to save.
The Ibotta app is easy to use and you get several cash back offers which you can check on your phone as you go shopping.
The first thing you need to do is download the app and sign up. You then answer a few questions and select your favorite stores.
Once you do this, you will see offers from these stores on your home page when you open the app.
However, you can still browse additional stores right on your phone.
When you see an offer you like, select it and it will be added to your Ibotta account.
Things to Bear in Mind When Using Ibotta
Remember to check the details of any offers you’re interested in since there are disclaimers sometimes. You may need to purchase a particular product or shop at a specific store.
After you’ve made your purchases, you can redeem the offer in the app by uploading a photo of your receipt. If your receipt is particularly long, simply upload multiple photos.
Some companies allow you to make purchases from directly within the app, meaning you don’t need to visit a store and you can shop from wherever you are.
Ibotta automatically recognizes these types of purchases so you don’t need to upload a photo or do anything else.
Regardless of how you make your purchase, the refund is added to your account within 24 to 48 hours.
Once you accumulate at least $20 in the account, you can withdraw the funds via PayPal, Venmo or gift cards.
You can also make money when you refer other people to Ibotta.
The site and app let users earn cash when they do many of the things they normally do online like use search engines, watch videos, and play games.
However, Swagbucks also has a cash back component for online shopping.
You can earn up to 20 percent cash back from more than 500 online retailers.
When you shop, you get reward points that can be redeemed for gift cards or PayPal deposits.
You can choose among gift cards from thousands of retailers and restaurants including Starbucks, Walmart, Target, and Amazon.
If you opt to receive cash, you get $1 for every 100 points.
GetUpside gives you major deals on gas, groceries, and restaurants in some states.
You can get up to 25 cents per gallon cash back on gas at more than 5, 000 gas stations in Florida, DC, Texas, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
This includes big brands like Exxon, Shell, BP, Marathon, and Sunoco.
You can also get up to 15 percent cash back on groceries when you shop at grocery stores in the DC area.
In addition to this, you can get as much as 35 percent cash back at hundreds of restaurants in the DC area, Austin, and Houston.
To get started, you look at prices at nearby gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and claim an offer. You fill your tank, purchase your groceries, or grab a meal and pay the listed price with a debit or credit card.
You then take a photo of your receipt and upload it using the mobile app.
You receive your refunds via PayPal or check. The good news is that you can cash out your PayPal balance anytime you want since no minimum limit is imposed.
You can also pair your GetUpside offer with other coupons or points.
All this makes GetUpside one of the easiest cash back sites to use.
Since you get refunds for basic necessities like food and gas, you can earn quite a bit.
This is another exciting cash back option you can use in 2019. Dosh was launched late in 2017 so it is still quite new, and you may not have heard of it.
However, it is proving quite attractive to a growing number of shoppers.
Dosh gives you a refund of up to ten percent every time you spend money at participating retailers with a credit or debit card.
To get started, download the app and link to your credit and debit cards. Shop at participating outlets and watch your cash back earnings begin to grow.
You can get refunds when you shop both online or in-store.
You don’t need to scan receipts, use promo codes, or use coupons like you do with some other cash back systems — you will automatically get your refund once you make a purchase.
This is one of the biggest advantages of this app.
Another way to earn cash back from Dosh is to refer friends and businesses.
When you sign up, you get a referral code you can send to others via email, text or social media. If they download the app and link their card, you get a $5 referral bonus.
You can earn even more if you successfully refer businesses.
You can get your funds via a direct deposit to your bank account or PayPal when you reach a minimum of $25.
Shopkick is another cash back site and app you should try this year. You get rewarded for shopping both online and in-store.
You can even get rewards or “kicks” as they are called for simply walking into a partner store. You just need to have the Shopkick app open and your Bluetooth turned on.
You can also earn points in-store when you scan select products featured in the Discover section. Think of it as a fun treasure hunt.
Of course, you can also get points by making purchases with a linked credit card or purchasing select items and submitting your receipt through the app.
You get kicks when you visit online partners, view certain offers, make online purchases, and watch in-app videos.
Partners include Best Buy, Aerie, Reebok, Yankee Candle, and Marshall’s.
You can then redeem your points for digital gift cards from lots of retailers including Uber, Target, Amazon, Starbucks, and Groupon.
According to the Shopkick website, most people who sign up can earn their first gift card in a week.
Another way to essentially get paid to shop is to use BeFrugal. This site lets you get refunds of up to 40 percent from more than 5,000 retailers and other businesses spanning travel, beauty, electronics, and home.
You also benefit from thousands of exclusive coupons and deals included with membership. You can combine coupons with cash back for maximum savings.
Partners include Bed Bath and Beyond, Booking.com, Amazon, Sam’s Club, and The Home Depot.
You earn cash back whenever you make a purchase.
In addition to the website and mobile app, you can install the BeFrugal button on Chrome and Firefox. That allows you to get rewards even if you don’t remember to manually activate cash back.
BeFrugal offers a 125 percent cash back rate guarantee. This means if you find another cash back site offering a higher rate, the company will meet it and add another 25 percent.
BeFrugal will pay your earnings via check, direct deposit, gift card or PayPal. For checks and direct deposits, you must withdraw a minimum of $25.
Payments are usually sent within one business day of your payment request.
Shop at your favorite stores using Shopathome.com to begin earning cash back on your purchases.
Shopathome partners with thousands of retailers and sites including AliExpress, VRBO, Priceline, InterContinental Hotels Group, and even Norton Security and Antivirus.
If you want to earn cash back from products and services across a wide range of categories, this is one of the best cash back sites for you.
There are several travel partners involved so if you often book accommodation and flights, your rewards will add up quickly.
The Savings button reminds you of opportunities for refunds as you shop online so you don’t miss out on savings.
Once you have amassed $20, you can request your money through PayPal, check or an Amazon gift card. Also, you can get a $10 bonus when you sign up for Shopathome.
This site works a little differently than others on this list. Don’t you just hate when you purchase something and then the price drops a couple days later?
The Paribus app addresses this. It examines your purchases and gives you a refund when prices drop.
It can be difficult to research how retailers handle price drops but Paribus does the hard work for you.
When you sign up for Paribus, you select an email address for the app to scan. It looks for receipts from your online purchases then checks to see if there have been any price reductions.
Paribus then works to get the difference in prices for you.
Nia Simone McLeod is a personal finance researcher and writer for Money Done Right. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University, she started her writing career by going freelance and producing content for clients on a variety of different topics including personal finance. When she’s not tapping away at her laptop, she’s either curating her next great Spotify playlist or stuffing her face at the local ramen shop. Nia currently resides in Richmond, Virginia.