Friday, January 31, 2020

7 Best Cashback Apps That Everyone Should Use

Everyone is looking for ways to make or save extra money, so I thought it’d be a good idea to share all of the best cashback apps I use to help me optimize my everyday spending. If you use all of the apps I write about in this post, you’ll put yourself in a pretty good position to optimize your everyday spending.

Before we get started with all of the best cashback apps that I use, let me first talk a little bit about how I approach spending. My philosophy with spending money goes like this – anytime I have to spend money on something, I want to do so in a way that will get me the most return on my spend. That’s one of the main reasons that I open up a new credit card every few months. By doing that, I’m able to get money back in the form of hefty credit card signup bonuses, which I can then use for free travel, all while spending the same money I’d already be spending anyway.
Perhaps the easiest way I optimize my spending is by using a plethora of apps that run in the background. These apps give me cash back when I spend money at certain places – either in cash, credits, or gift cards. What’s great about all of these apps are that they’re entirely passive and run in the background without you even noticing them. In short, they’re a great way for you to optimize your financial life just a little bit more.
Note that the apps I talk about in this post differ from the receipt apps that require you to take a picture of your receipt in order to earn cash back. I’ve always found that those kinds of apps – Ibotta, for example – took me too much time for what I was getting in return, plus I didn’t like the fact that those kinds of apps required me to buy specific things at the store. 
With all that out of the way, let’s take a look at the best cashback apps that I think everyone should use.

The Best Cashback Apps

If you’re just looking for a list of the best cashback apps, here’s what I recommend (I use every single one of these apps personally). Make sure to read through the rest of the post to learn more about why I recommend each of these apps.
  1. Dosh (Get $1 if you sign up using my link)
  2. Drop (Get $5 if you sign up using my link)
  3. Rakutan (Get $10 if you sign up using my link)
  4. Freebird (Get $10 if you sign up using my link and referral code, r33cc)
  5. Pei (Get $5 when you use my referral code, constantine)

1. Dosh

The first app I recommend you use is Dosh. It’s a mobile-only app that tracks your spending and gives you cash back for purchases you make at certain restaurants and stores. I’ve been using Dosh for over a year now to earn cashback on my spend at various restaurants and breweries around me.
What makes Dosh really great is that it’s completely passive once you set it up. You just link your credit cards to Dosh, and if you spend money at a participating business, you automatically get cash back to your Dosh account. You can then cash out your earnings to your regular bank account once you hit the minimum cashout requirement.
In my time using Dosh, I’ve found that it instantly recognizes when I spend money at a participating place and then credits my Dosh account immediately. It’s pretty crazy how fast it works. For me, Dosh has worked out really well simply because a lot of breweries in my neighborhood seem to offer 5% or more cashback. When you combine that with the credit card rewards that I earn (typically at least 2% back), I’m basically snagging myself a 7% discount at most breweries – all without having to do anything!
I wouldn’t recommend you go out of your way to eat or drink at places you wouldn’t normally go to, but you should definitely link your cards to Dosh to give you a little bit of return on spend for random places you might happen to go to.
Even better, if you sign up for Dosh using my link and link a credit card, you’ll get a free $1 to start off your account. You can’t beat that for a few seconds of work.

2. Drop

Another app I’ve been using to get a little bit of cash back on my everyday spend is Drop. Like other cashback apps, you link your credit cards to Drop and then you earn points that you can redeem for gift cards. 1,000 points are worth $1. It’s not a ton of money, but again, it’s money you’re earning for the money you’re already spending anyway.
When you first sign up for Drop, you’ll have to choose five primary stores that you can earn points at. I picked Chipotle, Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and McDonalds as my five base stores. Other stores include Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and some clothing stores that I don’t really shop at very often. My advice is to pick the places that work for you.
Drop also offers special deals which allow you to earn more points for certain purchases. These are rotating categories that you technically have to activate, so every once in a while, you’ll need to go into the app and activate these deals.
It only takes a few minutes to sign up for Drop and get everything set up, so it’s definitely worth the time to set things up. Again, don’t change your spending habits just because of this app, but it’s not bad to just have Drop passively running in the background for you.
If you sign up for Drop using my link, you’ll get $5 to start off your account.

3. Rakutan

Rakutan is pretty much a no-brainer Google Chrome extension that everyone should have in their browser. With Rakutan, you get cashback on almost any purchase you make online – typically around 2-5% back, but often more depending on the store and the time of year.
The extension only takes a few seconds to set up, and once it’s in your browser, it’ll automatically notify you if you’re on a website where Rakutan offers cashback. From there, you just activate the extension and continue with your purchase as normal. Rakutan then tracks your purchase and gives you whatever percent cashback you earned.
If you’re wondering how Rakutan is able to pay this cashback, it basically gets a referral fee from the store when someone buys something with Rakutan activated. Rakutan then shares this referral fee with you. The alternative would be that you don’t use Rakutan, in which case you’re just not getting back anything at all – so naturally, Rakutan makes a lot of sense to use.
You get paid by Rakutan once per quarter, so it’s a nice little bonus when you get a Rakutan check in the mail. In my time using Rakutan, I’ve earned back several hundred bucks – all while spending on stuff I was already going to buy anyway. And all I had to do was take a few seconds to set up the Rakutan Google Chrome extension.
If you combine Rakutan with the return you’re getting on your credit cards, pretty much any purchase you make online should be worth at least a 5-10% discount. Basically, if you buy anything online, you should make sure you have Rakutan set up – otherwise, you’re just missing out on free cashback.
If you use my link, Rakutan will give you a $10 signup bonus once you make your first purchase using the Rakutan browser extension!

4. Freebird

Freebird is a new app that I’ve found that I’ve now added to my best cashback app list. If you ever use Uber to go anywhere, this is a must-have app that you need to download. Here’s how Freebird works.
A lot of people are taking Ubers to go to various places. At the same time, there are hundreds of restaurants looking to find ways to get people in the door. Freebird partners with restaurants to offer cashback if you take an Uber to that restaurant. For the restaurant, it’s basically a marketing expense – if you take an Uber to their restaurant using the app, the restaurant pays you something, which is worth it for them since it gets a customer through the door.  Below is a video from Freebird that explains how it works:
So, basically, instead of ordering Ubers through the Uber app, you should instead order them using the Freebird app. It’s exactly the same thing as ordering an Uber, but by using the Freebird app, you at least get cashback on your rides.
I’ve found that cashback rates tend to be about $4 for the restaurants near me, so if you go to a restaurant that’s not too far away, you can basically subsidize or completely cover the cost of your Uber ride. If you order an Uber to go to a non-participating place, you earn points. 5,000 points in the app equals $10 cashback. I’ve already used Freebird a few times to try it out, and it’s worked out great for me.
If you use my referral link, you’ll get $10 cashback on your first two Uber rides ($5 cashback for each ride). To make sure that the referral link worked, be sure to enter my code, r33cc, in the promo codes section of the app (you’ll see it when you click on “profile” in the app).
Interestingly, Freebird lets you stack various promo codes, which means, at the time of writing this, you can get yourself $70 worth of free Uber rides with these promo codes. 

5. Pei

Pei is a new cashback app that works similarly to Dosh and Drop. Like with those apps, all you have to do is link your credit cards to Pei, and then Pei gives you a certain percentage of cashback at participating restaurants and stores. What’s interesting is that Pei seems to have a lot of national retailers as well, such as Walgreens and Starbucks, so you have a lot more opportunities to earn cashback on your everyday spend.
I’ve been using Pei for a little bit now, and it seems like it stacks with Dosh and Drop, which means that you can have more opportunities to really maximize your cashback. The app is still pretty new compared to a lot of these other apps, but I think its worth using as another passive cashback layer to your cashback system, especially given how many big retailers they seem to have in their system. If it stops stacking with Dosh and Drop, I’ll remove it from this list, but for the time being, it stacks, so its worth using.
Download Pei using my referral code, constantine, and you will get $5 once you make your first purchase with a linked card.


RebateKey is an interesting website I found where you can search for items offering a rebate on their website, buy the items from Amazon, submit the purchase information to RebateKey, then get the rebate check in the mail about a month later. The rebates vary but typically range from 50% to even 100% of the purchase price. 
Based on my research, the purpose of RebateKey is for Amazon sellers to boost up their sales – most likely in order to improve their Amazon search rankings. 
I’ve used RebateKey several times now and have received my rebates each time without any issue, so I can say that this website is legit.
You’ll need to search the RebateKey website to see if there’s anything interesting to you, but if you’re looking to buy random things from Amazon for very cheap (or even free), you should try out RebateKey. 
If you feel like supporting this blog, feel free to use my RebateKey referral link.


There are a lot of apps out there that can save you money or give you some cashback on your everyday spend.
You obviously won’t get rich from these apps, but it’s at least something. And none of this requires you to change any of your spending habits. You’re basically adding a cashback component to your financial life that runs passively in the background.

It literally takes a few minutes to set up all of these accounts. Most of you could probably read this post and set up all these apps in the next 15 or 20 minutes. And once set up, you can sit back and just keep doing what you normally do.