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Saving $1 can feel like a teeny-tiny win. But imagine saving one dollar, ten times. How about saving one dollar on multiple purchases over the course of months, years, or decades?
Now, that $1 doesn’t seem so insignificant.
Say hello to cash back rewards.
Old cash back programs were only available via credit card accounts. Today, mobile apps like RebateKey place reward opportunities in your hands. By submitting receipts and completing fun “missions,” you could save hundreds on your purchases.
Shopping is part of our everyday lives, from the grocery store to the mall. Make your purchases count this year by downloading the best cash back apps for 2021.
What Are Cash Back Apps?
Maybe you’ve earned reward points via frequent flyer programs or your credit card account. Cash back apps work similarly to those systems.
After you buy a designated item, cash back apps grant you a partial rebate. This rebate could come in many forms, including:
- Direct payment
- Gift cards
- Designated free items
- Exclusive discounts
Some apps give rebates for single store use—i.e., you’ll earn free gift cards or cash to spend at one store only. Others directly reward free money via an online account for your free use.
How do these programs benefit retailers? A cash back reward app works on referral commission. Every time you buy an item with a cash back app, the store rewards the app. Then, the app passes down part of that reward to you. Everyone wins in the circle of rebate life.
Top 5 Cash Back Apps for 2021
Recently, cash back apps have exploded in popularity—in fact, our RebateKey family has grown to 400,000 members over two years! As discount experts, we’re here to tell you which apps are worth your time and money.
From buying the trendiest clothes to the latest technology, here are the best cash back apps for savvy shopping in 2021. We also recommend checking out our other blog post all about the best cash back apps for groceries!
Yep, it’s us. We believe that our rebate program gets you the best cash back for online purchases. Download our browser extension and app for exclusive discounts with dozens of major sellers (Amazon, eBay, and more). The best part? We offer 100% cash back deals—let the smart shopping begin.
- Up to 100% real cash back
- Wide variety of online stores
- Zero pesky surveys or ads
- No receipt scans necessary
- Online shopping only
- Limited to direct payment (no gift cards)
A popular option, iBotta is an easy and flexible program for earning rewards. With iBotta, you can save on both in-store and online purchases. No coupon code or promo code necessary. However, you do need to upload your receipt and complete an assigned “task.” If watching silly ads drives you up the wall, this is not the app for you.
- Plenty of buying opportunities
- Easy-to-navigate interface
- Zero coupons or promo codes
- Task-based rewards system (i.e., watching ads or submitting polls)
- Scanned receipt requirement
- Major brands only
Get a kick out of surveys? Then take a look at Swagbucks. You can earn reward points via completing polls, browsing the internet, or watching videos—all from the comfort of your living room. For those with time to burn and no need for in-store perks, Swagbucks can shave a few dollars off your next bill.
- Fun & interactive
- Multiple pathways to earn points
- User-friendly app design
- Low earnings per time spent
- Limited gift card options
- Paypal account only direct cash payment (charges a transfer fee)
4. Receipt Hog
Cash back apps aren’t just for big-name retailers. Receipt Hog offers rewards for every qualifying purchase you make. With a single receipt upload, you can earn cash back online shopping, at your local flower market, or even abroad. However, Receipt Hog has a weekly “coin” or points limit, so frequent shoppers will miss out on better rewards.
Rewards all purchases
Fun surveys & sweepstakes
Only requires scanned receipts
- Limited weekly earnings
- Mines high amounts of user data
- Poor app design quality
We understand if scanning receipts feels like a chore. That’s where apps like Dosh (and RebateKey) save the day. Once you link your bank account, Dosh transfers all usable card purchases into rewards, from hotel bookings to dining out. For big spenders or vacationers, Dosh might work for your lifestyle.
- Seamless purchase-to-rewards system
- Referrals opportunities for extra cash
- Heavy user data protection
- Phone app only (no website)
- No surveys or sweepstakes earnings
- Restricts credit card usage with competing apps
Surfing the web for unexpired promo codes? Honey brings the online discounts to you. If you use Google Chrome, their browser extension automatically applies coupons to your shopping cart. They even reward limited cash back to frequent users, although only via gift cards.
- Offers app & browser extension
- Automatic savings (no uploads required)
- Referral program available
- Gift card rewards for loyal users
- Can miss certain promo codes
- Browser extension exclusive to Google Chrome
- Gift cards require a minimum spending amount
Get More Cash Back With These Handy Tips
Cash back apps are mutually beneficial for sellers and buyers. However, it’s easy to overspend with such amazing deals. Remember that rebate programs should help you save, not lose, your money.
Here are some of the best ways to stay a smart shopper with cash back apps:
Consider payment methods – When choosing a cash back app, make sure the payment methods work for you. If looking for direct money only, then don’t choose programs that exclusively offer gift cards.
Stay detailed – To unlock rewards, you’ll often have to follow specific buying steps. Always double-check your purchase to ensure it’s the correct item. Mixing up the size, brand, and labels are common shopper mistakes.
Prepare a list – Scoring major discounts can feel exhilarating. However, don’t ruin your budget for pants you’ll never wear. Write out a list of desired items when browsing deals. That way, you can stay on track as a savvy shopper.
Stack deals – Don’t be afraid to combine rewards when possible! If multiple apps offer separate discounts for the same item (promo codes vs. cash back), then stack your deals.
Save Big in 2021 With Cash Back Apps
Smart and thrifty shopping is easier now than ever. With a quality cash back app like RebateKey, you can take your 2021 shopping to the next level. All you need is your smartphone and a love for excellent discounts.
Download our app and start saving today—cash rewards are waiting just around the aisle corner.