Within the growing gig economy, there are more opportunities than ever to make money — even without doing much work. In this post, I’ll cover the best cash back apps to sign up for now. All of them are free and can help you earn and save money, without the effort of a true side hustle.
From cash back offers to gift cards, you’ll learn about the easiest ways to earn free money. All you have to do is keep reading.
What are Cash Back Apps?
A cash back app is any platform that allows you to earn extra money by shopping or completing tasks. Each site or app is a little different and comes with different ways to earn. You’ll also see a wide variety of rewards, depending on which one you choose.
Cash back apps are almost always free to use, and enrollment is simple. Plus, you can use as many of them as you like. Generally, all you need is an email address to sign up, and you’re good to go.
11 Best Cash Back Apps for 2023
Here are the best cash back apps for you to start using today:
- Capital One Shopping
- Fetch Rewards
- Checkout 51
1. Capital One Shopping
The app is relatively new. It’s a browser extension that automatically tracks down coupons, better deals, and rewards when you shop online. It’s completely free, and you don’t need to be a Capital One customer to use it. The app works with more than 30,000 online retailers.
Here’s how it works: Just shop online, and the browser extension operates in the background, searching for various benefits. When it’s time to check out, the app automatically applies your coupon codes, provides a link to a lower price, or lets you know how many reward points you stand to earn.
You can redeem them for gift cards when you build up enough rewards. You’ll have plenty of gift card options, including Walmart and eBay.
And it’s as easy as that. Just sign up, let the app do the work, and enjoy your rewards.
PayPal Honey is another Chrome extension that works similarly to Capital One Shopping. However, there are a few differences that might be more appealing, depending on what you’re looking for.
Honey is free to download and install, and it works in the background while you shop. It automatically adds coupons and promo codes to your cart on more than 30,000 sites — but it doesn’t stop there.
Honey also has a handy feature called Droplist. If you’re considering a purchase but aren’t ready to buy, add it to your Droplist. Honey will keep an eye on it for you. If the price drops, you’ll be the first to know.
This feature is even more useful if you’re a regular Amazon shopper. Honey compares various sellers on the app, taking shipping and Prime membership into consideration. It tracks prices and can even give you a price history, so you always know if you’re getting a deal.
Ibotta is an app that can earn you cash when shopping online, in-store, or on your phone. The app works with hundreds of sites, including online retailers, food delivery services, travel sites, and more.
To use Ibotta online, just shop at your favorite stores as you normally would, such as Best Buy, The Home Depot, and Target. When you make an online purchase, Ibotta automatically credits your account with your cash back rewards.
For in-store shopping, it’s almost just as simple. When you’re headed to the store, first open up the Ibotta app. If the store partners with Ibotta, you can add a cash back deal to your linked card. When you buy something, the money credits to your account, just like online. Plus, even if you forget ahead of time, you can submit receipts and get cash back after the fact.
To withdraw your earnings, just link Ibotta with your PayPal account. You’ll need at least $20 earned to cash out, and you can expect to receive a payment within three business days.
The mobile app is available on both iOS and Android. It has a 4.5-star (out of 5) rating in the Google Play Store and a 4.8-star (out of 5) rating in the App Store.
Swagbucks is a popular app that offers many different options for cash back. Like many rewards sites, you can take paid online surveys, but you can also earn with tasks that take less effort. These include playing games, watching videos, and, you guessed it, online shopping.
To earn with Swagbucks by shopping, you can choose from more than 1500 retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks. But, instead of discounts or direct cash, you’ll earn points called SB. Each point is worth one cent. Once you reach 300 SB, you can redeem them for gift cards or PayPal cash.
Swagbucks also offers cash back for grocery shopping. It partners with a ton of national chains, so you can earn wherever you shop. All you have to do is scan receipts on the app once you’re finished at the grocery store, and you’ll get your SB reward.
Plus, you get a $10 sign-up bonus when you enroll with Swagbucks. You might have to complete tasks to earn it officially, but it’ll still be easy extra cash. You can also earn extra points through its loyalty program, which entitles you to a share of the earnings of any referrals.
MyPoints is extremely similar to Swagbucks, which is no coincidence because they are owned by the same company. MyPoints doesn’t offer nearly as many ways to earn as Swagbucks, but its cash back shopping platform is virtually the same.
With MyPoints, you can earn up to 40% back on every purchase with partner retailers. These include Kohl’s, Barnes & Noble, and Old Navy, plus 2,000 or so more. Just shop through the MyPoints portal to earn, and your points will automatically collect in your rewards app.
To earn a payout, you need to build up at least $3 worth of MyPoints, which you can use to get free gift cards. Unfortunately, if you’d rather take cash, you need to wait until you have $25 worth of points.
When you sign up, you’ll also get a free $10 Visa or Amazon gift card once you spend $20 or more on the platform.
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is one of the most popular cash back shopping apps around. It provides a great way to earn money on your everyday purchases and has already paid out more than $2 billion in cash back.
Within Rakuten, you can make cash back purchases, find coupon codes, and more. You should also be on the lookout for special offers, which Rakuten regularly offers up. Even if you shop outside the portal, Rakuten’s browser extension will send you notifications if you’re in line for a deal.
The biggest selling point of Rakuten is its pay structure. It’s less of a hassle than most sites like it, and you won’t have to worry about redeeming points. Instead, Rakuten pays its users quarterly, via PayPal or paper check, no matter the balance.
The platform also has a solid welcome bonus, with $10 up for grabs when you spend $25 or more.
7. Fetch Rewards
Fetch is a newer app that allows you to earn points by scanning receipts for any store or restaurant. Rather than partnering with retailers, Fetch partners with specific brands, like Ben & Jerry’s and Doritos. So, even if you’re just picking up snacks at the gas station, you can still earn.
Each time you submit a receipt, you’ll earn at least 25 points with Fetch. To redeem your points for gift cards, you’ll need a minimum of 3,000 points. There are a ton of different gift cards available, including Amazon, Xbox, and AMC.
Fetch also offers a referral program that’ll earn you 2,000 points for every new user you bring in.
8. Checkout 51
Checkout 51 is an app specifically designed to save you money on gas and groceries. The app partners with over 5,000 gas stations, plus a ton of stores and brands that you’ll love. It’s free to use and takes just a few minutes to sign up.
Every Thursday, your app will update with new savings opportunities. When you find the ones you’ll use, just add them to your shopping list. After you’ve checked out, click redeem on each item you bought, then upload your receipt. Once it’s approved, all of the cash you earned is credited to your Checkout 51 account.
You need to have at least $20 in your account to request a payout. Fortunately, Checkout 51 pays in real cash, and you’ll get in a check in the mail after you cash out.
Shopkick is an app that aims to reward you for your everyday purchases. It works both in-store and online, and the app assures that you can expect to earn enough for a payout in as little as a week.
To use the app, just shop at your favorite stores like normal. If you’re in-store, just scan a product barcode in the app, and you’ll earn points if you buy it. If you’re shopping online, rewards are automatically applied, and you can earn some extra by watching ads.
You’ll earn reward points, called Kicks, which you can redeem for gift cards. Its most popular gift cards include American Eagle, Apple, and PayPal.
Dosh is an automated rewards app that can help you earn when you shop, eat out, or book hotels. There’s no need to use coupon codes or scan receipts here — just sign up, buy, and earn. Dosh works with thousands of vendors, including Walmart, Instacart, and Dunkin’.
You can cash out with a direct bank transfer, PayPal, or Venmo, once you accumulate $25 or more in your Dosh account. Otherwise, there isn’t much to say. Dosh is a simplified, easy-to-use app that makes earning cash back a breeze.
You’ve heard of Groupon, the super-popular coupon consolidator that’s been saving folks money since 2008. You might, however, be unfamiliar with Groupin+, a newer addition designed to save you money when you go out to eat.
Groupon+ is a tool that links directly with your debit or credit card. So rather than stacking up cash back in a separate account, you can earn cash back statements directly on your linked card.
This makes Groupon+ one of the easiest cash back apps you can use. Just head to the site or app, sign up for free, and enter your card info. You can then browse through available offers, and when you spend, your reward is automatically applied to your statement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which app gives the best cash back?
Honestly, it depends on how you use them. Most cash back apps partner with specific retailers, so it’s important to use one that works with places you regularly shop. The general return on most apps will be comparable, but if you target specific ones that are more tailored to your interests, you’ll earn more.
Which app gives real money?
Most of them, but with certain distinctions. Some come in the form of rebates or discounts, while others offer reward points. If you’re looking for real cash you can spend with your debit card, your best bets are apps like Rakuten, Dosh, or Checkout 51.
Do cash back apps really work?
Cash back apps aren’t the solution to all your personal finance problems, but yes, they really work. Ideally, you’ll want to use them to earn money on the purchases you’re already making. If you find yourself spending more than normal just to earn points or rewards, you’re missing out on their true benefits.
Which is the Best Cash Back App for You?
There’s free money out there, and now you know where to find it. Cash back apps are simple, easy to use, and require minimal effort on your end. So, you might be asking, what’s the catch?
Fortunately, there isn’t one if you use these apps to your benefit. Cash back apps typically make money by collecting commissions. They refer customers (you) to their partner brands and retailers and get a cut of any purchases you make. They then share part of that with you through various rewards.
This system can work great for you, assuming you aren’t overspending by chasing extra cash. Cash back apps are best used to earn free money on the purchases you already make. Think of them as credit card rewards — you’re spending anyway, so you might as well earn.
Now that you know where the money is, it’s as simple as picking the right one for you.