Fluz is a legit cash-back app with a clean user interface and two key aspects that help it stand out from the crowd.
- You can stack rebates with other discounts and cash-back sites to achieve greater savings.
- It’s one of the only apps that offers cash-back at everyday retailers like grocery stores and restaurants.
It’s an enticing premise, but my limited testing produced mixed results.
This Fluz review outlines the app’s pros and cons, covers the key facts you need to know, and gives a real-world example of how I was able to successfully stack my rewards by jumping through one moderately inconvenient hoop.
We’ll also look into some of the company’s marketing claims, including whether it’s possible to — as their website says — “[earn] a full time income through your Fluz network.”
Fluz gives you cash-back when you shop at partnered merchants and pay with the Fluz app. This means you need to link a payment account — which can be a debit card, credit card, PayPal or bank account — and then enter your exact purchase amount within Fluz immediately prior to checking out. Then, you’ll get a gift card code (for online shopping) or a QR code to scan (for in-store shopping) to pay the merchant. In return for this extra step, you’ll earn between 1-20% (but usually between 1-5%) of your purchase price.
- Fluz is stackable with all other cash-back apps and rewards portals, which can dramatically increase your overall savings.
- The cash-back you earn is credited to your account instantly.
- After making your first withdrawal of $26, future withdrawals have no minimum.
- You have to go through the in-app payment process for every purchase.
- Different payment methods earn different cash-back rates, and the most common options — debit and credit cards - tend to be the lowest.
- In-store payments don’t always work as expected.
7 Key Facts About Fluz
These are the seven most important things to know if you’re thinking about downloading Fluz.
- Fluz is essentially selling you a gift card code, which you use to pay for your purchase. In theory, this gives you the ability to use the app for both online and in-store purchases. However, both of my in-store purchase attempts were unsuccessful (read what happened), and some retailers require you to print out a physical code.
- You can stack Fluz with other cash-back apps, like Rakuten and Swagbucks. Fluz doesn’t require you to use a specific shopping portal to earn cash-back. That means you can still earn store loyalty points and credit card points, use coupons and promo codes, and/or use other cash-back apps in addition to Fluz.
- You can’t stack Fluz with store-specific or category-based credit card bonuses. For example, Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa cardholders get 5% cash-back at Whole Foods. But since you’re technically paying Fluz — which gives you a gift card to use at Whole Foods — you won’t earn that 5%.
- Different payment methods earn different cash-back rates. For example, you can often earn up to 3% more by paying from your bank account as compared to your credit card, Apple Pay or PayPal.
- Not all payment methods can be used at all merchants. For example, during our research for this review, Fluz offered 2.5% cash-back at Amazon when paying with a bank account, 1% when paying with a debit card, but nothing when paying with a credit card or PayPal account.
- The company promotes a 35% cash-back offer, but this can only be obtained by referring people to the app — and it only applies to the first $10 of a purchase. If you don’t plan on referring people, you’ll typically earn between 1-20% back on your purchases.
- Fluz is one of the only apps that offers cash-back at everyday retailers like grocery stores and restaurants, including offers at merchants like Whole Foods and Kroger.
Fluz Review: The Basics
Instead, you shop directly on the retailer’s website (or through a cash-back portal of your choice) and then, prior to checking out, pay the full order amount to Fluz instead of the retailer. Fluz immediately provides a gift card for the exact amount of the purchase, which you use to pay for your order.
How Fluz Works
- Step 1: Download the app. When you sign up for an account, be sure to use a name that matches the payment method you plan to use, and be prepared to provide a phone number and email address.
- Step 2: Add a debit or credit card. Note that you cannot update the name associated with the card you enter, which is why it’s important to sign up with the name that matches your preferred payment.
- Step 3: Find a retailer. There were 468 partnered companies during our testing period, including many major retailers, grocers and restaurants.
- Step 4: Shop normally. There are no special steps required — just shop online or in-store as you always do.
- Step 5: Enter the exact amount of your purchase into the Fluz app (including tax). Fluz charges the card on file and provides you a gift card code, a pin and a QR code.
- Step 6: Enter your gift card code online, or show the cashier the QR code on your phone.
- Step 7: Accumulate cash-back. The cash-back earned for each transaction is instantly credited to your Fluz account (although there is a $25 minimum for your first withdrawal).
- Step 8: Transfer your earnings to your bank. You can request a payment to your bank or via PayPal, Venmo, or a virtual debit card.
Tip: Worried that you’ll forget to look up a business while you’re out and about? If you’re willing to give Fluz access to your real-time location data, the app will try to ping you whenever you visit a partnered retailer. However, alerts don’t always work as expected. I visited two participating retailers while sharing my data and wasn’t notified by the app while at either location.
How Much You Can Earn With Fluz
Fluz has a large number of partners that offer cash-back rates of between 1-20%, although most offers are for 1-5%. I conducted three tests to see whether it works and how much I could save on a few typical transactions.
One important note is that cash-back rates differ depending on how you pay. Here’s an example of five major merchants, chosen to represent a range of purchase categories, and their respective rates as of July 19, 2022:
|Apple Pay||Bank Account||Debit Card||Credit Card||PayPal|
Here are the results of my Fluz app tests.
Test #1: Online Rebate Stacking
One of Fluz’s main selling points is that you can stack it with other cash-back portals — a major benefit that could potentially double your savings. So for my first test, I wanted to see if stacking works in practice.
Step 1: I logged into Swagbucks and searched for Under Armour. I received a pop-up offering me an additional $10 bonus to shop through the portal — this was a bonus because it was my first time shopping through Swagbucks — and clicked the button.
Step 2: I was shown several Under Armour promo codes and selected the one I wanted to use. Note that these codes are not Swagbucks-specific, and you could use a free tool like Capital One Shopping to find them automatically.
Step 3: I was taken to the Under Armour website, where I logged in with my Under Armour username and password (which I created during a previous visit). I shopped the “Sale” section and added two items to my online cart.
Step 4: I opened Fluz, searched for Under Armour, and entered the estimated total I saw in my cart. I then created and entered a pin number in Fluz (for security purposes), and was presented with my gift card information.
Step 5: I began the checkout process on the Under Armour website and entered my Fluz gift card number and pin in the gift card (not promo code) box. The gift card was successfully added to my account. I then realized that the sales tax had not been accounted for on the previous screen, so I paid the $1.56 difference with my credit card.
Step 6: I checked my Fluz account and confirmed that I received credit (~4% cash-back) for my purchase.
My total savings/earnings — including all of my various deals and cash-back options — for this transaction were as follows:
My $54.99 order cost me $14.63 once everything is paid out, and I confirmed that both the Swagbucks and Fluz bonus were applied.
How Much You Can Earn By Stacking Rewards
Here’s an example of how stacking rewards can potentially save you more money. For this example, we chose a sampling of popular merchants that offer cash-back on at least two of the platforms listed below.
In the Fluz column, we used the highest-paying payment option (bank account). In the Rakuten and Swagbucks columns, we displayed the total cash-back rate available by combining the platform with Fluz.
|Fluz||+ Rakuten||+ Swagbucks|
Test 2: In-Store Shopping, First Attempt
The online transaction outlined in Test 1 (above) worked so well that I decided to try an in-store purchase at Dunkin’ Donuts. I went to the drive-through window and asked if the store was able to scan gift cards off of phones. After a good bit of discussion between the Dunkin’ team members, the answer was “no.”
The people behind the counter had never scanned a phone before and didn’t have any idea how to do it. So I paid with a credit card instead, and headed over to my third test location.
Test 3: In-Store Shopping, Second Attempt
If possible, my third test was even less successful than my second one.
How can you be less successful than not completing a transaction?
Well, I ordered a footlong meatball sub at Subway (I promise I did not eat all this food myself) and walked to the register to pay. I asked if they accepted gift cards and could scan a phone, and the cashier said “yes.”
There was even a scanner ready and waiting!
It took me all of 20 seconds to check out via the Fluz app, and I received my gift card immediately. I scanned the QR code, but the cashier said she received a message that the code was invalid.
Much to the dismay of the other people in line, I insisted on trying six more times.
The help section of the Fluz app said I should ask the cashier to manually enter the gift card information, which I did. The cashier looked at me and, as her eyes darted between me and the growing line of obviously annoyed people behind me, said she had no idea why it wouldn’t scan. She indicated that her checkout system didn’t provide an option to enter the code manually.
I asked if I could try to enter the code on the credit card terminal on my end. She reluctantly agreed, the guy next to me groaned, and I made one last unsuccessful attempt. The cashier then pleaded with me to use my credit card instead, and I finally complied.
I slunk out of the store with the other Subway customers staring holes in the back of my head. I was annoyed because my effort to save 7 cents had cost me $7.62, as I bought a gift card that I was unable to use.
Fluz’s help section says that all gift cards purchased through the app are non-refundable. I tested this policy by asking a customer service rep (via chat) for a refund. It took 45 minutes (mostly of me waiting for him to respond). The rep tried to convince me to keep the gift card to use another day in exchange for a 35% voucher. I said “no thanks,” as I would prefer not to relive that experience. He submitted my refund request, and the next day I received an email stating that I might not get a decision on my request for 10-15 days.
I’ll update the article if/when Fluz decides what to do with my request.
Update: After approximately two weeks, I did finally receive a refund.
Fluz Referral Program: A Legit Network Marketing Business or a Waste of Time?
Fluz places a high priority on referrals — much more so than other cash-back apps. This may have something to do with the fact that Michael Rosen — the former CMO of Herbalife, one of the most notorious network marketing schemes ever — is one of Fluz’s leaders.
Fluz even suggests that it’s possible to earn a full-time income through their referral program:
It’s a slick offering and the company makes some bold suggestions about the earning potential. But as you’ll see below, it’s never going to replace your income.
How the Fluz Referral Program Works
When you invite others to join your Fluz network, and they subsequently sign up and make a purchase through the app, you earn a commission based on their earnings.
In typical multi-level marketing fashion, you continue to earn these commissions for purchases made throughout your downstream network. In other words, you make money when your referrals use the app, but you also make money when their referrals use the app.
Additionally, Fluz provides three 35% cash-back vouchers to your invitees when they join. If your connection makes a purchase, you’ll receive a voucher as well. These 35% vouchers can only be applied to the first $10 of an order with a participating partner (a subset of the overall Fluz partners, called “voucher stores”). If the order total is more than $10, the remainder of the order will be the retailer’s typical cash-back percentage.
Note: If you download Fluz without entering a referral code (like me), you won’t receive any vouchers.
Finally, you can add to your network earnings by completing a variety of tasks in exchange for cash bonuses. The majority of the rewards are related to building out your network. Achieving all of the Fluz leader bonuses would earn you $4,500.
If you build a network, keep these two very important pieces of information in mind:
- You are required to make a purchase through Fluz at least once a year to keep your network active.
- If you do not make at least one Fluz purchase every 90 days, Fluz will move your position down a level in your network, which will reduce the earnings you make from those downstream.
How Much You Can Earn With the Fluz Referral Program
Per Fluz, you’ll earn an average of 8 cents per transaction when friends in your network make purchases:
Here’s the math: at an average of 8 cents per transaction, your network would have to make 100 purchases to generate $8 in income.
You‘re paid for purchases within 15 degrees of separation, with a maximum network size of 65,535 members.
Fluz highlights a few examples of “exceptional” earnings like one woman who earned $2,494 in 115 days, but even the company indicates that these results are not the norm.
Given that, what is their justification for suggesting that you can earn a full-time income through the program? That remains unclear after our research and analysis. While we think Fluz is an excellent cash-back shopping tool, its referral program has a relatively low pay rate compared to its competitors.
For example, while Swagbucks doesn’t pay for downstream referrals, you collect a solid 10% of your own referrals’ lifetime earnings. Another option is Rakuten, which typically pays a $20-$40 upfront bonus for referring new users.
By the way, it’s worth noting that on the Fluz website, the company specifically states that you will earn $3.50 per referral. But this claim is misleading. As shown in the screenshot below, that $3.50 figure is derived from your potential savings from the 35% cash-back vouchers you receive for referrals — it’s not a $3.50 bonus.
Of course, it goes without saying that this only represents “$3.50 per invite” if you’re able to use each voucher you earn on purchases you were already going to make through the app.
Additionally, all 35% vouchers expire 60 days after they are issued.
The cash-back you earn is added to your Fluz balance instantly after you make a purchase. Once your balance reaches $26, you can withdraw funds via Bank/ACH, PayPal or Venmo, or request a transfer to a virtual debit card.
Once you’ve reached that initial threshold, you can then make later withdrawals at any time for any amount. One caveat is that if you choose to withdraw money to a prepaid Visa card, the withdrawal minimum is always $26.
Cashing out is straightforward. In order to withdraw money, you need to link a verified card and verify your email account. Fluz won’t charge you any fees to cash out, but if they’re charged a fee from your bank, PayPal or Venmo, they deduct that fee from the transfer amount.
The most likely complication with the process is the link between Fluz and the payout entity. For example, if your Fluz phone number doesn’t match your Venmo phone number, or if your Fluz and PayPal email addresses don’t match, there can be issues. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you sign up with the same information for all of these services.
Finally, consider using your Fluz balance to pay for future purchases. Any purchases that are paid in full with your Fluz balance will earn you an extra 1% cash-back.
Fluz advertises 35% cash-back, but this rate is only available with a promotional voucher. You can get these vouchers by signing up with an active referral link, and by referring other people to the app.
Fluz (originally called Fluz Fluz) was launched in Columbia by Maurice Harary and Stefan Krautwald. The two sold the original pilot site and Haray later brought Fluz to the U.S.
When Fluz users make purchases through the app, Fluz is given a referral fee. Fluz provides most of that fee to the purchaser and their upstream network (if applicable) and retains a portion for itself.
Yes, Fluz has a free browser extension. To use the extension, shop as you normally would. When it’s time to check out, enter the purchase amount in the extension instead of the mobile app to receive gift card details.
No, Fluz is not a pyramid scheme as it does not require users to pay the member who brought them in.
The referral aspect of Fluz is openly marketed as an MLM business. However, the vast majority of MLMs require members to purchase products upfront. Fluz does not require users to spend money to recruit other members, and no unplanned purchases are required. At the same time, the potential earnings are very low.
Only on your earnings from referrals. The IRS treats cash-back as a purchase discount, not as taxable income.
Fluz Review: Final Verdict
Fluz offers a way to earn more cash-back on your purchases. My online experience was positive, and I will continue to use the app for online retailers. If you’re already a user of cash-back portals like Swagbucks and Rakuten, signing up is a no-brainer.
Additionally, we think the flat cash-back rates offered at supermarkets makes this one of the absolute best cash-back apps for groceries.
Unfortunately, my in-store experience with the app was less than stellar, and I don’t intend to try the app again in a face-to-face scenario.
Finally, our view on Fluz’s referral program is that the pay rate is far too low to justify putting any significant energy into building your network. There are better-paying referral programs, such as Rakuten, which pays a $20-$40 bonus.