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The Best Cash Back Apps: Save On Groceries, Online Shopping and More

List of the best cash back apps
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This is a list of the best cash back apps for both online and in-store shopping.

Many of these apps can be stacked, meaning you can earn money buying one item at one store across multiple apps (and we’ll show you how).

Whether you’re looking to save money on groceries, at local retailers, at the gas station or while online shopping, there’s an app on this list for you.

Best Cash Back Apps

I’ve broken this list down into three categories to help you get the best deals and the most savings every time you shop.

Those categories are:

  • Receipt-scanning apps
  • Online cash-back offers
  • Card-linked loyalty programs

When you shop online, you can only utilize one cash-back app or service because you’re required to use a specific link (or purchase within the app) to earn the bonus.

However, you can usually stack receipt-scanning apps to multiply your cashback, and you can use card-linked apps in conjunction with each of the other categories (because the bonus is earned based on the card you use at checkout).

Using this information to find the right mix of apps for each purchase can often earn you between 5% and 15% — even without using a cash-back credit card (which you should do whenever possible).

In-Store Receipt Scanning Apps

To earn cashback or points with the apps in this category, you’ll need to scan receipts and upload them.

These companies earn money by promoting particular products, and your receipts serve as proof (which they can share with the products’ manufacturers) that the app successfully influenced your purchasing decisions.

These receipts are also a valuable source of market data, as they show how much consumers typically spend in a shopping trip, what kinds of products are purchased together, and so on.

#1. Ibotta

Earn up to $20 in sign-up bonuses by using this link

Sign-Up Bonus: The Ibotta app offers up to $20 in welcome bonuses for completing a series of tasks within the app.

Quick Summary: Ibotta is a cash-back app for earning rebates at most of your favorite grocery stores, retail chains, and many other places you shop.

With Ibotta, you download digital coupons, purchase specific items, and then scan receipts to claim your cash back. You can also add your store loyalty card number for many chains and avoid the need to submit a receipt.

Ibotta also offers opportunities to earn cashback for online shopping through the app.

Pro Tip: Ibotta regularly has “any brand” offers for everyday purchases like milk, eggs and fresh produce. If you’re planning on buying these grocery staples, these offers represent absolutely free money. As the name suggests, you can claim the bonus regardless of the brand you select or the price you pay.

Google Play Rating: 4.3/5 with 481,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.8/5 with 1,038,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: The Ibotta app can be used both online and in-store. Some of the options include major grocery stores like Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter and others; retail outlets like Sears and J.C. Penny; and even travel sites like Booking.com.

Payment: You have to earn at least $20 in cash rewards before you can withdraw funds from your Ibotta account. Once you meet that threshold, you can order a gift card through the app or transfer the funds to your Venmo or PayPal account.

See our in-depth Ibotta review.

#2. Fetch Rewards

Sign Up For Fetch Rewards

Sign-Up Bonus: 3,000 points (worth $3) if you enter the code APREWARDS when signing up.

Quick Summary: The Fetch Rewards app offers points for purchasing eligible products at any grocery store. Those points can be redeemed for gift cards to your favorite retailers.

Just download the app, upload a picture of your receipt, and points will be credited to your account. There’s no need to activate offers or clip digital coupons before you go shipping.

Pro Tip: Because you’re only required to upload a picture of your receipt, this makes Fetch perfect for stacking with other apps (like Ibotta). There’s also a selection of rotating special offers, which award you bonus points when purchased.

Google Play Rating: 4.3/5 with 116,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.8/5 with 857,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: The Fetch Rewards app can be used for grocery shopping at literally any store, either brick-and-mortar or online.

#3. Checkout 51

Sign Up For Checkout 51

Sign-Up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus.

Quick Summary: Checkout 51 is a cash-back grocery app that works at any grocery store. After downloading the app, search for coupons and offers and add them to your account before you go grocery shopping.

When you’re done, just open the app, mark the items you actually purchased, and upload a picture of your grocery receipt. Once your grocery receipt is approved, your cashback will appear in your account.

Pro Tip: New weekly offers are added every Thursday at 12 a.m., and some have limited availability. So check the app on Friday morning to grab the best offers before they’re gone.

Google Play Rating: 4.4/5 with 69,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.1/5 with 5,400+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Checkout 51 can be used both online or in-store anywhere a participating item is sold. For example, if there’s an offer for 75 cents off a package of eggs, you can buy your eggs anywhere — at Walmart, at a gas station, or even at a chicken farm.

Payment: When your account balance reaches $20, you can request a paper check. Some users also have the ability to cash out to a PayPal account, but this functionality has not yet been rolled out to everyone.

#4. ShopKick

Sign Up For ShopKick

Sign up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus, but you can earn $3.50 if you join through InboxDollars (which is reviewed later in this article).

Quick Summary: ShopKick offers rewards called “kicks,” which you can earn for making purchases in-store or online and then redeem for gift cards.

However, you can also get kicks for tasks such as walking in to a store, scanning certain barcodes, visiting online stores, viewing products and watching videos.

Pro Tip: Enabling push notifications for the app can help you make sure to never miss an opportunity. ShopKick uses your location to alert you to nearby sales and chances for extra points. Of course, be aware that this requires sending your location data back to ShopKick, which may be a drawback if you’re particularly concerned about online privacy.

Google Play Rating: 4.4/5 with 224,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.6/5 with 59,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: You can earn kicks both online and in-store.

Payment: You can redeem kicks for gift cards to a variety of retailers including Walmart, Amazon, Target and many more.

#5. Receipt Hog

Sign Up For Receipt Hog

Sign-Up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus.

Quick Summary: Receipt Hog is a market research company that pays you for uploading your receipts. You’ll receive “coins,” which can be exchanged for magazines, cash via PayPal or an Amazon gift card.

You may also have the opportunity to earn “spins” rather than coins, depending on the retailer associated with your receipt. Spins are used in a game called “Hog Slots,” which is a virtual slot machine that gives you a chance to earn more coins.

This can be fun, but remember that since your coins can be exchanged for real cash, using them on Hog Slots amounts to gambling. If you’re trying to make extra money to reach even a small-scale financial goal, you should avoid the risk and just build up your balance.

Pro Tip: When you get started, check out the “Rewards” tab to earn extra coins. This offers a bonus for answering a questionnaire and linking your email account. If you complete both of those tasks, you can earn another bonus by joining a “Hog Household,” which is a group of your family members who are also actively uploading receipts.

Google Play Rating: 4.3/5 with 121,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.7/5 with 100,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Anywhere that provides you with a paper receipt (digital receipts are not accepted on the platform).

Payment: Exchange your coins for magazines, transfers to your PayPal account or free gift cards.

Online Cash-Back Offers

All retailers need a steady stream of new customers, and one way they acquire those customers is through affiliate programs.

Companies that offer cash-back rewards for online purchases earn a commission when you buy an item from within their app (or after using their link to visit a retail website), and then share a piece of that commission with you.

This can be one of the easiest ways to save money while shopping, as it usually only requires clicking a link and then going about your business as usual.

#6. Swagbucks

Sign Up For Swagbucks

Sign-Up Bonus: $10 bonus when you spend at least $25 within 30 days of account creation.

Quick Summary: With Swagbucks, you can earn reward points (called SBs) by shopping online, watching videos, searching the web, playing games and completing surveys. You can then redeem those reward points for a gift card or free money via PayPal.

When you shop through the Swagbucks website or app, you’ll see the percentage of cash-back you’ll earn for a qualifying purchase at a participating store. Those percentages will be converted to SBs; a 3% cashback rate will earn you 3 SBs per $1 spent.

Pro Tip: While Swagbucks is well-known as a cash-back shopping app, it also has a little-known linked-card loyalty program which allows you to earn SBs at local restaurants and retailers. You’ll also get a 500 SB bonus after linking your credit or debit card and making your first qualifying purchase.

Google Play Rating: 3.8/5 with 38,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.4/5 with 33,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: You can earn SBs for both online and in-store purchases.

Payment: You can exchange your SBs for gift cards to retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target and many others. Gift cards occasionally go on sale, which gives you the chance to stretch your points. You can also cash out using PayPal. Technically, there is no minimum withdrawal amount, but most rewards start at $3.

Read my detailed review of Swagbucks here.

#7. InboxDollars

Sign Up For InboxDollars

Sign-Up Bonus: $5 bonus after you sign up, create a profile, and watch an introductory video.

Quick Summary: Like the other apps on this list, InboxDollars offers cash-back for shopping online through its portal.

However, it’s also a general rewards app that pays you for completing simple tasks at home, such as taking surveys, watching videos, playing games, reading emails and printing coupons.

This wide variety of ways to earn makes it easy to reach the minimum withdrawal amount and to cash out more quickly than with some of the other services mentioned here.

Read my in-depth review of InboxDollars.

Pro Tip: There’s a $3 processing fee for cashing out your earnings. This fee is waived if you wait until you’ve earned $40, rather than cashing out at the $30 minimum.

Google Play Rating: 4.0/5 with 100,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.5/5 with 129,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Online retailers only.

Payment: InboxDollars’ minimum withdrawal amount is $30. Payment options include a prepaid Visa card, paper check, gift cards, and charitable donations.

#8. Rakuten

Sign Up for Rakuten

Sign-Up Bonus: $10 bonus for spending more than $25 within 90 days of becoming a member.

Quick Summary: Rakuten (which used to be called Ebates) offers cashback deals from a wide variety of stores. All you have to do is shop through Rakuten when making a purchase.

Just start your search at the Rakuten website (or in the app) by typing in the merchants, product or brand you’re looking for. Rakuten will provide you with a list of cash-back offers. At the time of this writing, you can earn 5% at Walmart, 3% at Macy’s and 4.5% at Nike.

Read my in-depth review of Rakuten here.

Here are some of the offers I see when I open the Rakuten app on my iPhone:

Screenshot from Rakuten’s mobile app, taken in November 2020.

Pro Tip: Make sure you keep an eye out for limited-time bonuses for certain stores and products. For example, the merchants shown in the screenshot above were paying 3X their normal cash-back rates at the time the photo was taken.

Triple cash-back, “10% cash-back days” and other promotions are common, so it doesn’t hurt to wait for a better deal on non-essential purchases. Generally speaking, anything below 4% is among the lower-end of the app’s offerings, whereas 10-15% is about the highest you’ll find.

Google Play Rating: 4.2/5 with 62,000+ reviews.

App Store Rating: 4.4/5 with 31,000+ reviews.

Can Be Used At: Rakuten can be used both online and in-store, although there are far fewer brick-and-mortar offers and they tend to pay less.

Payment: Rakuten pays quarterly if you have at least $5.00 in your account. You can opt for a physical check or a PayPal deposit.

Related reading: The Easiest Ways to Earn Free PayPal Money.

#9. Acorns

Sign Up For Acorns

Sign-Up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus.

Quick Summary: Acorns is an investment app that has partnered with hundreds of retailers to offer cashback when you shop at participating stores through the Acorns portal.

This feature, called “Found Money,” is unique because rather than sending the cash directly to you via a gift card or PayPal, Acorns adds those funds to your investment portfolio.

Acorns’ Found Money percentages are solid, typically ranging from 2% to 10%. I also love the fact that Acorns gives you the ability to adjust your investment portfolio to meet your specific financial goals.

You can’t pick individual stocks, because Acorns places your money in index funds. However, you can choose your acceptable level of risk, your growth timeline, and a few other criteria.

Pro Tip: Acorns also offers a savings feature called “Round Ups.” With Round Ups, you link a debit or credit card, and then every time you make a purchase with that card, the company rounds up the purchase price to the next quarter, half-dollar or dollar (depending on your preferences).

As with your Found Money, those funds get added to your portfolio. This can be a great way to set money aside if you’re having trouble building up your savings account. Of course, as with any investment, there is a risk that the value of your Acorns portfolio will decline.

Google Play Rating: 4.4/5 with 130,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.7/5 with 658,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Found Money only works when shopping online through Acorns. Round Ups works with any purchase, both online and in-store.

Payment: Your Found Money and Round Ups are placed in your investment account, and I recommend you keep them there so that they can grow! After all, investing is one of the most important things you need to do to get rich. However, if you need to withdraw your funds you can transfer them to your bank account, which takes about two days.

#10. Drop Rewards

Sign Up For Drop Rewards

Sign-Up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus.

Quick Summary: Drop Rewards allows you to earn points on your purchases whenever you shop through the company’s online portal. Those points can be exchanged for gift cards.

Drop has some of the best cash-back shopping rates around, with recent offers including 6% back at Sephora and 4% back at Expedia and Lululemon.

Note that Drop’s popular “Power Offers” program — which allowed users to earn cash-back passively by shopping at up to five of their favorite retailers — has been discontinued.

Google Play Rating: 2.8/5 with 6,300+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.6/5 with 43,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Online only.

Payment: You can use your points to redeem any of the gift card rewards you’re eligible for. You should receive your reward within three business days, but in my experience it’s never taken more than a few minutes.

#11. BeFrugal

Sign Up For BeFrugal

Sign-Up Bonus: A $10 bonus is added to your account balance once you’ve accumulated $10 in rewards.

Quick Summary: BeFrugal offers cashback on purchases you make at over 5,000 retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart and many others. As with Rakuten, you just sign up, begin shopping, and the cash back is deposited into your account.

Read our in-depth BeFrugal review.

Pro Tip: BeFrugal offers a “best rate” guarantee, where they’ll match any other cash-back rate by 125%. You have to contact them to request a match, and the terms of the promotion are fairly strict. Still, this can be a valuable hack if you’re willing to jump through the necessary hoops.

Google Play Rating: 4.3/5 with 1,700+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.6/5 with 3,100+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Online only.

Payment: The minimum cash-out is $25. BeFrugal pays via direct deposit to your bank account, paper check, PayPal or gift card.

#12. TopCashback

Read Our TopCashback Review

Sign-Up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus.

Quick Summary: TopCashback is another site that provides cash back for the purchases you make at thousands of online retailers. It’s one of the newer platforms on the scene but boasts 8 million members and calls itself the fastest-growing cashback service in America. And according to the research we conducted for our review, it consistently offers among the highest cashback rate available.

As with most of the other apps on the list, you have to shop through the TCB portal in order to earn rewards. While the UK version of the app offers in-store cashback, that feature has not yet been released to users in the United States.

Pro Tip: There’s no particular feature that distinguishes TCB from Rakuten, BeFrugal or other similar services noted on this list. However, each platform offers different percentages of cash back at different stores, and those numbers change all the time.

So if your goal is to absolutely maximize your cash back, your best bet is to quickly scan at least a few different apps to make sure you’re getting the best available deal at that particular moment.

Google Play Rating: 3.4/5 with 800+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.7/5 with 4,800+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Online only.

Payment: TopCashback has three payment options: Amazon gift card, direct deposit and PayPal.

Card-Linked Programs

Card-linked cash-back programs offer a way to save money while hardly even thinking about it. All you need to do is enter your debit or credit card details and then shop at participating stores with that linked card.

When you do, you’ll automatically earn back a percentage of that transaction.

These companies are paid by retailers who believe customers are more likely to choose their outlets because of the cash-back incentive.

#13. Dosh Rewards

Sign Up For Dosh Rewards

Sign-Up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus.

Quick Summary: The Dosh app can be a great source of passive income. Just link your credit or debit card and earn up to 10% cashback whenever you shop at a participating store.

The app has a decent mix or small local business and national chains, and your earnings are automatically deposited into your Dosh Wallet.

Pro Tip: Make sure you record your Dosh app password. Some users have reported getting locked out of their account and having little luck working with the company to regain access.

Google Play Rating: 4.5/5 with 42,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.7/5 with 113,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Online and in-store.

Payment: Dosh’s minimum withdrawal threshold is $25, and it pays via PayPal or direct deposit.

#14. Paribus

Sign Up For Paribus

Sign-Up Bonus: There is no sign-up bonus.

Quick Summary: When it comes to cash-back apps, Paribus (which is operated by Capital One) belongs in its own category.

After you sign up for the service, you’ll link your account to whatever email address you use for online shopping. Paribus then monitors that mailbox for online purchase confirmations, and watches for things like late deliveries and price drops.

When the service detects potential savings, it lets you know and tries to engage with the retailer on your behalf. If it can’t, then it provides a clear set of instructions for how to recoup the price difference.

So far, Paribus has filed over $20 million in price protection claims for its users.

Currently, the service works with 20+ retailers, although the list changes all the time. You can read more about the supported merchants — as well as the details of how the app works — in our Paribus review.

If you’re worried about the privacy of your emails, here’s what Paribus has to say about how it handles your data:

We access your inbox to find your savings opportunities. We use technology to scan for emails that are relevant to saving you time and money — such as emails that reflect a purchase or transaction.

Our systems capture email subject and sender information from your inbox, then use proprietary logic to identify which of those emails appear to be receipts. We do not open any other type of email.

We have not and will not sell your data.

Pro Tip: You need to have either a Gmail, Microsoft or Yahoo email account to use Paribus.

Google Play Rating: Paribus doesn’t have an Android app, but signing up via the web is fast and easy.

App Store Rating: 3.9/5 with 2,200+ reviews

Can Be Used At: A limited selection of retailers.

Payment: Paribus refunds are typically issued by the merchant directly to your original payment method.

#15. Cash App

Sign up by downloading the Cash App.

Sign-Up Bonus: $5 bonus for each of us (using my personal referral link, above)

Quick Summary: Cash App is a free peer-to-peer payment app that works like Venmo or PayPal. It’s owned and operated by Square, the company that makes those iPad-like checkout terminals that are increasingly popular with retail establishments.

Square’s co-founder and CEO is Jack Dorsey, who is also the man behind Twitter.

cash screenshots
Screenshots from the Cash App’s App Store page.

When you join Cash, you’ll have the option to request a “Cash Card,” which is a free Visa debit card that’s linked to your account.

You can use this card to spend the funds in your Cash App balance, and you can add money to it by transferring funds from your bank account.

One of the best things about this app is that the Cash Card offers a perk called “Boosts,” which is a selection of cash-back offers you can use while shopping at some of the nation’s most well-known brands.

Boosts change periodically, but options often include 5% or 10% at Whole Foods and Traders Joes, 10% at Chipotle, and $1 off any transaction at any coffee shop. In the screenshot below, you can see that I added a boost for 10% off at any supermarket or grocer.

Any cash-back you earn is immediately credited your Cash App balance.

Boosts change regularly.

Pro Tip: You can use Boosts over and over, but you can only have one Boost attached to your card at any given time. Be careful, because sometimes when you remove a Boost you won’t be able to add it again; the app pops up a message warning you, but it’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

Google Play Rating: 4.5/5 with 162,000+ reviews

App Store Rating: 4.5/5 with 412,000+ reviews

Can Be Used At: Any retailer where Visa is accepted.

Payment: Cash App’s rewards are credited to your account within seconds, and are spendable as soon as they appear.

Tips for Using Cash Back Apps

Here are six tips that will help you make the most of your money with cash back apps:

  1. Only buy what you can afford. Cash back apps are no excuse for breaking your budget just because you found a good deal. You should use these apps as a way to save money on things you planned to buy anyway. Think of them as part of taking the initiative to be frugal — a little bit of research can save you a ton of money.
  2. Stack apps whenever possible. You can maximize your savings and get the most money back by using multiple rebate apps at the same time. And if you clip paper or digital coupons, you can usually stack those, too. This is especially helpful when it comes to saving money on groceries, because there are often multiple coupons available for the same item.
  3. Take advantage of sign-up bonuses. Even if you don’t plan on using an app over the long-term, take advantage of the sign-up bonus, which is often the quickest and easiest money you will ever earn. Bonuses typically range from $10 to $20.
  4. Use a cash-back credit card. Another way to increase your savings is to combine cash-back apps with a cash-back credit card — preferably, one that offers bonuses for shopping within certain categories. One card to check out is the Chase Freedom card, which gives you up to 5% cash back in rotating categories that change every three months.
  5. Refer your friends. Cash-back apps thrive on referrals for new customers, which presents a great opportunity for you and your friends. Referral bonuses are an easy way to make money and can climb as high as $25.
  6. Many cash back apps pay you for completing tasks. Most of these tasks are very easy, but pay attention to the time requirement. If a survey that takes 45 minutes to complete only pays $3, your time might be better invested in something else.

Cash Back Apps FAQ

How do cashback app companies make money?

The main business model among cash back sites is giving you a piece of the commission they earn for sending you to a merchant’s website.

TopCashback has a different business model: they mainly generate revenue from the display ads on the site.

For receipt scanning apps, brands pay them to get featured in the app to help drive sales, and they may sell the data you provide to advertisers and market research companies.

What’s the best cashback app for Amazon?

Amazon is pretty stingy when it comes to cashback. Only a few categories allow for cashback, and even then it’s only a few percentage points. Here are some other ways to save money on Amazon that are likely to produce better results.

Are cashback apps safe?

Cashback apps are safe in that they have security in place to protect both your personal information and the cash/rewards in your account.

In most cases, some amount of personal information is collected. This may include your demographic information, as well as information about your internet usage.

Generally speaking, cashback apps do not record (or even see) your credit card or payment info, as this is processed by the merchant.

What happens when you make a return?

Every cashback app handles returns differently, based on their particular business model. Overall, expect points earned via a returned item to be debited from your account.

Keep in mind, many cashback sites have a 30 to 90 waiting period until you receive the cashback in order to prevent this from occurring.

Can you use a cashback app and a manufacturer coupon at the same time?

Yes, in most cases you can stack cashback apps and a manufacturer coupon, although the rules of each service vary.

You may even be able to use multiple apps if you choose your mix correctly.

For example, you might be able to use a paper coupon at the grocery store, purchase items that earn you cash-back through Ibotta, pay for those items with a debit card that’s linked to Dosh, and then upload a copy of your register receipt to the Fetch reward app.

Why isn’t Ebates on this list?

Ebates was acquired by Rakuten, a well-known Japanese company that has run a popular loyalty program in that country for many years. You can learn more in our Rakuten review.

Is Upromise a cashback app?

Upromise has many of the same features as the cashback apps highlighted in this article, including an online shopping portal that returns a percentage of each purchase you make. However, the cashback you earn is specifically designated for educational expenses, and there’s an arduous process for withdrawing it.

Summary: Cash-Back Apps Put Money Back Into Your Bank Account

If you’re anything like me, you do an increasing amount of your shopping online. And if that’s the case, using cash-back apps and sites is a no-brainer.

They’re free to join, take just seconds to use, and can help you save as much as 15% at the majority of major online retailers.

Sites like Swagbucks and Rakuten are great options for online orders, and that’s where you’ll rack up the most extra cash the fastest.

But don’t overlook the ability of a grocery rebate app like Ibotta to help you save on everyday purchases; saving a few dollars on every shopping trip might not seem like much in the moment, but it adds up over time.

*Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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