Apps that pay you to shop? That sounds like a shopaholics dream.
But, it isn't quite how it sounds. Let me give you a quick rundown:
These apps do in fact pay you to shop BUT, you still have to spend money on groceries and other products in order to make any cash with them. For example, if you spend $100, you could potentially make around $10, but this can vary.
Therefore it makes a bit more sense to call these money saving apps for shopping instead of apps that pay you to shop because you aren't really making any money here, you're saving it.
This means you should not waste money on things you don't need to try and get some cash back. Instead, you should keep these apps on your phone for when you're out buying groceries, new clothes, etc. If you do this consistently and you shop a lot you could save hundreds of dollars a month with these apps.
If you want to get straight to it and skip straight to a certain app, just click on it below.
Apps That Pay You to Shop
- Ebates ($10 Sign Up Bonus) (Online cash back, coupons, and more!)
- IBotta ($10 Sign Up Bonus) (Receipt scanner app, in-store cash back)
- BeFrugal ($10 Sign Up Bonus) (Online cash back, coupons, and more!)
- TopCashBack (Online cash back)
- Drop ($1 Sign Up Bonus) (In-store cash back and special offers – no receipt scanning)
- Walmart Saving Catcher (Receipt scanner app)
- Dosh (In-store cash back, online cash back, and travel cash back)
- ShopKick ($1 Sign Up Bonus) (Earn just for walking into stores and scanning barcodes)
- Shopular (Local deals, promos, and coupons)
- Checkout 51 (Receipt scanning app)
- Receipt Hog (Receipt scanning app)
- SwagBucks ($5 Sign Up Bonus) (Online cash back)
- SavingStar (Save money on groceries)
- Fetch Rewards (Receipt scanning app)
- ReceiptPal (Receipt scanning app)
- Groupon (Deals, cash back, coupons and more)
Apps That Pay You to Shop
1. Ebates ($10 Bonus)
Ebates is one of the largest and most well-known online cash back apps. The company was founded in 1998 by two Deputy District Attorneys who used to prosecute online fraud and identity theft, so you can be sure that Ebates is legit and safe. The company continues to grow today and is currently affiliated with over 2,000 stores.
Here are the three steps to start earning cash back with Ebates:
- Go to Ebates.com or the Ebates app on your phone.
- Click on the link to the store you would like to shop.
- Shop like you normally would.
As you shop Ebates will track your purchases and you will receive a percentage of your cash back.
So for example, if a store was offering 5% cash back, and you purchased an item for $100, you'd get $5 back. That $5 will usually be credited to your account within 48 hours, but it can take up to 30 days if the product has a return policy.
Suggestion: Download the Ebates extension after you sign-up, it will remind you when a cash back opportunity is available online so you never forget.
Once it is credited to your account and you meet the minimum payout of $5, it will be paid out on one of these dates (whichever is closest): May 15, Aug 15, Nov 15, and Feb 15.
There are three ways to receive your cash back from Ebates: Check (no mailing fees) or PayPal. You can also have your cash back sent to a charity of your choice.
Sign up bonus: $10 free cash back! (You must spend $25 through Ebates to receive your $10 bonus, check your profile for more info)
2. iBotta ($10 Bonus)
iBotta launched in 2012 and is one of the top rated and most used apps that pay you to shop. Currently, it's only available in the United States and Puerto Rico. Users of IBotta have been paid out over $200 million in cash back altogether.
There are three main ways to earn/save with iBotta, and they're all pretty straightforward.
Note: Before you can start earning cash back you will have to go into the iBotta app and add some cash back offers to your account by completing fun tasks.
Here's how you can earn cash back:
How to receive your cash back on iBotta: Gift cards, PayPal, and Venmo.
Sign up bonus: Sign up here and complete one offer for a FREE $10 bonus.
3. BeFrugal ($10 Bonus)
BeFrugal started in 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts offering online coupons to help shoppers save money. They are now offering cash back on online purchases at over 5,000 stores! They also have coupons and deals for over 50,000 stores.
They give 100% of the affiliate commission earned by driving traffic to stores, back to you! This makes BeFrugal and TopCashBack extremely similar, which is why you will find that their cash back amounts are very similar as well.
How to receive cash back on BeFrugal: Check or direct deposit (U.S. only), PayPal, Amazon gift card (1% bonus cash back).
Sign up bonus: You'll receive $10 cash back for FREE if you sign-up here and earn $10 in cash back within a year of signing up.
TopCashBack is similar to Ebates but it is still one of the best cash back apps around. Unlike Ebates they give ALL of the affiliate commissions received by stores back to you, while still keeping their service free for everyone. They also don't have any minimum payout requirements and they'll let you cash out as many times a year as you want.
5. Drop ($1 Bonus)
I've been using Drop for a bit now and I love it. I'll have a full review out soon. In order to join you just have to have a credit card and online banking account.
All you need to do is link a credit card and select five brands that you want to earn from. Be careful though because once you choose your five you can't change them. After that every time you spend money on those brands you'll receive a set amount of points for each dollar spent.
For example, I earn 8 points for every $1 I spend at Chapters Indigo.
You can also earn points with bonus games and limited time offers that show up in the app.
1,000 points = $1.
How to get paid: Gift card options like Amazon, Starbucks, Tim Hortons and more.
If you shop at Walmart (Who doesn't?), then you could be saving money almost effortlessly by using the Savings Catcher feature inside of the Walmart shopping app.
The Savings Catcher is a free feature created by Walmart that takes a look at your receipt (you have to scan it in) and then checks other retailers in your area for lower prices. If it finds a lower price at another retailer, it refunds the difference to you in Rewards Dollars. So it's basically virtual price matching.
Rewards Dollars can only be spent in Walmart stores and on the Walmart website. The max reward dollars that you can collect a year is $599.99 worth. Although the cap is unfortunate, saving $599/year almost effortlessly is nothing to sneeze at.
There are some other restrictions, but it would take a while to list them, so check out the Savings Catcher FAQs.
Tired of reading about receipt scanning apps? Or how about having to manually search for offers?
Dosh is a brand new experience. It is one of the best apps that pay you to shop because once you're all set up, you don't have to worry about scanning receipts or adding offers to your account. Simply shop, and the cash will roll in.
Dosh offers three main ways to get cash back:
1. Cashback in-store
Simply link a credit or debit card ($1 bonus per card) and make purchases at participating stores in your area. Dosh will automatically give you cash back when you make a qualifying purchase, no receipt scanning necessary!
2. Cashback online
You can shop at your favorite stores online through the Dosh app and receive cash back.
3. Travel cashback
Just choose your travel destination and the type of hotel you want to stay in, and you'll see a list of hotels offering cash back per night. Pretty sweet right?
Additionally, you can earn money with Dosh through the refer a friend program. They'll give you $5 once your friend signs up as your referral and completes their first cashback offer. Not too shabby.
8. Shopkick ($1 Bonus)
Shopkick was founded in 2009 in California and started out as just 5 people working together in a basement. It has grown immensely since then and is now one of the greatest apps that pay you to shop on the market. As of now, they have partnered with over 250,000 stores.
Shopkick rewards shoppers with kicks for completing a variety of tasks:
- Walking into retail stores.
- Scanning barcodes for specific products.
- Purchasing products with a linked card.
- Purchasing products and scanning the receipt.
Now I know what's going on, all you online shoppers are reading this and thinking: “Wow, I have to go outside and go into REAL stores to earn?”
Don't fret, because Shopkick thought of you too. Here's how online shoppers can earn kicks:
- Visiting online stores.
- Viewing select products.
- Making mobile purchases.
- Watching videos.
Now that you know how Shopkick works you may be wondering what a kick is and why you would ever want to get kicked on purpose. Don't worry because kicks are actually a good thing! Kicks are reward points that Shopkick gives you, which you can then use to redeem gift cards to your favorite stores (250 Kicks = $1).
Shopular is the perfect app for those who want to find local deals, promotions, and coupons for big retailers as well as high-end mall shops.
What Shopular does is use your location to find and sort deals based on what is closest to you. When you're walking around you may also receive notifications on your phone when an offer is nearby. A lot of other apps offer this, but Shopular is unique in that they often have deals for mall stores including high-end fashion stores (which they seem to specialize in).
Shopular will also let you browse the weekly flyers/circulars from every store within the app.
One thing to be aware of is that some coupons may not work in certain local stores, so just be sure to read all the details.
Checkout 51 is another great app that will save you money on groceries and other household items. It is currently available in the US and Canada.
- New offers are added every Thursday at 12:00 AM and they expire the following Wednesday at 11:59 PM.
- Some offers are in limited quantity so try to view the list of new offers as soon as possible so that you don't miss any good ones.
- Some offers can be claimed more than once as well so don't forget to check the details of each offer. It's handy to check the details of each offer anyway just in case there are any terms or conditions that come along with it.
Once you've added the offers you desire to your account, go to the stores and purchase them. You must upload a picture of your receipt before the offers expire the following week, so don't forget!
Once your account balance reaches $20, you can cash out in the form of a check. Checkout51 is also working on adding PayPal as a payment method, and it is already available for some users.
For more info on Checkout 51, read my full review.
11. Receipt Hog
Receipt Hog is a market research company that rewards you for scanning your receipts. They've been growing quickly and have already paid out over 2.5 million dollars to participants! Receipt Hog is currently only available in the U.S. and U.K. but they are working on expanding into more countries.
To start using Receipt Hog, you need to download the app and add yourself to the waitlist (Why is there a wait list?).
Receipt Hog works and can make money by selling consumer information to brands. By joining Receipt Hog, you are participating a pretty unique market research panel, which makes you super cool!
Receipt Hog puts every receipt you scan into one of three categories (click one to be brought to the Receipt Hog zendesk to learn more):
In the U.S. 1000 coins = $5.
Once you've earned enough coins, you have three payout options:
- Amazon gift card.
- Magazine subscription (the U.S. only).
If you are frequently active on Receipt Hog, you'll have a higher chance of receiving bonus opportunities within the app. Some of these bonus opportunities include short surveys, barcode scans, and Hog Slot spins. This means more coins and more rewards so try to stay as active as possible!
Swagbucks is one of the most popular rewards sites on the web today. There are a handful of ways you can earn money on Swagbucks, but today we're focusing on apps that pay you to shop. Luckily for us, Swagbucks has a shopping section!
The whole system is pretty similar to other cashback sites, except this time you won't be receiving cash directly. Instead, you'll receive Swag Bucks.
For example, if a store is offering 10% cash back, you will receive 10 Swag Bucks for each $1 spent.
Swagbucks allows you to redeem gift cards with your Swag Bucks or you can donate them to a charity. There are tons of gift card options available including Amazon and PayPal.
SavingStar is an app that will save you money on groceries.
They've partnered with over 100 retail chains and over 60,000 stores! Some of these shops include Costco, Walmart, Target, and Safeway.
All you need to do to earn cash back is either scan a receipt after making a purchase or link a loyalty card from a participating store. The loyalty card method is the most hassle-free, but it's only available in some stores (stores with a * require receipt scanning).
There are tons of opportunities to save on groceries with SavingStar as they frequently add new offers. They also add a new health offer every Tuesday which helps you save on fruits and vegetables. Staying healthy while saving, sounds terrific!
To get paid by SavingStar, you must first reach the minimum $5 balance. Once you reach this minimum balance, you can choose between 4 different payment options:
- Bank account.
- Upromise account.
- Starbucks gift code, iTunes gift code, or AMC Theatres gift code.
14. Fetch Rewards
Fetch Rewards is a cash back app, but instead of paying you to buy certain products, it pays you to purchase from certain brands. Some of the participating brands include Axe, Jell-O, Doritos and many more!
They also have special offers, which are similar to IBotta offers. These special offers require you to purchase a specific product or brand. These special offers pay more points than regular offers.
After you have purchased a product from one of the participating brands or a special offer product, simply upload the receipt to the Fetch Rewards app. After a bit, Fetch will process the receipt, and you'll be rewarded points for your purchases, as well as bonus points for uploading your receipt.
This is another receipt scanning app like IBotta and ReceiptHog, so you can have even more apps to get paid for scanning receipts!
There are some restrictions so let's go over those:
- You can only submit each receipt once.
- Purchase date, merchant name, and total price must be easily visible.
- You can only submit 20 receipts a week, and they must not be over 30 days old.
Those are the main restrictions put in place, but you can check their FAQs to learn more.
As a bonus, each receipt you submit will enter you into the weekly sweepstakes where you'll have a chance to win 250 dollars!
Groupon is one of the biggest retail apps available and they've saved shoppers over $28 billion in North American alone. That is insane. They're also available in 15 countries and 500+ markets around the world.
If you've somehow never heard of or used Groupon, it's basically a massive directory of saving opportunities in every market. They've got local deals, big savings on tons of products, travel savings, coupons and more!
If you're looking for something particular, Groupon probably has a deal for it. If you don't know what you want to do this weekend, check Groupon for some cheap ideas! If you want to go out to eat but don't want to spend a fortune…check Groupon! You get the idea, Groupon basically has savings on everything.
You can even combine Groupon with some cash back sites like Ebates and save even more money!
Conclusion: Apps That Pay You to Shop
If you aren't using at least one of these apps to save money shopping, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings.
I encourage you to tell your friends and family about these apps and help them save as well; you may even be able to make some extra money by referring them. Make it fun by challenging them to see who can earn the most cash back!
If you've got any questions or you know of an app I might have missed, let me know.
How has your experience been using apps that pay you to shop?
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