After having researched so many ways to live a frugal lifestyle, it’s not uncommon for me to save 10% or more on every purchase. This is mostly because I use apps and websites that will give you cash back for things that you buy. This includes both online and offline shopping.
These 15 apps and websites are primarily divided into 2 categories: receipt scanning apps and cash back portals. Before we dive right into it, below we’ve included a brief description on how each of them work.
See one that’s not on this list and should be? Let us know in the comments below.
Receipt Scanning Apps
Receipts scanning apps are one of the most powerful tools out there for earning cash back on receipts that you save. All you have to do is install the app, take a picture of your receipt through the app, and wait a couple of days to receive cash back. Once you hit a minimum amount, cash out for gift cards or for direct deposits to PayPal.
There are two different types of receipt scanning apps:
- Apps that give you cash back no matter what you buy. As long as you scan the entire receipt, you’re going to earn some cash. Sometimes it depends on where you buy the product, but most of the time it doesn’t.
- Apps that give you cash back on specific items that you purchase. In order for the apps to detect which items you buy, you must have an itemized receipt. You must take a picture of the entire receipt as well.
All of these apps are completely free to use.
Apps That Pay For Scanning Any Receipt
In general, we’ve found that in the first case the cash back amount is slightly lower. However, the great thing about this is that you can literally buy anything at almost any place and receive cash back for it. As long as the picture of your receipt is clear and readable, you’re going to earn your cash back.
For example, let’s say you go to a gas station to fill-up your tank. Keep the receipt and take a picture of it. No matter what the total purchase price (even as little as 10 cents), you’re going to get something out of it.
Apps That Give You Cash Back On Specific Items
In this case, the cash back amount is higher. Expect to earn anywhere from $.25 cents to up to $5 dollars per item scanned. The more expensive the item, the more likely you’re going to earn a high amount of cash back on it.
The only downside with these apps is that you have to take the time to look and see if the item you’re purchasing is listed on the app itself. For example, let’s say you buy a dozen eggs. You have to look specifically for that offer on the app itself, and it has to be for that exact item. There are offers for brand specific and non-brand specific purchases; it all depends on the app that you’re using.
How To Take A Picture Of Your Receipt
When taking a picture of your receipt, you need to make sure it’s clear. A good way to do this is to place it on a flat surface. The receipt needs to include a total purchase price, store location, address, the time and the date of purchase. In order to avoid missing any of these items, we suggest taking a picture of the entire receipt.
We also suggest taking a picture of the receipt as soon as you possibly can. This is because most receipt scanning apps only accept receipts scanned within a certain timeframe, such as within 5 days of your purchase date.
How Is It That These Apps Can Pay Me?
The reason why these apps are able to pay you for uploading your receipt is because they sell the information for market research. Companies use this data to see what products are selling and which are not. Keep in mind that any data that you submit is completely anonymous, meaning they won’t be able to trace the purchases back to you personally.
Stack These Apps For More Cash Back
Just because you scan a receipt with one app doesn’t mean you can’t use it for another. If you see that you can get $.25 cents off of milk on 4 different apps, go ahead and use the same receipt for all 4 apps and quadruple your savings.
Enough of that – let’s get into the list and start earning some cash back. Here’s a list of the 15 Best Cash Back Shopping Apps in 2018.
- Registration Bonus: $10 when you claim your first receipt using promo code qFTVA
- Join Ibotta
Ibotta is by far one of the most popular apps on this list. They have a strong reputation for always paying out on time with a high rate of cash back. Earn as little as $.25 cents in cash back to as high as $5 per item scanned.
Not only that, but you also get a $10 bonus after scanning your first receipt within 30 days of registration when you use promotion code qFTVA.
The majority of items that you can earn cash back with on Ibotta is for groceries. However, they’ve been recently expanding to other categories such as electronics, toiletries, prescriptions, and even at restaurants and retail stores.
While Ibotta only gives you cash back on specific items that you buy, the amount of offers is quite substantial. I’d be surprised if you went on a grocery shopping trip and didn’t find at least one of your items as an offer on the app.
They’ve even included a new feature that gives you cash back for shopping through one other mobile apps such as Groupon or Best Buy.
Keep in mind that you can claim cash back on more than one item per each receipt scanned. Once you scan a receipt, your cash back should appear within your account anywhere from 24 – 48 hours. You need a minimum of $10 to cash out for gift cards and $20 to cash out for PayPal or Venmo.
Ibotta has one of the most generous referral programs out there. Refer a friend and earn a $5 bonus when they scan their first receipt.
- Registration Bonus: 250 kicks
- Join Shopkick
The ShopKick App was originally designed to help you earn cash for visiting stores and checking-in using your phone’s location services. However, they’ve expanded their services to also give you cash back on specific items from specific retailers.
Their offers aren’t as abundant other receipt scanning apps, but the offers that are available give you a high amount of rewards. ShopKick is partnered with common retailers such as Rite-Aid, Best Buy and Winco.
There are also a few other ways to earn cash. You can scan barcodes of specific products. Link your credit card and get a certain amount of points per every dollar spent (definitely the highest-paying). Every once in a while, you’ll even find a short video to watch to help you earn more cash.
The points (called kicks) you earn can be exchanged for either gift cards or physical rewards. Expect to earn on average around $.25 – $.50 cents per item scanned. ShopKick also has a referral program, giving you 250 per friend when they complete their first task.
- Registration Bonus: $1.50 with promo code HH3MN
- Join Fetch Rewards
Fetch Rewards is one of the newer kids on the blocks when it comes to receipt scanning apps. However, they’re already proving to be one of the best out there.
Earn a $1.50 bonus when you use promo code HH3MN and claim your first offer. While the offers they do have are quite limited, I always find the cash back rates to be high. Expect to earn anywhere between $1.50 and $4 in cash back per offer.
You can cross this threshold by claiming more than one offer per receipt. Increase your earnings even further by referring your friends and getting $1.50 each time a friend claims their first offer.
The great thing about Fetch Rewards is that you only need a minimum of $3 to cash out for a gift card of your choosing. With the $1.50 sign-up bonus, you can cash out in as little as one receipt.
- Registration Bonus: $2 when you use promo code TO1F19 and scan your first receipt
- Join Trunow
Trunow is a recently-launched app that gives you cash back specifically on fuel purchases. When you scan your receipt from any gas station, you automatically get 1% cash back and 2% in rewards into your Trunow account.
Each time you claim a receipt, you’re given a certain amount of points. These points can be exchanged for real cash prizes.
The best thing about this app doesn’t stop there. Trunow also uses your current location to tell you which gas station near you has the cheapest gas price. Instead of searching around town looking for the lowest price (and wasting gas doing so), you can use the app to get there that much quicker.
Earn a $2 sign-up bonus when you use promo code TO1F19 and scan your first receipt. Want to earn even more cash? Simply sign-up and earn $2 for every friend that you refer.
- Registration Bonus: $1 when you use promo code lizzod
- Join Makeena
While Makeena is fairly new to the receipt scanning app game, that doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable. In fact, they’re quickly making their way up to the top of the list.
For starters, get a $1 registration bonus when you sign-up using the promo code lizzod. The best part about Makeena that other apps don’t do? It doesn’t matter where you buy your products. As long as it shows up on the receipt, you’re going to earn cash back.
Makeena also does a great job promoting healthy eating. The majority of their offers consist of fruits and vegetables – something else you also won’t find with other apps.
When you reach a minimum of $20 you’ll be eligible to cash out to either PayPal or Venmo. While the amount may seem high, it doesn’t take long to reach this amount due to their wide variety of offers.
6. Checkout 51
- Registration Bonus: None
- Join Checkout 51
If you’re familiar with Ibotta, then you already have a good idea of how Checkout 51. You get paid to scan receipts with particular items on them. The difference? It doesn’t matter where you buy the product, just as long as it’s listed on the receipt.
Offers from Checkout 51 are updated every Wednesday night at midnight, and usually you can find anywhere from 40 – 50 offers on there at a time. While the offers they do have aren’t that abundant, you can still earn anywhere from around $.25 cents to $3 in cash back per item. You can also claim more than one offer per receipt.
The great thing about Checkout 51 is that they often have offers on there for fruits and vegetables, something not common with other receipt scanning apps. Once you scan your receipt, you should receive payment to your account within 48 hours.
You need a minimum of $20 to request a check to be sent to your door. Checkout 51 tested a referral program that gave you $5 per friend, but unfortunately they no longer offer this.
- Registration Bonus: $2 with promo code 7xYw14Jb
- Join BerryCart
BerryCart is great for those who like to eat organic, vegan or other types of foods that you can’t easily grab off of the shelf. They realized that most of the receipt scanning apps reward you for buying common, everyday items, but nothing for the healthy ones.
The best part about this app is that you can filter by product attributes: Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, organic, Soy-Free and much more.
Not only that, but their cash back amount is one of the highest I’ve seen, and they have quite a bit of offers as well. However, this makes sense since you’re buying organic and other specialty-type items that usually cost more. Expect to earn $0.75 – $1.50 per item scanned.
You can refer friends and earn some extra cash. For each friend that you refer, you both earn $2 after they scan their first receipt. You need a minimum of $5 to cash out to PayPal.
- Registration Bonus: None
- Join Punchcard
The Punchcard App is very unique compared to the rest of the apps on this list. You earn cash back by submitting receipts from retailers in your local area. It doesn’t matter what you buy, just as long as that retailer is partnered with Punchcard.
You’d be surprised at how many stores are on the app, even if you’re located in a small city. A lot of Mom and Pop shops will appear on there.
Each time you submit a receipt, you get a chance to spin a wheel for points. Each spin can earn you as little as 5 points and as much as 500. You need a minimum of 5,000 points to cash out for a $2 gift card.
The one annoying thing about this app is that you earn points through Punchcard, but you claim prizes through their partner app called mPoints.
- Registration Bonus: None
- Join ReceiptPal
ReceiptPal is very similar to Yaarlo. You earn points on receipts no matter what products you buy or where you buy them. There isn’t a sign-up bonus with this one, and each time you scan your receipt you earn 25 points.
We put this one last on the list because the payout is extremely low. You will need to scan hundreds of receipts before you can actually cash out.
However, if you want to earn some extra cash and you’re already in the process of scanning receipts, it may be worth your time. Prizes are in the form of gift cards.
Link Your Credit/Debit Card Apps
While there aren’t many apps of this type, a new phenomenon of apps has come out in which you earn cash simply by linking your credit or debit card. The best thing about these apps is that they’re incredibly easy to use – all you have to do is link your card and use it.
The only work on your end is going to include remembering to cash out. With that said, let’s get started introducing you to the most popular one on the market.
- Registration Bonus: $1 when you link your first card
- Join Drop
Drop has quickly risen in popularity due to their great payouts and ease of use. When you first sign-up for Drop, you’re be required to choose 5 retailers from a selection of many. This includes common stores such as McDonald’s, Whole Foods and more (keep in mind that these options may have changed).
From there, you’ll need to link a debit or credit card to your account (in which you’ll receive a $1 bonus for doing so). Each time you use that credit or debit card to make a purchase at one of the retailers you’ve selected, you’ll be given a certain amount of points.
The amount of points depends on the retailer. When Drop first started, McDonalds was giving 6 points per dollar spent and Amazon was giving 3 points per $1 spent.
When you reach a minimum of 5,000 points, you can cash out for a gift card of your choosing.
My favorite thing about this app is that you can literally set it and forget it. Choose your retailers, link your cards and make purchases. Check back once a week to see if you can cash out.
Cash Back Portals
Now we’re on to the second half of our article: online shopping portals. These portals are websites that have partnered with thousands of retailers across the web and place their links onto one website. Click on one of the links and make a purchase and they earn a commission, but they give it back to you in the form of cash back.
How Exactly Do Cash Back Portals Work?
Since these cash back portals are a bit confusing at first, we’ve created a 5-step process of how to use them.
- Register for a free portal account. We suggest using TopCashback for first-timers since you get a $10 sign-up bonus.
- Type in the retailer that you wish to search at. Your results will display how much you can earn at that store. For example, at Walmart you can earn 4% in cash back on everything (with the exception of a few items).
- Click on the “Get Cashback” button and be redirected to the retailer’s website. Make your purchase like you normally would.
- TopCashback will automatically keep track of any purchases that you make. Within 10 days, your cash back will appear in your account as long as your browser has cookies enabled (most browsers automatically do).
- When you reach a minimum of $20 in your account, you can cash out to PayPal or gift cards to American Express or Amazon. If you go with gift cards on TopCashback, you get a 3% bonus.
Don’t Forget About The Coupon Codes
When you search for a particular retailer on the portal sites, often there will be coupon codes listed as well. These will stack in addition to the cash back that you’re going to receive.
However, if you use a coupon code that’s not listed on the portal, you risk not receiving your cash back. For this reason, we suggest calculating out how much you can earn in each case and go with the better option.
Great Sign-Up Bonuses, But Stick With A Few
Since there are quite a few shopping portals, we can often get carried away and sign-up for all of them. This is especially due to the fact that many offer sign-up bonuses of $10. Yet we need to keep in mind that they all require a minimum balance before you can cash out, so you can’t just take the bonus and run.
Unless you do a lot of online shopping, we suggest only going with 2 or 3. Otherwise, you’ll have cash spread out in multiple accounts without being able to cash out for any of them.
Let’s get started with the best shopping portals on the web.
- Registration Bonus: $5
- Join Swagbucks
This is one of the most overlooked shopping portals. Swagbucks is known as a rewards website, giving you cash for completing tasks online. This typically includes watching videos, clipping coupons, playing games, taking surveys and more.
One of these tasks includes shopping online. When you use their links to make a purchase, you earn points in the form of “Swagbucks.” 1 Swagbuck is equivalent to $.01 cent, and they can be exchanged for gift cards or cash.
While you’re not getting cash directly, it’s basically the same thing. Often enough you’ll find that their cash back rates are higher than other portals at certain stores.
- Registration Bonus: $10
- Join TopCashback
This is by far my favorite shopping portal out there. Not only do they give you a $10 bonus for signing-up as a new user, but they have some of the best rates around.
Sign-up for their newsletter and they send you incredible deals – often showing you how you can earn 100% cash back at certain stores. For example, they’re still holding a deal showing you how to get 2 gigs on Fiverr absolutely for free.
You need a minimum of $20 to cash out. Since their cash back rates are so high, you should reach this amount in know time if you do a decent amount of online shopping.
You can cash out for PayPal, Amazon gift cards or American Express gift cards. We recommend the latter two since you get a 3% bonus. Refer a friend and get a $10 bonus when they make their first purchase.
- Registration Bonus: $10
- Join BeFrugal
Right behind TopCashback is a close competitor – BeFrugal. Their rates are very similar, often ranking high above all other portals. If you have to only choose two portals, let it be these two.
You get a $10 bonus for signing-up as a new user, and they also have great specials that they send out via their newsletter. The downside is that their cash out minimum is a bit higher at $25.
Just like TopCashback, you can cash out to PayPal, Amazon gift cards or American Express Gift Cards. Again, the last two give a bonus of 3%.
They definitely have a better referral program, giving you $15 per each friend referred. However, this may change since it used to be $10 in the past.
- Registration Bonus: $10
- Join Ebates
Although the cash back rates they have aren’t nearly as high as other portals, every once in a while they’ll throw a special that beats every other portal in the game. This often occurs around the holidays.
You get a free $10 gift card when you register as a new user. The great thing about Ebates is that you’re sent a check once every 3 months with your balance if you have a minimum of $20.
Furthermore, they have one of the best referral bonuses in the game. Refer 1 friend, earn $5. Refer a 2nd, earn $30. Earn a 3rd friend for a total of $75. Keep in mind that these rates change, but usually it’s the highest of them all.
One thing Ebates has is that they offer cash back for in-store shopping, something no other portal does.
This is a weird one on the list. Jet.com isn’t your typical cash back portal, and in fact they’re mostly known as a shopping site meant to compete against Amazon.
Yet they have a small section on the site that most people overlook. Their “Earn Jet Cash” section allows you to shop through other websites and earn cash back in the form of Jet credit.
The downside? You earn Jet credit. Yet the cash back rate is almost double the rate of other portals at certain stores, and they have over 600 retailers partnered with them. Not only that, but products on Jet are often cheaper than Amazon, so you know that Jet credit is basically as good as cash.
16. Discover Deals
Not everyone will have access to the Discover Deals shopping portal. However, it’s one of the best out there due to their high rates. In fact, if you shop at Men’s Wearhouse, you can get 40% in cash back on all purchases through this portal.
Only those who own a Discover It Credit Card can access this portal. We highly suggest you get the card if you don’t have one already. There’s no annual fee, you get double cash back on everything your first year (minimum 2%) and 5% cash back on certain categories.
Since everything is doubled, this means that everything you buy through the Discover Deals portal is also doubled. Keep in mind that you need a credit score of at least 700 to qualify.
17. Giving Assistant
Every once in a while Giving Assistant has some incredible deals. A while back they were giving 5% in cash back on all Amazon purchases, but this deal has yet to come back.
We’ve found that certain stores like Nike and Walmart on this site are pretty high in terms of how much cash back you can earn. Just be sure to stay updated on any specials they have.
They also have a great referral program, giving both you and your friend $5 when they sign-up using your referral code.
iConsumer doesn’t usually have the best rates available, but we included them on here due to their unique sign-up bonus.
When you register as a new user, they’ll reserve 100 shares of iConsumer stock for you. What this means is that if they ever go public, you’ll automatically get 100 shares of their stock (potentially greatly increasing your wealth). There’s no guarantee, of course.
For each friend you refer, you get $10 plus an additional 100 shares in their stock. We recommend checking back with this portal once in a while since they sometimes offer double cash back at all stores.
With So Many Portals, Which Is The Best One?
Unlike receipt scanning apps, you can unfortunately only receive cash back through one shopping portal at a time. In order to find the best rate, you’d have to manually check each shopping portal and check which one offered the highest amount of cash back.
Fortunately there’s a tool that helps keep track of this for you called CashBackMonitor. Simply use their search tool and type in the retailer you wish to shop at. The results will return a list of portals and their associated cash back rates with that retailer.
Whether you’re making purchases online or offline, you should be able to earn at least a little bit of cash back using one of these apps or websites. On average, I save around nine or ten percent just from cash back. While it may not seem like a huge amount, it definitely adds up.
Is there an app or a website that you know of that gives cash back for shopping? Let us know down in the comments below. Otherwise, thanks for reading and happy frugaling!