Cashback apps: downloads that are worth your time

Julia Eilert

Sometimes making ends meet can be a struggle for busy college students, but the internet is filled with easy ways to make money that can help you solve your finance problems.

The only problem is that finding which ones are worthwhile can be an arduous process.

Here’s the top cashback apps that anyone can use- treat yourself with some basically free money.

 1. Ibotta

Ibotta is a cashback app that can be downloaded for free. Before shopping, users find and add cash back rebates to their accounts. After shopping from stores, restaurants and even apps, you simply send a receipt and link your loyalty card. Cash can then be received through PayPal, Venmo or a variety of gift cards.

This app is simple to use, and it has a surprisingly large range of retailers it can work with. From Walmart to Joann, there’s nearly an endless amount of stores it applies to. It is also convenient that it works with apps, rather than just online stores. The GPS does run in the background, so if you’re not aware of this it can drain your battery, but a quick trip to the settings can fix this. Ibotta is worth checking out, especially if you’re buying your own groceries.

2. Receipt Hog

Receipt Hog is a free cashback app that functions differently than Ibotta, and is set up more like a game than a money-saving app. Instead of looking for deals, users just upload pictures of their receipts to earn coins and spins on the virtual slot machine. Your receipts “feed” the hog, giving the app its name. Coins that are swapped in for cash can then be distributed through PayPal or Amazon gift cards.

While very different from Ibotta, Receipt Hog is a fun way to earn extra cash without any premeditation. The app also stores your receipts if you choose, making it double as a spending tracker.

Receipt Hog is a straightforward idea that doesn’t take much time at all. New users do have to be approved for an account, but the process is quick and painless. It can be a great way to make your wallet thicker.

3. Ebates

Ebates is a more common, free cashback app with an online interface as well. Unlike the previous apps, Ebates gives you savings directly. After making an account, you can browse discounted deals and earn different amounts of cash back while shopping online. It has a recently added feature that allows users to link cards with their account and earn cashback when they shop in stores too.

Ebates acts as more like a discount shopping site than anything else, but it has great deals that can be paired with the other apps mentioned. It also works with many retail stores such as Sephora, and even with travel sites like Expedia. Since it has a large platform, there’s something everyone can use with Ebates.

4. Dosh

The next app is Dosh. This app is the most “hands-free” of the four. After securely linking a debit or credit card to their account, users simply use the card normally and earn cashback on the app. There are no limits, and the app has discounts for booking hotels through it as well. Cash can be transferred to a bank account or PayPal, but there’s also an option to donate to charities directly from the app.

Dosh is arguably the easiest to use, as it requires no pictures, planning, or upkeep. With a pleasing, modern design, Dosh can use your location to suggest nearby store if you choose to use it.

Altogether, it is a considerate app for people who don’t want to spend time searching for savings or deals.

All four of the apps mentioned can be downloaded onto iOS and Android systems, and are completely free. There are plenty of cashback apps out there, these are just some of the best contenders. Why not give some free money a try?