Top 5 Cash Back Platforms You Need to Know About

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With a possible recession looming, stock market volatility, and general post-pandemic unease, many consumers are looking for ways to spend and save. The trend in recent years has been “cash back” shopping—an e-commerce phenomenon allowing consumers to earn money for shopping. But what is cash back and why should you care about it?

Cash back is appealing to many because unlike other rewards programmes, it’s free and there is no need to worry about coupons or points. Cash back is simply just that—getting cash back from a purchase made. Cash back platforms allow users to make money back on everyday purchases like clothing, home and garden items, beauty essentials, plus even things like travel and services.

Here are the top five cash back platforms:

1. Rakuten

Rakuten is one of the most popular and well-known cash back platforms, with over 17 million users. In 2014, Rakuten, a Japanese conglomerate acquired Ebates, which was a renowned US-based cash back platform. The Ebates business was then renamed Rakuten. Today, Rakuten.com is affiliated with over 3,500 stores and claims to have issued over $3.7 billion in cash back rewards.

The company boasts its data-driven business model, which they say is powered by their cash-back-seeking Google Chrome browser extension. The average Rakuten user earned $64. Rakuten users can earn cash back from stores and retailers like Aeropostale, J. Crew, Under Armour, H&M, Macy’s, Ulta Beauty, and more. One of the most popular features on Rakuten is opting in for a reward offer. Users can connect a credit card to their Rakuten account, and when they make a purchase with that card, they will receive cash back.

2. Chirpyest

Chirpyest is the newest cash back browser extension and platform offering rewards with a unique twist. In addition to earning up to 30% cash back from thousands of online retailers, Chirpyest members can also earn cash back for recommending products to their friends. With brands like Target, Nordstrom, Lululemon, Wayfair, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, The Container Store, SKIMS, Adidas, and more, Chirpyest is offering cash back from some of the most popular brands in the US

The Chirpyest extension differentiates itself from the competition with its unique suite of cash back sharing tools and a shopping board that allows users to save items and buy them later. This Black-owned woman-led cash back platform already has a loyal, diverse community of members, says Chirpyest Community Coordinator Emma Kisner, “Our community is our biggest asset. In just a short time, we have a cohort of members who have already made thousands of dollars for shopping and sharing!”

3. Honey

Another well-known platform is Honey. With over 17 million monthly users, Honey launched in 2012, offering coupon codes to its members. Honey’s coupon finding browser extension went viral when the prototype was leaked on Reddit. Since then, the company was acquired by Paypal in 2020 for approximately $4 billion. In 2021, Honey added cash back to its suite of offerings to consumers to compete with Rakuten.

Honey members earn $126 annually in savings between coupons, discount codes, and cash back. Honey boasts tens of thousands of retailers for coupons; Its cash back offering, however, is significantly smaller. Honey’s cash back feature also does not always imply actual cash back; the company often rewards users with honey gold points, which users can redeem for a reduced cash back amount or a shopping credit on Paypal. Lowe’s, Verizon, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and American Eagle are among the brands affiliated with Honey.

4. Ibotta

Founded in 2012 and affiliated with over 300 retail chains, restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, and home improvement centers, Ibotta is yet another free browser extension and app. Upon its launch, Ibotta initially focused on rebates from in-store purchases from grocery chains and big box retailers. Today, Ibotta offers up to 10% cash back from brands like Trader Joe’s, Albertson’s, Dollar General, Harvest Market, Giant Eagle, Food Lion, Kroger, Kmart, Ralph’s, Whole Foods, and more.

On top of earning cash back shopping online, Ibotta app users can get the same perks when shopping in stores or on their mobile devices. Other features include connecting to existing store loyalty cards and apps to earn rewards and cash back seamlessly. Ibotta’s browser extension also offers a price comparison feature.

5. Dosh

What makes Dosh different from other cash back apps is that users can directly link their debit or credit card to the Dosh app for direct and easy payments. Founded in 2016, Dosh has 3 million subscribers. Dosh members can also link their accounts to PayPal, Venmo, or a charity donation of their choice, and they’re paid after accumulating at least $25. Dosh users can earn up to 40% cash back at retailers, restaurants, and hotels. Dosh also provides a “Tips & Tricks” section to help members shop smarter.

Chirpyest Chirpyest

Pros and Cons

Pro

Rakuten, Chirpyest, Honey, and Ibotta offer free browser extensions that automatically alert users to the available cash back on participating retailers’ websites. These extensions automate the cash back experience by eliminating the need to search for coupons or discount codes.

Cons

There are two drawbacks that some users complain about with these cash back platforms:

The first drawback is that a consumer can only use one cash back platform at a time, and the cash back cannot be paired with coupons not provided by that particular platform.

The second drawback is that it can take time to get paid, sometimes up to six months. The platforms wait for the retailers to confirm that the consumer has not returned the products before paying out the cash back, so consumers will need exercise patience.

Conclusion

Despite the drawbacks, cash back is still a way to receive actual money through savings. So, the ultimate question is, who wouldn’t want free money for shopping?

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