What Are the Best Cash-Back Apps? How to Shop and Earn

This information is current as of March 21, 2022.

As fuel and food prices continue to increase, it’s good to know there are ways to get paid for spending money on stuff you need. Many free apps are available to provide cash back on purchases like groceries and gas. Some apps may not give you money back but let you earn points in exchange for e-gift cards to stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Costco.

So, what are the best cash-back apps out there? This blog article will spotlight eight of the most popular mobile apps that pay money or give you gift cards, including:

  1. Checkout 51
  2. Fetch Rewards
  3. GetUpside
  4. Ibotta
  5. Rakuten
  6. Receipt Hog
  7. RetailMeNot
  8. Survey Junkie

What Are Cash-Back Apps?

Before introducing you to some of the top free cash-back apps, you may be wondering, what are cash-back apps? Are they a scam? Why would companies give me free money? What’s the catch?

Most cash-back or reward apps, websites, and/or web browser extensions work the same way. But where do the funds come from? Payment is typically made possible through partnerships and relationships with businesses and retailers. Retailers pay through referrals because the apps are helping increase purchases.

Another critical factor is gathering consumer information. Some cash back apps also help retailers or brands gather valuable consumer insights using the receipts or surveys, etc. to improve their:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Pricing
  • Advertising/marketing campaigns

These apps are designed to collect data and shopping behavior or trends about potential or current consumers. They can help businesses and retailers find out:

  • Purchasing or product trends by location, age, sex, etc.
  • Buyer behavior such as buying gas timed with snacks, soda, alcohol, or tobacco purchases 
  • How to improve cross-merchandising or add-on offers – such as chips with soda specials, milk with cereal, etc.

What Are the Best Cash-Back Apps Out There?

There are many cash-back and rewards apps, but which ones are worth your time? Here are the most popular and how they work. Some provide only gift cards, while others will cut you a check or deposit funds into your PayPal or Venmo account. Read on to learn more.

Checkout 51

By downloading the free Checkout 51 app, you can claim offers, take pictures of your store or gas station receipts, and receive cash back to your account.

How it works: Every Thursday morning, Checkout 51 provides a new list of offer updates. Select new offers every week for fuel, groceries, and everyday essentials. Shop and purchase select items to earn cash back. Once you’ve reached a minimum of $20, you can request payment. Like most cash back apps, you can make extra cash by referring friends.

Fetch Rewards

With the free Fetch Rewards app, you’re rewarded for spending money on groceries, cleaning supplies, diapers, and other essentials. 

How it works: The Fetch Rewards app allows you to receive e-gift cards for shopping and dining out. You can earn points in the Fetch app by scanning all your receipts. You’ll earn even more points anytime you purchase on particular promotional brands. Every receipt will make you a minimum of 25 points. In addition, you can earn additional points for referring friends.


One of the most popular cash-back apps for gas is GetUpside. This free app gives you real cash back on gas, groceries, and restaurants. GetUpside can be used for cash back on fuel purchased at more than 30,000 participating gas stations such as Circle K, Shell, and RaceTrac, to name a few.

How it works: Download the app here.

Use the app to find an offer you like best for gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants near you. Pay with your debit or credit card. Once you’ve completed the fuel purchase, you can scan your receipt and start to watch the cash back add up. You can cash out via PayPal, direct deposit, or gift card when ready.

This is the ideal app for people who do lots of driving. However, if you use your vehicle for deliveries or rideshare, it pays to take advantage of GetUpside.


Ibotta gives you cash back whenever you shop online, in-store, or from your phone. In addition, you can earn cash back at hundreds of popular online retailers, travel sites, food delivery services, etc. 

How it works:

  • Select offer items you need.
  • Purchase the items.
  • Save the receipts.
  • Use your phone to scan the receipt using the app.

Depending on the retailer, you may be able to link your Ibotta app with your store account to get the cash back on purchases without scanning your receipt. 


Like RetailMeNot, Rakuten can be added to your Chrome browser, so you don’t miss any special cash back offers. Since it launched, Rakuten has paid its members more than $2 billion in cash back.

How it works: The concept is the same as the apps mentioned above and websites. Using the Rakuten 5-star-rated app or browser extension, you can earn cash to shop dozens of your favorite stores, websites, and more. The site is user-friendly, making it easy to find double cash back offers and hot deals. What’s more, the Rakuten referral program pays you and a qualifying friend a whopping $30. All payments can be by PayPal or check.

Receipt Hog

Like Ibotta, Receipt Hog lets you scan receipts to earn back. The good news is you can use it for more than just grocery purchases.

How it works: With Receipt Hog, you can shop for any item at retailers such as Costco or McDonald’s and scan your receipt to receive coins. Every receipt also enters you into Receipt Hog’s monthly drawing, where winners score up to 5,000 coins. Once you reach 1,000 coins, you can redeem the coins for a PayPal deposit, Mastercard/Visa e-gift card code, or Amazon e-gift card. In addition, short surveys and a fun slot machine allow you to earn even more points.


First and foremost, RetailMeNot is a great way to save when online shopping with coupon codes to thousands of stores. RetailMeNot also offers cash back on certain purchases.

How it works: Download the app or install the extension into your browser, so you never miss a RetailMeNot offer. When RetailMeNot sees you’re shopping on a partner site. Look for promotions or deals on the website before making purchases. Cash back is paid via PayPal or Venmo. Approval takes 45 days, but it’s a great way to earn cash back just for making purchases.

Survey Junkie

One of the easiest ways to earn cash back without spending a cent is with Survey Junkie. This free app—accredited by the Better Business Bureau—allows you to earn cash back from the comfort of your home.  

How it works: Download the app or visit the Survey Junkie website. There are two ways to earn. One, you can answer questions on the surveys of your choice. Once registered for the app, you’ll receive emails inviting you to participate and share your opinion. Prefer to “do less?” Not a problem. You can even earn rewards by adding the Survey Junkie Pulse web browser extension or opt-in. Doing so allows you to automatically share your digital browsing behaviors.

Happy Earning!

Hopefully, this blog article helps you decide which cash-back or reward apps to try. Perhaps, you’re now aware of a new one. Whatever you decide. Using these apps could be a profitable way to get rewarded for being a consumer.

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Save Even More Money with Recommended Resources and Amazon Deals

Finally, check out our Recommended Resources page if you’re looking for more ways to save. For example, you can learn how to save 50% on Amazon Prime membership and use your EBT card on Amazon.