Everyone is looking for more ways to save money in 2023. Fortunately, there are some good options that can help you to keep more money in your bank account. Cash back cards and apps are a relatively easy way to save when you purchase products you would have to buy anyway. Let’s get a closer look at cashback apps and cards, so you can determine whether these are right for you.
What Is Cash Back Savings?
“Cashback” refers to getting back a percentage of what you paid for an item and works in brick-and-mortar stores, as well as with online retail purchases. You can think of this as an incentive or reward for making certain purchases. You don’t get an immediate discount, but you “earn” money that can then be paid to you once you have accrued a certain amount.
Typically cash back savings are used with credit cards. However, you can find some browser extensions and cashback apps that offer this feature as well. Below, we will be discussing both.
Why Choose a Cash Back Card?
Many credit or debit card options today offer a range of benefits, including points and travel miles. Those types of rewards have limited flexibility when you redeem them, though. For most, cashback cards are the better solution, as you can do more with cash than you can with points. You receive money back for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases, typically on things you would buy regardless, like spending at gas stations, restaurants, or even grocery stores.
Let’s say you spend $50 at a restaurant, and you use a cashback card that gives you 2% back. This will earn you $1 cash back. While this might seem like a small amount of bonus cash, it adds up over time with more purchases.
Types of Cash Back Cards
Three main types of cards with cashback are available from credit card issuers in 2023. The type will determine how you accrue cash.
First, there are flat-rate cards offering cash rewards. These will provide you with a certain percentage of cash back for each purchase you make, no matter what you buy. These cards will generally offer 1.5% cash back, but some may offer 2%. These are popular because it is easy to earn cash rewards.
An example of this would be the Capital One Quicksilver card, which provides 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases. It also features a sign-up bonus.
Next are tiered cards. These types of cards earn a higher cashback rate when you are buying certain categories of products, such as groceries. An example of this card would be the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. With this card, you can receive 6% cash back on eligible purchases for up to $6,000 spent each year and then 1% after that limit. You can also earn 6% back on some streaming services and 3% back at U.S. gas stations. Other everyday purchases are 1% cash back.
Other cards may have rotating bonus categories. They may offer up to 5% cash back in some cases on categories that change about every three months. You typically need to activate the bonus categories quarterly. All other purchases will earn cash back at 1%. While the cash back on everyday purchases might seem like a small amount, it could still be worth it if you spend a lot on the categories the card covers.
Common Categories for Cash Back Cards
Categories can vary from one credit card company to another. Typically, cash rewards will be offered for one or more categories with all but flat-rate cards. Grocery stores tend to be one of the most popular, while others include restaurant cards and gas cards. Some of the less popular categories include home improvement stores and wholesale club stores. If you spend a lot of money in those stores regularly, though, you may want to find a card that offers cash back for those purchases.
Keep in mind that the rewards are usually based on where you are using the card rather than what you are buying. Everything you buy at grocery stores, whether it’s food, toiletries, cookware, magazines, etc., will be included.
What Can You Do with Cash Back from Credit Cards?
This is the beauty of these types of cards. The cash will be yours to do with as you will. You aren’t locked in with travel miles or points only redeemable at certain locations or during certain periods. Many people who get cash back on their cards turn around and use it to make credit card payments. Of course, the choice is typically yours. However, some cards automatically apply the cashback bonus to your credit card statement to lower your credit card bill.
How to Choose a Cash Back Credit Card
Although choosing a cashback card might sound easy enough, you need to do more than just find one you think will give you the most money back. You also need to look at the cashback rate, the annual fee, and whether there is a sign-up bonus with your account opening. Consider the types of cards mentioned above to determine which one will work best for the way you spend.
Additionally, if you choose a tiered card, you must consider the categories offered. If you don’t go out to dinner very often, for example, you wouldn’t earn much from a card that offers 6% cash back for restaurant purchases.
Also, consider how you will be rewarded with the cashback. Do they mail you a check? Will the money be deposited into your bank account or PayPal account? Does it instead reduce your next credit card bill? Which of these choices do you prefer?
Research the options for which you can qualify and then narrow your choices until you find the one that will benefit your finances best. There’s no rush in finding the best cashback card.
What About Apps and Browser Extensions?
Credit cards are certainly not the only way you can get cash back on your purchases today. The Internet has spawned other options, including cashback apps and browser extensions you can add to your computer. Some of the common apps include Fetch Rewards, Rakuten, RetailMeNot, and Coupons.com. These reward and cashback apps tend to work best with online shopping.
A Good Browser Extension to Try
A Chrome browser extension you should consider is called Comrade. This works differently than a typical cashback app or card. The extension helps ensure you are only seeing relevant ads in your browser and ensures you see them at the right time.
If you are looking for a new pair of men’s running shoes, for example, you will see ads that match your needs. Seeing relevant recommendations is far better than the constant random ads people are accustomed to being shown. You are then essentially paid for the attention you give they add when you click on it. This is true even if you don’t make a purchase, which is different from other extensions.
The extension respects your privacy and won’t collect any data. It’s also easy to redeem cash and helps you save money.
A Little Research Goes a Long Way
Whether you want to get a cashback card, cashback apps for your phone, a browser extension for in-store purchases, or an online purchase, make sure you understand it thoroughly. Check to see that you understand how it works, how you can earn cash back, and whether there are any risks before you spend money.
Learn how to earn money when shopping online with Comrade, the only browser extension that pays you in cash for your attention.