How Cash-Back Apps and Coupon Apps Work, And How Best to Use Them

Saving money at the point of purchase is one of the all-time feel-good moments for consumers. You’ve got a good deal and suddenly—BOOM!—you’ve got an additional 10%, 20% or 50%! Your good deal is now officially great, all because you’re a savvy shopper with an ace up your sleeve. 

Among the most popular tools in the Savvy Shopper Tool Kit’ are cash-back apps and coupon-apps. These apps save you money at no cost to you. Sometimes it’s just 1%, while other times it can be a substantial price cut. But how do they work? Why are they free? And what else do you need to know when using them?

Coupon Apps

What are they? Coupon apps scour the web to provide digital coupons, promo codes and other point-of-sale savings opportunities for various products and services so you don’t have to. Some can even alert you when it finds deals for products you’re looking for but haven’t found yet.

How do they work? Once items are added to your cart, you can activate the app to search for appropriate coupons and discounts.

Tips and tricks? Once you’ve selected the app you want to use, add the plug-in to your browser so that it’s easy to see when you’re doing your online shopping from a desktop device. Also, you may be able to combine offers from multiple apps, so give that a shot when looking at a substantial purchase. 

Popular coupon apps: Honey, Rakuten, RetailMeNot

Cash-Back Apps

What are they? These apps reward users for making purchases by providing a predetermined amount of cash back. 

How do they work? Get started by creating an account within the app (which can also be presented as a plug-in for your browser on desktop devices). When you make a purchase of eligible items with a retail store that also partners with the app, the app offers a percentage of cash back. Once your cash-back total reaches a certain point, money is paid out from the app in a variety of different ways. 

Tips and tricks? Understand the criteria for qualifying to earn cash back that is specific to your app and the products you’re looking to buy. Don’t let the savings distract you from the final cost—a better price could still be out there. 

Popular cashback apps: Rakuten, Swagbucks, WikiBuy

You may be wondering how these money-saving apps are free to use. The apps help businesses sell products and are paid for that service. Meanwhile, those retailers are banking on you coming back again with or without a discount next time. You also may have had to give them your email address at purchase, giving them a new avenue to target you down the road. It’s important to understand your privacy settings and make sure you’re comfortable with what any of these apps is doing with your data.


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