If you’re a savvy shopper, then you’ve probably seen a boat load of ads for apps that promise to save you money online.
There are apps for earning cash back, getting coupons, saving your extra purchasing change, earning rewards on receipts, and so much more.
While it can seem scammy at times, many of these apps are indeed legit. Whether or not they completely fulfill their promise is another story entirely.
Still, if you’re looking at saving money on the go, then you should seriously consider a cash back-type app, as they do have their list of benefits.
How do Cash Back Apps Work?
Cash back apps (and other money-saving apps) allow you to earn rewards from your online shopping.
They function similarly to their desktop counterparts with just a few key differences.
The same basic steps are involved:
• Search for the deal you want.
• Click on the cash back offer (or coupon).
• Head to the official site to complete your purchase.
Structurally, this is exactly the same as cash back sites. However, apps generally act more as a universal hub than a simple path to cash back goodness.
This means that you’ll often have to navigate through a bit more windows to find the deal you want, but you also have access too a lot of great offers too with the swipe of your finger.
The other more noticeable difference is the path between the cash back app, and the store where you’ll actually do your shopping. On a desktop, once you click your cash back offer, you’ll be taken directly to the site on the same page, on an app a few different things can happen.
Because the internet app is a different app entirely, usually your internet browser on your phone will open instead or not at all requiring you to back out and do it yourself. (the RebatesMe app goes directly to the store page).
This can become a bit complicated when you throw in merchant apps (like the Macy’s app) into the mix. Generally, cash back apps and other shopping apps don’t mix very well, but that’s been improving as time has gone by.
Beyond that though, there are not really many differences between mobile cash back apps and their desktop counterparts, giving you access to all the benefits that cash back apps can bring.
Pros of using cash back apps
The biggest perk of using a cash back app is that you can earn cash back whenever you buy something online. You might be going “well no-duh”, and we agree that yes, a mobile cash back app should absolutely earn you money wherever you are.
What you might not know is how much of an impact it can have on your wallet.
About 10% of shopping done now is through a mobile device. That might not seem like a big chunk, but keep in mind that the other 90% is made up of things you wouldn’t typically buy online anyway like gas, groceries, home goods, etc.
That means that a significant chunk of your purchases could be earning you cash back, but aren’t unless you use a mobile app, causing this to absolutely be the biggest pro.
The other pros are all about usability. Those are:
Plainly put, cash back apps make it easy to earn and track your cash back progress.
Cons of cash back apps
Of course, like everything in this world, it’s not all sunshine and roses.
Apps, in general, tend to over-promise and underdeliver. An app touted as the GREATEST MONEY SAVING TOOL EVER may only save you a few dollars here or worse, have a user-interface that’s so horrific you’d rather go to the store itself to finish your purchase.
It all depends on who makes it, and the expectations the company sets forth when promoting it.
Of course, that’s a con that exists on a case-by-case basis, but what’s more universal is the fact that cash back apps tend to be a bit more work than normal cash back sites.
It’s hard to beat desktops when it comes to fluidity, effort, and functionality. They have more power which is part of it, but also having a MUCH bigger screen is really their secret.
On a desktop, you can see more information at once and have multiple tabs viewable at once. If you’re someone who loves to do comparison shopping, then working on a desktop becomes a much easier experience.
All in all, however, app developers have done a good job at making cash back apps accessible and easy to use – leaving few cons in their wake.
Do you need an app to earn Cash Back on a phone?
Some businesses require you to download their money-saving/cash back app in order to completely use their service.
Others, like RebatesMe don’t. The app (at least from a RebatesMe perspective) helps with functionality, account management, and deal sorting on mobile. The same can be said for many of the other apps out there, but it’s not required. You can use your regular mobile internet browser if that suits you more.
No matter what you choose, if you earn cash back on every purchase you make, then you’re one smart shopper who will get the absolute most out of online cash back.