The One Cash Back Secret Everyone Is Missing: Double-Dip With Cash Back Apps

Maxing out your cash back has never been simpler, and it comes to us in the form of cash-back apps.


Image source: Getty Images

Turning your everyday spending into cash back rewards is fairly simple: as long as you have a cash back credit card, just swipe, earn, and repeat. But for those Canadians who want to earn double, or triple, the cash back without spending more, you’ll have to get savvy. Fortunately, maxing out your cash back has never been simpler, and it comes to us in the form of cash-back apps.

What are cash back apps?

Just like cash back credit cards, cash back apps allow you to earn a certain percentage of your spending when you make purchases through the app.

Often, you’ll download an app (either on your smartphone or as an extension to your computer’s browser), then find retailers through the app’s shopping portal. You’ll typically see promotions for certain purchases — for instance, 8% back on a new dishwasher — and so long as you activate the promotion and buy the product through the app, a certain amount of money will be returned to you.

Here’s the thing — often, after you select a product through these apps, you can make a final purchase with your cash back credit card. You’ll get cash back through the app, then cash back on your card’s regular earn rate.

When done in this way, the cash back potential is immense. For instance, let’s say you have a cash back credit card with a revolving earn rate that gives you 5% back for purchases made through Paypal. Let’s also say you’re looking to buy a new television, and you find an 8% cash back deal through an app. The retailer allows you to use Paypal to make your final purchase, which means you get 5% for Paypal and 8% back from the app. On a $2,000 television, that could be around $260 in savings. All for using an app and a credit card.

To get started, I would like some of Canada’s best cash back apps, like Rakuten, Drop, and Ampli. Truthfully, the more cash back apps you use, the more opportunities you’ll find. So it’s best to have five to ten downloaded, as you might find a promotion unique to one app.

This seems like a lot of work. Is it?

Trust me: not as much as you think.

To save time, it’s best to double-dip with a cash back app and card when you know what you want to buy. In fact, this is just budgeting 101: I wouldn’t recommend perusing cash back apps for things you don’t need.

Let’s go back to that example above, the $2,000 television. If you know you need a new television, the first place you should check is your cash back app. Instead of going directly to a retailer’s online store (or heaven forbid in-person), develop a knee-jerk reaction of checking the apps for a promotion first.

Some cash back apps will even let you upload receipts later. Done in this way, you can shop as you normally do, upload the receipt, and get cash back returned to you. It’s less strategic — you’re not sure if you’re actually double-dipping — but at least you’re not missing an opportunity to save.

Need a card to double-dip?

Of course, in order to double-dip on a credit card, you need a rewards card or cash-back card that will earn you points, miles, or cash back on everyday purchases. Fortunately, Canada has a great selection to choose from, each with different earn rates, welcome bonuses, on double-dipping potential.

Before you choose one, take a step back and consider which is best for you. Many cards will offer higher earn rates for certain spending categories. For example, you may find a cash back card that will offer you 3% for groceries and restaurants. If you spend most of your money on food, that card could help you earn the most cash back.

Combine the earning potential of the right cash back card with the double-dipping potential of cash back apps, and you’ll find yourself amassing large amounts of points in a short period of time.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

More on Personal Finance