The best cash back sites and apps can help you save money when shopping for groceries, clothes, kids stuff, and other household items.
Rakuten is easily the biggest name when it comes to earning cash back while shopping online. Formerly known as Ebates, the company recently was recently rebranded under the Rakuten banner with more than 1.4 billion members across the world.
In addition to Rakuten, cash back sites and apps such as Drop, Shopper Army, Checkout 51, and Great Canadian Rebates work just as well and savvy shoppers would love the fact that they are all free to use.
How Cash Back Sites Work
Cash back sites partner with brands and retailers to drive sales.
When you proceed to an online store via a cash back rewards site and make a purchase, the retailer pays them a commission. They, in turn, share this commission with you in the form of cash back.
Depending on the site, there are various ways to redeem your cash back including:
- PayPal direct deposit
- Gift cards e.g. Amazon and Starbucks
- Electronic fund transfer
As an extra incentive, many cash back sites also pay you to refer friends and family.
Best Cash Back Sites For 2021
Rakuten Canada offers opportunities to earn cash back at more than 750 stores, while in the U.S., the company is affiliated with over 2,500 stores.
To get started, simply sign up for free (includes a $5 bonus) and visit Rakuten when you want to shop. Click on your favourite store and you will be redirected to their website.
Cash back is automatically credited to your account after you complete a purchase.
You can install the Rakuten cash back button on your browser and it will notify you to activate cash back offers when you visit a partner store.
Rakuten pays out the cash back earned every quarter as long as you have $5.01 or more. Redemption options include PayPal, Amazon e-gift cards, and a physical cheque.
New members receive a $5 to $10 welcome bonus after completing their first purchase of $25 or more.
Here’s a detailed Rakuten review for more information.,
2. Drop App
Drop is a free cash back site that rewards you for shopping at hundreds of stores. The app has over 3 million active users.
Their app is similar to Rakuten in that it does not require you to upload your purchase receipts. Simply visit a retailer through the app, make a purchase and your rewards points will automatically be tracked and credited to your account.
You can redeem Drop points for popular gift cards.
New Drop users get a $5 bonus after they sign up and link a debit or credit card. To learn more about Drop, click here.
Swagbucks pays users to shop online, search the internet, play games, and complete surveys. You also get a $5 welcome bonus.
The currency on Swagbucks is Swagbucks (SB) and you can redeem your points for PayPal cash, gift cards, or Visa Prepaid cards when your balance is $3 or more.
Swagbucks has paid its members over $450 million and about 7,000 gift cards are sent out daily. Learn about the 10 different ways to earn with Swagbucks in this review.
KOHO pays you to pay for purchases using a debit (prepaid) card. You earn 0.5%-2% cash back on purchases and also enjoy access to:
- Budgeting features
- Automatic savings
- Financial coaching
- Free early payroll
- Price matching
- Joint accounts, and more
When you sign up for a new account here, you receive an extra 1% cash back for 90 days. Use the promo code CASHBACK.
You can also get more details about how the KOHO app and Visa card work in this review.
Ampli is a Canadian cash back app that is backed by RBC Ventures. Users earn real cash back when they shop at participating retailers and it is automatically tracked – no receipt uploading required.
To get started, sign up here (iPhone or Android device). Afterwards, link the credit and debit cards you normally use to pay for your shopping. You can cash-out using Interac e-Transfer when your balance reaches $15 or more.
In addition to cash back offers, Ampli users can also particpate in the monthly Dreamstakes with opportunities to earn monetary prizes and gift cards.
6. Great Canadian Rebates
Great Canadian Rebates is Canada’s home-made version of Ebates/Rakuten. The site is affiliated with more than 700 merchants including Amazon, eBay, Staples, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and many others.
After registering an account, you can visit your favourite store and earn cash back rebates on purchases using their online platform.
Easily cash out your earnings through:
- E-gift cards (minimum of $5)
- PayPal (minimum of $12), or
- Cheque (minimum of $50)
Great Canadian Rebates members who refer friends earn a 15% referral bonus on all cash back earned by their referrals for 5 years. You also receive a bonus when you first join.
7. Checkout 51
The Checkout 51 app is popular for its weekly coupons and discount offerings on grocery purchases.
If you are looking to get paid to upload receipts, this cash back app is currently one of the best.
To get started, download the app, and create a free account. Check the weekly offers and add what you need to your shopping list.
After you complete your shopping at any store (e.g. Walmart, Superstore, Sobeys, and Costco), simply upload your receipt and earn cash back.
New Checkout 51 members get a
$5 bonus when they sign up and complete their first purchase.
If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, the Shopper Army website can help you earn up to 8% cash back.
In addition to Amazon, the site also offers cash back rewards when you shop at Gap, Staples, Shoppers Drug Mart, Hudson’s Bay, Sephora, and others.
To start earning, sign up for Shopper Army and visit the site to click on the link to your preferred store when shopping online. Cash back is usually credited to your account within 48 hours of your order being shipped.
To redeem your cash back, you can choose to get paid via PayPal or an Amazon e-gift card. There is also an option to donate your cash back to charity.
New members get a $5 bonus after their first purchase of $50 or more.
Paymi is a Canadian cash back app that puts money back in your pocket when you shop at a partner store using your linked bank card.
Paymi partner stores include Leon’s, Burger King, Cabela’s, Mary Browns, Indigo, and Sportchek and you can easily cash out any money earned using Interac e-Transfer.
This Paymi review provides a lot more detail about how the app works.
Cash Back Sites/Apps FAQ
Is Rakuten really worth it?
If you shop online regularly, Rakuten can save you a couple of hundred dollars every year. The fun part is that you get money back from purchases you are going to make anyway, and the site is completely free.
Is Rakuten legit and safe?
Yes, I have used Rakuten (formerly Ebates) for several years and I’ve experienced no problems. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds a 4.6/5 rating on Trustpilot.
Does Rakuten have an app?
Rakuten has an iOS and Android phone app you can download.
Which cash back sites are the best?
The best cash back sites for you will depend on your location and the types of purchases you make online and in the store. For online shopping, Rakuten and Great Canadian Rebates are great. For online and in-store shopping, KOHO works great with at least 0.5% money back.
How do I get cash back from Amazon?
Sign up for a cash back site that is affiliated with Amazon and visit Amazon via their link before you place an order. I have earned up to 8% money back on Amazon purchases using Shopper Army and Rakuten.
What is the best cash back app?
I have written about the popular cash back apps available in Canada and you can learn more by visiting the articles below:
What is the best money earning app?
Here are the best money making apps for smartphones.