Getting rewarded for spending money you’ve already decided to spend sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what these cashback apps are offering.
It may sound a little too good to be true, but with so much competition among retailers today, especially these large online marketplaces, they are willing to try whatever it takes to get you to pick them over competitors.
This is where cashback apps come in; they give you the incentive to spend with the promise that you will receive a portion of that money back.
So, whether you’re saving for a specific goal or just want a discount on your Christmas shopping, cashback apps can help but they do come with some downsides.
How do cashback apps work?
The premise is quite simple; instead of buying directly from a shop or an online store, you access the online store that you want to buy from through a cashback app. You still receive the product directly from the seller but the cashback app deposits a percentage of your total spending into an account set up on the app.
Retailers pay these apps a commission to get people to purchase from their site and part of the commission is passed back to you, in the form of a delayed rebate.
Most of these cashback apps offer products from groceries to high fashion items, from white goods to insurance policies. No matter your shopping habits, there’s likely a cashback app out there that will give you money for them.
Of course, the amount you receive back can vary widely. Retailers pay the cashback providers a commission of between 2 per cent and 20 per cent for referring customers. The amount of cashback you receive is often influenced by the cost of the purchase.
Which app should you choose?
There are a plethora to choose from, so it’s best to do your research to find one that suits you. One of the most prominent ones, Cashrewards, has recently been listed on the stock exchange.
Founded in 2014, Cashrewards is an Australian reward program that offers cashback when making a purchase, at more than 1400 retailers, online and instore. They have partnered with brands such as Amazon, eBay, Myer, Dan Murphy’s, David Jones, Coles, Booking.com, HelloFresh and many, many more.
In the first five years of operation, the company generated $2 billion in revenue for its partners, and $100 million as cashback for its members.
More than 800,000 Australians have signed up to start saving with Cashrewards.
Singapore-based Shopback entered the Australian market two years ago and has since claimed to have amassed one million active Australian users.
The industry overall has grown so rapidly in the six years since Cashrewards was created that 3 per cent of online purchases in Australia now start on cashback apps.
No matter which one you choose, it potentially has the power to change the way you shop and save.
Coupons in digital form
Rewards programs are nothing new, but technology has reinvented how we use them. Think of these apps like those coupons you used to clip out of catalogues and take along to the local store, it’s the same concept, only in digital form.
When will you receive the reward?
Unfortunately, the cashback is not instant. Typically, it’s not even very quick.
Most cashback providers will generally pay customers their rebates around 60 days after they bought their products, to account for retailers’ refund periods. It’s hard to predict exactly when you will see the money but if you are buying something like food, that will be consumed quickly, you should be paid relatively quickly. On the other hand, if you book a holiday six months in advance, you may not be paid until after you come home.
So, it may be a bit late to save on your Christmas shopping, unless you’re one to leave it to the last minute. But it could be a great way to start your 2021.
What to consider
There are a few features you’ll want to know before signing up to a cashback app.
It’s not instant. It can take around 60 days for the cashback to appear in your account.
There’s a withdrawal limit. Typically, you need to have accumulated at least $10 in your account before you can withdraw it.
The money may not go straight back into your bank account. Many apps either want buyers to redeem their rewards through PayPal, gift cards, or cheques, once they’ve chosen to withdraw it.
And just like all retail websites, cashback apps may be vulnerable to data breaches. ShopBack suffered one such breach in September, with hackers accessing held information about customers, but they were not able to get any credit card details.
You can’t deny cashback apps have become very popular and could be the way the retail industry is moving in the future, but always look around for the best deal. You may be able to find a larger discount in a brick and mortar store.
Have you heard of cashback apps? Are you signed up to one? Do you think they’re a great way to save or too good to be true?
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