4 Ways Apps Can Help You Score Some Extra Cash

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Mobile phone apps aren’t just good for tracking your heart rate, playing games or ordering lunch. They can also help you pad your bank account with cash back, rebates, side gigs and more. As people increasingly use their phones for everything from mobile payments to browsing the Web, startups are coming up with fresh ways to lure people into using their phones and sharing their personal information in exchange for lucrative promotions.  

If you don’t mind sharing intimate details, such as your email account, purchase preferences, location or other personal details, you can take advantage of a wide range of app-based services that help you earn rewards, claim money that’s owed to you or collect exclusive deals.

Here are just some of the ways you can use your phone to gather extra cash: 

1. Score rebates on your purchases. Several mobile phone apps help you get paid just for shopping at sponsored stores or purchasing certain items. For example, store rebate apps such as Ibotta, Checkout51 and MobiSave list featured products that you can buy at participating stores, including Walmart, Albertsons, CVS, Duane Reade, Speedway, Dollar General, Macy’s, Walgreens and Lowes, and earn cash back as a reward. All you have to do is take a photo of your receipt to earn as much as $10 or more back.

 Some apps, such as Ibotta, also require you to complete a simple exercise, such as responding to some questions, in order to “unlock” a featured product. Similarly, specialty apps such as BevRAGE and BerryCart offer cash back for certain categories of purchases, such as alcoholic drinks or healthy foods. Meanwhile, Shopkick rewards you for walking into a store and purchasing an item you scanned with your phone with points you can redeem for gift cards.

2. Access exclusive discounts and promotions. There are many mobile phone apps that connect you to deep discounts and mobile-only promotions. For example, RetailMeNot and SavingStar connect users to cash back offers and exclusive coupons from a wide range of nationwide retailers and grocery stores.

Other shopping apps, such as The Coupons App, also offer additional money-saving services, such as a list of nearby gas prices. In addition, retailers, restaurants and coffee shops often provide extra rewards or special discounts to customers who download and use their exclusive apps.

3. Get refunded when a price drops. Some apps also help you claim money that’s owed to you because of a store or credit card’s price protection benefit. For example, Paribus will request a refund on your behalf when a store’s price drops on an item you already purchased. It will also file a claim for you if an item you ordered from a store such as Amazon or Walmart arrives late. In addition, Earny will file a claim with your credit card if you own a card from Citi or Chase. Meanwhile, Sift will file a claim with any credit card that offers price protection.

4. Help you file claims with your credit card. Sift will also help you keep track of money-saving benefits on your credit card, such as purchase protection and extended warranty, and walk you through filing a claim. That way, you aren’t tempted to leave money on the table because you’re intimidated by the process or didn’t keep track of how long you are eligible. For example, Sift will notify you if an item you buy is eligible for extended warranty protection, return protection or theft and damage protection and will also let you know how long you have left to take advantage of the benefits.

In addition, it will outline what specific steps you need to take to get your money back.