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How to Use Apps & Credit Cards to Save Money

There are several ways to save money when shopping, but this method is often overlooked – using apps & credit cards.

I’m a big fan of cashback apps like ibotta and Fetch, and definitely take advantage of their shop with the app and online shopping features to maximize my savings. But by using cash back apps and the right credit card it means double dipping savings and extra cash back for one transaction. This is how I do it.

There are 2 ways to stack savings using apps & the right credit card:

About Cash Back Apps

Here’s the deal: Ibotta, Fetch Rewards & Fluz are apps that give you cash back when you use their app to shop for products ranging from groceries to clothing either in store or online.

There are many cash back apps, but these 3 apps have a ‘pay with the app’ feature.

Pay with the App: This is how it works:

Basically, using the pay with the app feature of these apps, users purchase an e-gift card. Whenever an e-gift card is purchased, users earn a percentage cash back on the total amount of the e-gift card. The e-gift card is then used to pay at checkout. Through the app you can purchase e-gift cards to pay and earn at stores like CVS, Amazon, and even when you pay your Hulu or Domino’s bill.

In order to purchase the e-gift card, app users needs to link a credit card to the app. This is where credit card savings with apps come into play.

Shop with the App – This is how it works:

Shopping online is the easiest way to double your earnings with just one click. When you shop online through an app it is not necessary to link any credit card to the app. You’re simply clicking on the “shop” button of the app.

When you shop with a cash back app online you have a lot of apps you can use. In addition to grocery apps like the ones listed above, throw into the mix virtual cashback shopping malls and then you’ll understand why saving money when shopping online can be so easy.

For example in ibotta app, when you click on ‘shop’ button, it takes you to the merchant’s website where you shop as normal. Then when you’re ready to pay, use the credit card that earns the most rewards to pay for your purchase. You’ll earn from both the app and the credit card.

  • Example of ibotta & Walmart: 1) In the ibotta app, I go to the “online shopping” section, and choose (for example) Walmart. 2) This will open up the Walmart website or the app where I shop as normal. 3) At checkout, I pay with my Chase Freedom credit card. Likewise you can link your card to the Walmart app to save.

You’ll earn a percent cash back on the total purchase from ibotta, plus cash back on the total charged to the credit card.

Related: How to Triple Dip Savings

About Credit Card Rewards

Most credit cards have rewards programs that give points or cash back. They generally give between 1% or 2% cash back. Discover card pays a higher rate, but its not as widely accepted as Visa & Mastercard unfortunately. Additionally, some credit cards with an annual fee give a higher cash back rate too. However, as an extreme saver, I don’t like paying for fees unless I have to. So for the purpose of this post, i’ll exclude those credit card rewards.

What’s in your wallet?

As a consumer, banks want your business, and your business has a consumer earning potential. For that reason, I recommend looking at what benefits the credit card that is in your wallet offers. Choosing one that steadily has a cashback earning that’s higher, in combination with other perks maximizes your earning potential.

What I use & Why

I recommend exploring credit card benefits every so often because credit card perks and benefits change. For example, my go to card use to be a Citi card, which I used for the Price Rewind Program. I got about 2K cash back with that program. Unfortunately they discontinued it. A site like Credit Karma for example, has an easy to follow format that spells out rewards rates and benefits and its free. Here you can also see the latest trend in credit card perks. For example, currently there are a lot of credit cards offering 2% cash back: 1% cash back on what you spend and 1% cash back when you pay.

I have several credit cards that I use for credit score purposes, but I have 3 that I regularly use. Chase Freedom, Capital One Quicksilver Reward & Costco Citi Anywhere Visa.

I use Chase Freedom because it gives credit card holders 5% cash back when using the credit card to pay on select categories, and 1% cash back on every purchase. The 5% cash back categories change on a quarterly basis.

Currently, from July 1 to Sep. 30, 2020, Chase Freedom®* cardholders can earn 5% cash back on purchases on Whole Foods Market and purchases (up to $1,500 in combined purchases)

Stack ibotta app & Chase Freedom shopping at Wholefoods

Here is how:

Double your savings by paying with Chase Freedom Credit Card & then redeem offers in ibotta app.

ibotta use flow chart

Note: Chase also has an online shopping rewards program in which credit card holders earn cash back when they shop online through the Chase shop online website as well. This works similarly to ibotta’s shop online.

chase online shopping portal merchant offers

Chase Freedom promo: new card members can get $200 bonus

FYI – If you don’t have a Chase Freedom credit card, then you’re in luck – they have a promo for new card members, where you can get $200 bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months. That sounds like a lot of money, but you’ll be surprised how much we spend not just on groceries, entertainment, phone bills and other necessities combined. My advise is to take a look at your budget to determine if this deal works out for you.

chase credit card friend referral program

The Capital One Quicksilver credit card is my go to card in most cases as well. Especially when paying monthly subscriptions services, because it gives me back 1.5% cash back on everything I buy that is not covered by Chase. Not a lot, but this card does not charge a foreign transaction fee. Thus, for the purpose of getting cash back when I travel, it works. In addition, it also covers car motorist rental insurance in countries in Central America and other countries. (Different from the usual collision insurance covered by most credit cards).

quicksilver credit card rewards apply

As a Costco member, the Costco Citi Credit Card is unbeatable for Costco shopping cash back and gasoline.

The Costco Citi card has a 4% cash back on the first $7K spent on gasoline. Afterwards is 1%.

Pair Costco Citi with apps like Checkout 51 & Fetch Rewards app & save at the pump.

With the above apps you simply upload your gas receipt and earn cash back. There are other apps you can earn cash back when purchasing gas as well. However, you’d have to apply for their credit card or join their gas rewards program to earn. Some programs require entering your drivers license in order to earn cash back.

As I discussed above, for the purpose of maintaining an excellent credit score I stick to using 3 credit cards, although I have more. These credit cards each serve a purpose for making the most out of shopping anywhere and with any app.

In addition, there is no annual fee for either of these credit cards, so it doesn’t eat up any savings.

I find that a lot of people use apps to save money, but miss out on extra savings. Thus, I made this post to help others go beyond the limit of the apps to increase cash back.

This post relates to my shopping practices about what I do and the products and services I use to maximize my savings. However, my intention is for you the reader to find your products and develop your practices to make the most out of your money and improve your saving power.

I always look for ways to stack savings, so that one shopping transaction turns into multiple savings. I hope this post helps you save money every time you shop.

Happy savings, TaLis

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pay with ibotta app feature with sample stores
Some graphics made with Canva.

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