Cashback apps: What is Dosh? What is Rakuten?

I’m always on the hunt for easy ways to earn money by doing, well, almost nothing. That is why I have used web and smartphone apps that easily give cash back for retailers I often shop with. The two I have had a good experience with are Dosh and Rakuten (formerly Ebates). The costs of shopping add up, so why not get rewarded with these easy cashback apps?

How does Dosh work?


In my experience, Dosh is an app that is more often associated with restaurants. Basically, once you download the app and link your credit card, you will randomly get notifications that you received cashback. There have been times when I have checked out at a store and immediately after I have a cashback notification. You can also use Dosh for online deals, and they very much push the fact that you can book hotels through the app, which I have not tried.

Looking at my own user history, the two most frequent places I have received cash back are Dunkin’ Donuts and JCPenney. However, Dosh also seems to give cashback at miscellaneous smaller businesses too. If you want to be proactive in selecting places that will give you cashback, open the app and you’ll see the image below showing businesses in your area where you can get cashback. Dosh lets you withdraw the funds after you reach a minimum of $25 in your account. Refer your friends and you can even get a $10 bonus.

Sign up for Dosh here today!

Front interface of Dosh app, highlights cash back deals available nearby.

How does Rakuten work?


Rakuten is a little less automated compared to Dosh but has an awesome web browser widget you can add. I have it setup on my Firefox browser and if I am on a store’s website it will pop up that I am eligible for cashback through Rakuten and what percent. It functions like Dosh, add your credit card and if you are in store it will get you cashback instantly. If it is an online purchase, fire up the Rakuten app first and search the retailer you are shopping with and purchase through the app for the most seamless experience.

Rakuten purchases can add up. One cool thing I’ve done is to use Rakuten for hotel purchases. If I book my stay at a place like Holiday Inn or even through Hotels.com, I have been receiving cashback for my hotel stay. Given that hotel stays are quite expensive, you can get a pretty nice amount of cash back even if the offer is only for 1%-2%. One really useful feature Rakuten has that Dosh does not, is that if you forget to use the app or if the app does not catch your purchase from a supported retailer, you can go to “find my missing cash back” and mostly Rakuten will get you the cash back if you just put the amount spent and date of purchase.

Rakuten also wins out because they seem to have way more retailers offering deals compared to Dosh. However, I will say Dosh seems to be the app with more restaurant offerings. I still rack up more rewards with Rakuten for sure though. Rakuten, instead of waiting for a minimum before letting you get the cash, either will send you a check or deposit the funds in your account to PayPal quarterly. Rakuten also will give you a $25 bonus if you can refer a friend to use the app.

Sign up for Rakuten here today!

Sample of Rakuten cashback promotions.

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