With the cost of living continuing to rise, many of us are turning to card-linked apps to get free rewards and cash. Quick to download and easy to use, these free smartphone apps might just become your new favorite shopping companions. Some of them require you to link your payment cards, while others give you free money and rewards just for shopping.
*blog updated on 15th February, 2023.
Not only can these apps offer amazing card-linked cashback deals, but they can also keep you up-to-date with personalized and relevant offers and experiences in your local area. Using location-based technology such as geofencing and beacons, card-linked cashback apps can understand your real-time location and preferences. Using those insights to tailor offers just for you. To make the most of the app’s location-based capabilities, all you have to do is opt-in for location permissions and notifications.
Ready to start saving some serious cash? Then read this handy guide to find out how.
Card-linked cashback apps explained
Card-linked rewards are nothing new. In simple terms, they’re deals, rewards and cashback linked to your credit card. The great thing about them is that they’re an easy way to earn free money just by linking your payment card. Once you’ve linked your credit card to a card-linked loyalty program, you can easily earn rewards when you spend.
Don’t worry about having to collect coupons and redeem discount vouchers. Instead, card-linked cashback and rewards work automatically, crediting you with your rewards when you’re at the checkout. Want to find out more? We’ve covered the ins and outs of how the technology works in our ‘card-linked offers’ blog.
Here are our top picks for the best best card-linked apps
The Best Card-Linked Cashback Apps in 2023
Looking for the best card-linked and free rewards apps? Here’s a rundown of our favourite apps that link your payment cards. All of these apps provide free rewards or cashback when you spend on a linked debit or credit card. You don’t need to carry around a loyalty card or voucher to claim your rewards. You simply link your payment card and accumulate points when you use that card to pay at retailers who partner with the card-linked app.
Whether you prefer the ease of card-linked apps that require you to link your payment cards, or you love apps that ask you to scan receipts or activate offers, we have got you covered for 2023.
Tail – free rewards app
Hailed as one of the best card-linked apps, Tail is a top choice if you want to save while you spend. Earn cashback from an array of retailers, paid directly into your Monzo or Starling bank account. There are no sign up costs or fees, and there’s no loyalty card or hassle. You simply sign up, search the deals near you and pay with your linked card to redeem them. Whether you want a new outfit for your best friend’s wedding, a restaurant offer to tempt your tastebuds or a new laptop for your home office, there’s an offer just for you.
Is Tail free?
Yes, the Tail app is free rewards app that’s completely free. Download the app to your smartphone and link your bank account, then view offers or search by location via the app. To make the most of it you’ll want to grant location permissions. Once you’ve found the deals you want, all you have to do is pay with your linked Monzo or Starling card, then enjoy cashback paid directly into your bank account within days. What’s more, this card-linked cashback app lets you easily see how much cash you’ve earned.
Swag Bucks – cashback app linked to card
Get free gift cards and cash when you shop online, play video games, search the web and answer surveys. Sounds easy, eh?! Swagbucks gives out more than 7,000 free gift cards every day, and has paid its members nearly $700 million out in cash back, just for doing the everyday things they’d normally do.
Yes, Swagbucks pays you real money and free gift cards for simple everyday activities. Using the Swagbucks app you can easily take surveys on the go, shop at your favorite stores or discover new services, all from your smartphone. Once you’ve earned your rewards, you can redeem them for PayPal cash or free gift cards at Amazon, Target, Visa, Walmart, Uber and more.
Rakuten – card linked rewards
Rakuten (which used to be Ebates) lets you get cashback at more than 3,500 stores every time you shop. Shop directly through the website and you’ll automatically get cashback when you check out. Or download the Rakuten Cash Back Button on your browser to apply promo cards when you’re shopping at partner stores online.
For mobile shopping, download the Rakuten cashback app, then link offers to your credit or debit card – you can add as many cards as you like. Use the same card to pay for your purchase, then receive cashback via Paypal or a Rakuten Big Fat Check.
Once you have the Rakuten app, make sure you opt in to share your location and turn notifications on so you’ll be alerted to exclusive offers and in-store cashback deals near you.
What other apps are like Rakuten?
There are so many card-linked apps like Rakuten. It would be tricky to name them all in one article, but some of our favorite apps like Rakuten are Airtime Rewards, Dosh, RetailmeNot, FetchRewards and SwagBucks – to name just a few! We’ll cover some of these in the following sections, so keep reading to find out more.
Dosh – apps like Freecash
Forget about points and coupons. Dosh pays you cold, hard cash. One of the most popular card-linked apps, it’s incredibly easy to use plus it pays you $5 automatically when you link your first card.
Simply link your debit or credit card to Dosh, then use that card to pay at its partner stores, restaurants or entertainment spots. You can even get a whopping 40% cashback on travel. It works at big brands as well as local shops. What’s more, if you share your location with the app, it’ll pull up a list of all the local stores, restaurants and services that are offering cashback.
Once you’ve saved a minimum of $25 you can cash out via Paypal, Venmo or bank deposit. Plus you get $5 for every friend you refer. What’s not to love?
Q-Park Rewards – card linked rewards
Get perks when you park with this innovative cashback app that links to your payment cards to serve you cashback from its restaurant and retail partners. In addition, you get a minimum of 10% cashback every time you park with Q-Park.
Current partners include Waitrose, Cafe Nero, Prezzo, Pizza Express and Argos to name just a few. You can bag further rewards with seasonal events such as double cashback via the app when you park at participating locations.
Swipii – apps like Dosh
Swipii gives you up to 30% cashback when you use your normal debit and credit cards in store, online or when you buy instant vouchers.
Visit a partner retailer – the list includes big brand restaurants, cafes, bars and stores – then simply pay with your linked payment card. You’ll get rewarded with instant digital discount vouchers which you can spend at participating retailers both online and in-store.
More card-linked cashback and free rewards apps
Some of these options are card-linked cashback apps offering cashback linked to your credit card, while some are regular loyalty and free rewards apps that earn you great rewards without card-linking. Whether you’re saving for something special or towards your household bills, these apps will provide you with points, discounts and free cash.
Hailed as one of the best card linked rewards apps in the UK, Airtime Rewards has helped its members earn a huge £16 million off their phone bills. Download the free app and start earning rewards at New Look, Boots, Wilko, Papa Johns and more.
It has card-linking too. All you need to do is link a card and it will automatically reward you when you shop. Simply shop as you normally would and you will earn cash off your phone bill.
Airtime Rewards has partnered with more than 150 UK-based brands so you’ll have plenty of choice. There’s no fiddly vouchers to worry about, simply shop online or in-store, pay with your linked card and you’ll start saving money off your next phone bill.
No list of best card-linked cashback apps would be complete without mentioning TopCashback. One of the biggest cashback sites in the UK, it features a handy app which lets you click on a link before you make a purchase.
Unlike many apps in our list, you don’t have to link your payment card, simply download the app, search for a retailer or service and tap through to purchase from their website. Top CashBack will track your purchase and you’ll receive cashback into your TopCashback account.
Fetch Rewards lets you earn points on any receipt from any store or restaurant. Yes, you heard that right. You can buy from any of your favorite brands, submit your receipts and redeem special offers right in the app.
Hailed as the best card-linked app for 2022, Fetch turns your receipts into free cash and gift cards, plus you can make charitable donations, enter sweepstakes and more. With more than 60,000 5-star reviews, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Earning cashback is easier than ever with Quidco. It rewards you with a slice of commission as cashback when you spend at partner retailers like Amazon, Asos, Ebay, Tesco and thousands more. Compare your energy bills with Quidco Compare and you can also earn cashback on your recurring bills.
There are no hidden charges and you could earn up to £300 per year for free. What’s more, Quidco offers its users surprise offers like free food, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Browse or search the Quidco app for great cashback rates, discounts and vouchers, then buy as normal and let Quidco do the rest. Cash out your earnings whenever you want via Paypal, bank transfer or a range of gift card options.
A new service offered by Quidco, ClickSnap features the top vouchers and deals at your local supermarkets. Simply browse the ClickSnap dales on Quidco or via the ClickSnap app, buy the featured products at your local supermarket, snap a photo of your receipt and have cash back paid automatically into your Quidco account, then you bank of choice.
Offers can be redeemed multiple times at UK-based supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Morrisons.
Is ClickSnap the same as CheckoutSmart?
No, they are not the same but they are very similar. Quidco, ClickSnap and CheckoutSmart are owned by the same company and they often feature the same offers. This means that you can’t use the same receipt on each app, however, if you get a separate receipt, you can use the same offer on ClickSnap and CheckoutSmart.
Download ClickSnap on iOS
For many families, one of the biggest expenses is the weekly food shop. Especially with cost of living soaring. Thankfully, the free Shopmium app offers you cash back across an array of products from the biggest UK supermarkets. Available on iPhone and Android, the app has millions of users and thousands of glowing reviews.
To get started, you need to download the app, choose the supermarket you want to shop at and scroll through the products to see the deals. When you’ve found what you want, visit the store and purchase it, being sure to keep the receipt. Upload a photo of your receipt to the app, and hey presto! Your cashback will be paid into your bank or Paypal account.
Are you a business with an app or website?
PlotProjects can help you build accurate and efficient location functionalities into your mobile apps and websites. Our extensive geofencing SDK is quick to set up and easy to use, offering all the tools you need to offer location-based messages and experiences. What’s more, with our PlotRewards API you can build local deals and card-linked rewards into your apps and websites within minutes.
We can help you all of your location needs, from address autocomplete and geocoding, to places search, routing, geofencing for mobile apps, or developing geo ads and hyper local marketing for the web. We can also assist you with the execution of your local marketing needs.
If you need help getting started with location-based marketing, or you want to find out more about how our platform can drive results for your business, contact PlotProjects today.