With soaring gas and food prices today, we’re all looking for ways to save more money. Some may advise against the “penny wise, pound foolish” adage, but I say, why not do both?
While listening to the radio last year, I learned about a new app that offers cashback on everyday purchases simply by registering your transaction. I thought I would give the app – Upside – a try (The app was recently renamed from GetUpside to Upside).
Overall, I’ve enjoyed the app and have earned nearly $150 through it over a year’s use. According to the app, this puts me in their 5% of users with cashback earnings.
In this review, I’d like to offer my thoughts – both good and bad – to help you learn more about Upside and to decide whether it’s right for you.
A little about Upside
Upside was founded in 2016 by Alex Kinnier (CEO), Jan Rubio, Joanna Kochaniak, Rick McPhee, Thomas Vaughan, and Wayne Lin. Lin and Kinnier met at Google in the 2000s while working on the ad serving platform there. It’s current headquarters are in Washington D.C.
The company claims they have awarded over $200M in cashback to its users (May 2022). Upside primarily makes it money through affiliate earnings from their partnerships with various businesses that are featured in the app.
My experience so far with Upside
I started using the app in May of 2021. Like I mentioned, I heard a lot about the app, mostly through their ads on Pandora and while listening to the radio in the car. It seemed an Upside commercial was playing every time I got into the car! So, I thought I would give it a try.
Early on, they were offering a nice reward to sign-up. And they still do. For most new users, they can get an extra 20 cents off per gallon of gas. That’s pretty good right now with rising gas prices.
Upside offers discounts on three everyday purchases many of us make:
And, if you combine Upside with a credit card (or debit card) that offers extra cashback, you can really score big. Since using the app in May of last year, I have earned nearly $150. That’s not bad for purchases I was planning to make anyways.
Plus, I have gone to a few new places I might not have frequented. I think that is one of the missions behind the app. To get people to spend at places they might not have.
I recall at one restaurant last year, the savings was 30% cashback! That’s unreal. While the savings can fluctuate, some stay over 10% in savings.
How does Upside work?
It’s really easy to use the app. Depending on the retailer, customers just need to select the credit card they are planning to use (preloaded on the app) OR scan in a receipt of the purchase. In a day or two, you’ll see the cashback added to your account.
You can cash-out at any amount to your bank account, PayPal or at different retailers (like Amazon) through a gift card. I’ve cashed my money out via PayPal and have thought about using the funds to buy stocks (talk about doubling, maybe tripling the money!).
An added bonus of referring new people through your personal code is that you can earn money back from their purchases of gas! And another bonus is the service sometimes does special offers for money. One time, they asked users to make a gas, grocery and restaurant purchase within a 10-day window and they’d pay users $25. They haven’t done as many of these offers since their user-base has expanded.
Since the grocery store we frequent isn’t yet offered through Upside, I know I could earn a lot more from using the app. I have one friend I’ve referred to Upside who has earned over $400 since using the app last fall due to his trips to the grocery store that is featured in Upside.
Pros and cons of using Upside
Upside has a lot of great qualities but there are some downsides to it. After using it for a year, I’ve been able to evaluate both the good and bad. Here’s some of my findings:
- Percentage of cashback for many everyday expenses.
- Cashback is easily paid to your bank account, PayPal or through gift cards.
- App is easy to use. Open the app when visiting a business, and a claim offer pops up if it is available.
- Customer service is helpful.
- Earn rewards for signing up new friends / family. You can also earn money through the people those referrers sign-up when they gas-up.
- Percentages of cashback offerings tend to go down the more you use the offers / app. Seems to start high and then go down after use.
- App holds your credit card information, and likely is using tracking information from the app to gather data for its partners.
What are your thoughts from using Upside?
I’d love to learn about your experience using the app and any other information that you have which could be useful to others looking into Upside.
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Last Updated on June 17, 2022