I was watching the Superbowl when an advertisement for one of these “cash back” programs came on. The commercial didn’t really tell me much about the program, it kind of focused on how to pronounce the company’s name. I guess it made me curious enough to look into what their product was. I mean, all the people in the commercial were winning money when the said the name right. At least that’s what I gathered.
I decided to go online and check them out. When I learned that it was a program that gives rebates for making purchases, I was intrigued. I had seen commercials for other similar programs and even signed up for one once, but I literally never used it. I couldn’t be bothered with doing all the extra stuff to make it work.
But let’s face it, we can all stand to make a few extra bucks, as long as we don’t have to break our routine to do it. I’m no different, but I tend to look at things with an eye of skepticism. I try to make informed decisions, so I started looking more closely into these services. I was surprised at how many there actually are.
Basically, these rebate services all work on the idea that if you link your shopping accounts or credit card accounts, you are rewarded with cash, points, and rewards. Simple enough, right? But with so many scams out there, I was still wary of joining. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t setting myself up to get taken.
After checking the different programs out, I actually chose one that I had never seen a commercial for. I know, that seems a little backward, but follow me on this. I chose an app called “Dosh” that I found after a few internet searches and a good amount of research.
Good question. First, I wanted a program that was easy to join. I just downloaded the Dosh app from the Google Play Store on my phone (it’s also available on Apple). Setting things up was easy and took less than five minutes.
Unlike the other apps, I saw a lot of local businesses on Dosh’s participating list. That was really important to me because I really prefer to do business locally. I felt like the other programs were heavily skewed towards large retailers or online stores. Dosh has plenty of those, too. But when I saw a bunch of local restaurants that I actually go to, I knew that I would get some real benefit.
I asked some of my friends about the services they use, like that one I saw during the Superbowl and heard some of the things they found frustrating. With Dosh, there were no “activation buttons” to hit on e-commerce sites. No points to collect and transfer into cash. Just use the credit cards linked to the Dosh app at stores and restaurants that participate.
That seems really easy to do. I’m already going to a lot of the participating stores, and I don’t have to do anything special to earn the rebates. The app tells you exactly what percent of your purchase you can earn shopping at each participating store and after you do make a purchase, the rebate goes right into your wallet on the app. It’s all automatic.
I really like that the app is set up to automatically give me participating stores and restaurants. Obviously, I checked out the list of shops that are in my hometown, but I don’t want to go fishing around when I’m out of town. I set the app to use the locator in my phone so that all I have to do is open the app when I’m visiting another town and it gives me the participating businesses near me in real time. Talk about convenient.
That feature really connected with me. I travel a fair amount and am not always familiar with local businesses. The app doesn’t just list the available rebates, it gives me some details about the business and even links me to Google maps to make it easier to find.
And again, I can’t stress this enough, I don’t have to do anything special to get the rebates. I just go to a participating business, spend money like I intended to anyway and pay with one of my linked cards and automatically get the rebate. If you had not noticed in this Dosh review yet, I really like things to be easy.
But Is It Safe?
I know that this is on everyone’s mind these days, and I am no different. I have seen the stories about data breaches at Target and Marriott. It happens, that’s just the world we live in these days. But what I do like about Dosh is that they are taking serious steps to try and protect their clients’ information.
I won’t bore you with all the details, because frankly, I don’t know what any of it really means. But according to everything I read, they use the same security steps that my bank does. They have my information and my card information separate to maintain anonymity and they don’t sell my info.
Bottom line, I feel comfortable with Dosh having my information. As comfortable as I am with my bank, store cards and other businesses having my information. They are doing the right things to protect my info.
How Exactly Does It Work?
So, this is what really got me. All you do is set up the app on your phone and link any credit cards or bank cards that you use. They let you add as many cards as you need. That’s it. No “activation buttons.” No “unlocking” products. You earn the same amount whether you are using a bank card or credit card. Just shop at the participating stores and earn the posted rebate percentage.
As I said, they automatically post your rebates into Dosh wallet. And as long as you’ve got $25 or more in your wallet, you can collect it. Or donate it. Whatever. No changing points into cash. No gift cards for payment. They can pay you through PayPal or send the money directly to your bank account. It really is that simple.
And they do give referral rewards. $5.00 for everyone that you refer who signs up and links a valid card. You don’t have to wait for them to make two qualifying purchases or get a magic code or anything weird.
Sounds Good, But…
Alright, I know you’re thinking, this all sounds good, but what are the problems with Dosh? First, that $5 referral reward is a little on the low side, compared to similar services. Some of the other rebate programs are paying $25.00 per referral.
Second, I have read some negative reviews on the Better Business Bureau’s company profile for Dosh. Those reviews tended to focus their frustration on getting in touch with customer service. To be honest, I have not had to call or write them for any reason, so I can’t speak directly to these observations. But when I was checking them out, they were really quite a few and far between, and every one of the complaints had been resolved according to the BBB site.
Dosh has an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau, so like I said, they may not be perfect all the time, but they fix the issues when people complain.
Of course, like anything online these days, putting your credit card information on an app or online carries with it some risk. But you carry just as much risk using your card at the store. That Target security breach I talked about earlier involved cards and information used in-store, not online. Just keep on top of your accounts and use the identity theft protections your card carrier offers and you’ll be fine.
I did find it a little annoying to have to remember to use my bank card as a credit card. I don’t really know what difference that makes, but the Dosh app is pretty clear that you have to use your bank card as a “credit card” to get rebates. A small inconvenience, but I suppose that protects them from paying out rebates on cash you take out at the register (I do that all the time at the supermarket).
Also, it is only available in the United States. I know I mentioned that I travel a good bit, and I do go oversee a bit, but for this review of the Dosh app versus the others, I haven’t had a chance to try any out internationally.
Where Does It Work?
As I said, I was really impressed with the selection of local businesses on their participation list. There were all kinds of local restaurants and small shops available. There were also plenty of national chains. Sam’s Club & Cost-Plus World Market, Mattress Firm & Dunkin’ are all on the app. I live in the suburbs, so I’m guessing that anyone in a city or the suburbs is going to have a similar level of availability.
I was disappointed to see that no gas stations in my area were participating. I am sure they’re working on that. I’d really like it if they got a couple of the national gas companies on the list.
How Much Do I Get Back?
That varies. Most of the participating restaurants are offering a 5% rebate. Some are less. Retailers seem to have more variation on the amounts, but basically, all the brick and mortar stores range from 2% to 5%. There are some big rebates available through online stores so I would recommend checking their prices.
Some of the stores do have a limit on how much you can get back per transaction. Meaning, if you make a big purchase, like a new bed at Mattress Firm, they’re going to give you 3% back, but only to a maximum $20 per transaction. The good thing is that all this is really easy to check on the app. They are upfront about everything.
How Do I Get Started?
As I said, this is a really easy app. But I know some people like things spelled out, so here’s how I got set up.
- Download the Dosh app from Google-Play or the Apple App-Store.
- Fill in your personal information.
- Link the credit cards and bank cards you use most.
- Shop at the participating businesses.
And once you start collecting your rebates in the Dosh wallet, just choose how you want to collect the money. PayPal, direct to your bank or donate it to charity.
An American Company
One thing that I really liked when I was doing research for this Dosh app review is that they are an American company. Their offices are based in Austin, Texas. The company is Dosh Holdings. No weird parent company, no off-shore ownership. I like knowing who I am doing business with.
Some of the other rebate companies I looked into are owned by international corporations. That’s isn’t necessarily the worst thing ever, but I appreciate being familiar with who a company is and where they operate.
I also really like that Dosh Holdings got 4.5 stars on Glassdoor. That means they treat their workers well. How you treat your own people tells me a lot about how you treat your customers. There’s nothing worse to me than going into some business and seeing or hearing a supervisor treat their employees badly. It wrecks my opinion of the business immediately.
I know you have a lot of choices for rebate programs, and I mean a lot. There is some good and bad in all of them. Ultimately, the idea for all of these programs is to create a way to increase the participating businesses’ traffic. And while some may offer bigger rebates, I have yet to find any that are this convenient to use. The Dosh app is simple. It offers good information, makes participating business easy to find and gives clear, accurate information on the businesses and their offers.
But what really stands out for me is how easy it is to use Dosh. Once I set up my cards, I can just go about my usual business without changing things. I go to the participating stores (that I was already going to) and make my usual purchases. I pay with the cards I use all the time and Dosh does the rest. I check my wallet periodically, and if I’ve earned enough, I request the funds. It is that simple. And that safe.