In the years since I started this personal finance column, I’ve become mildly obsessed with two topics: 1) personal finance apps and 2) earning cash back. That’s why, as soon as I heard about the app Dosh, I knew I had to give it a try. Cut to now years later and Dosh has grown tremendously, bringing easy-to-earn cashback to more and more users.
So how does it all work? Here are some of the basics of Dosh and how you can use it to rack up cashback:
Getting Started with Dosh
After downloading Dosh from either the App Store or Google Play Store, the first thing you’ll want to do is link your various credit and debit cards. While this process is fairly painless on the whole, there are a few things to note about it.
First, each card can only be linked to one account. Therefore, since my wife and I share a Visa, only one of us was able to link that card. Dosh also does not support linking prepaid cards, corporate cards, or others as laid out in their terms of service. Also, if you have a Venmo debit card, that cannot be added because that card already includes cashback offers powered by Dosh.
Something else I learned when trying to add my debit card is that you can’t link cards that are being used by competing cashback services like Mogl — an app I downloaded back in my Los Angeles days and never got around to using. Luckily Dosh informed me of the Mogl conflict, allowing me to unlink my card there and try again. Funny enough, app linked cards in Dosh do not conflict with is Ebates/Rakuten, but we’ll talk more about that later.
With cards linked and a little cash back already building, it’s time to check out what other offers you can take advantage of.
Earning Cash Back with Dosh
Beyond the freebies you get just for linking your card, there are a few different ways to accrue cashback with Dosh:
The first way to utilize your Dosh-equipped cards is to simply use them at participating businesses in your area. For example, in terms of offers near me, I could earn 10% at Maurices, 4% at Aeropostale, and 5% at Goodyear. Of course, there are also a few local restaurants offering 5% or more back as well.
One thing that’s changed with Dosh since I first reviewed it is how these online offers work. Previously shoppers would always need to utilize the special links found in the Dosh app in order to earn cash back. Then, online offers became more like in-store ones, allowing you to simply use your linked card at a participating retailer to qualify. Now, Dosh utilizes a hybrid of the two methods. Because of this, you’ll want to pay close attention to the terms of the deal to ensure that you properly redeem it. From what I can tell those deals labeled with the “Online Instant Cash Back” logo are card-based whereas those without the lightning icon require you to shop using the provided link — but, again, double check the terms of each offer.
Some current online offers at the time I’m writing this include 5% cashback from Adidas, 8% back from H&R Block, up to 10% back on the Walmart+ membership, and more.
When I first joined Dosh, they offered a travel portal where you could earn cashback on booking. Then, this section went away — only to reemerge in 2019 as the Hotels tab. As the name implies, here you can search for and book hotel rooms, while also earning cashback on your stay.
To test out this feature, I decided to see how much it would be to book a night at Springfield, Missouri’s very own Hotel Vandivort. On both Dosh and Expedia, one night at the hotel started at $149. But, with Dosh, I could earn $4 cashback. Plus, a current promotion would increase that amount by $15 since it would be my first time using the feature.
Personally, while I love that this is an option, I’d be sure to compare rates and deals you’re getting on rooms with Dosh to those found on other outlets. For example, if you prefer to use Expedia, Rakuten often offers cashback for that site. Still, it may be worth taking advantage of this tab — especially if you can score a nice bonus.
If you do get the chance to try Dosh and enjoy it, you can boost your cashback by referring friends to the app. Currently you can earn $10 for each person who signs up for Dosh using your custom link, adds a card, and makes a purchase from an eligible retailer. I should also note that the app has been known to increase this reward from time to time. In fact, I was able to nab $15 in cash back for getting a friend to join during one such promotion.
Original review video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L75srrJe3p0
Redeeming Your Cash Back
Just as there are a few different ways to earn on Dosh, there are also different ways to redeem those earnings. In each case you’ll need to have at least $25 (the app increased this limit from the original $15) saved up in order to cash out. Moreover you can no longer cashout a balance consisting of only referral bonuses. Instead you’ll need to make at least one qualifying cashback purchase before you can claim your funds.
With those terms met, here’s how you can claim your cash:
Transfer to your bank account
Your first option is to deposit your cashback in your bank account. To my surprise this was not accomplished by adding an account and routing number like I’d expected but, instead, required you to sign in to your online bank account using your username and password. This worked well but I could understand some being a bit trepidatious about this method. If you fall into that category, you might want to try the next option.
Add funds to PayPal
Should you opt not to link your actual bank account or just prefer PayPal in general, there’s also an option to send your funds there. I nearly went this route when doing my first cash out, but ultimately decided to try the bank link instead. Sadly this means I don’t have much more insight into how this feature works but, given my other experiences with Dosh, I’d expect it to be pretty straightforward.
Donate to charity
Lastly, Dosh allows you to make a difference with your cashback and donate your earnings to charity. To do this, you can also search and select from a list of various charities to donate to. Note that you will still need to reach your $25 minimum before you can choose to donate your funds.
My Experience with Dosh
Speed of payment
Aside from linking my cards, my first cashback experience with Dosh actually happened on Thanksgiving night in 2017. My brother-in-law’s flight had been delayed, putting him into town well after the traditional dinner time. Thus, we decided to hit up our local Denny’s since they were a) open and b) offering 10% back on Dosh at the time.
What amazed me was that, within minutes of paying my tab with one of my linked cards, I got an alert on my phone that $2.86 had been added to my account. If there was any part of me that wondered if Dosh was for real, this experience went a long way in quelling those fears.
The last piece of the puzzle I needed in order to write this review was the process of transferring my funds. After all, considering the vast majority of my balance was gained just from linking cards and referring a friend, it really did seem like a “too good to be true” situation. But I’m happy to report that my cash came through and in a timely manner — I initiated the transfer on a Friday, the funds were visible by Monday and were cleared on Tuesday. So, rest assured, Dosh is indeed legit.
Credit card rewards
Finally, one of the most exciting aspects of Dosh in my mind is that you can essentially double dip on your cashback. That is to say that on top of what Dosh offers, you’ll still retain the rewards your credit card offers. Therefore, on that fateful Thanksgiving night at Denny’s, I earned 10% back from Dosh plus 4% from my Uber Visa (prior to that card’s major makeover), which is kind of mindblowing when you think about it.
Using Dosh and Ebates
Speaking of double dipping, while doing an article comparing Dosh and Rakuten (formerly Ebates), I noticed that both apps had in-store offers for Sephora. Naturally I had to test my hypothesis that I could earn twice the rewards, we headed to our local mall and gave it a shot. Sure enough I was able to score cashback from both Rakuten and Dosh for this single transaction — not to mention some extra Uber credits from Visa Local Offers. Granted, these types of duplicate opportunities don’t come up terribly frequently but they’re worth watching out for.
Final Thoughts on Dosh
Overall, I’ve been impressed with Dosh and am glad to see it growing. That said, I do have a couple of nitpicks and things that could be improved. First, while I completely understand having a $25 threshold for cashing out, I do kind of wish this bar was lowered in the case of charity donations. Similarly I understand the need to require actual cashback purchases to stop users from just raking in referral funds but it’s still slightly disappointing nonetheless — earning is earning, right? On a separate note, although I continue to see worthwhile offers in Dosh, some of the best ones I’ve encountered don’t tend to stick around very long.
Still, the bottom line is that the Dosh app works as well as I could have hoped for earning cashback. So, if you’re looking to maximize your savings and perhaps even double up on your credit card rewards, I’d recommend checking out Dosh and seeing what cashback you can earn.
This article was first published on Dyer News.