In the months since I started this personal finance column, I’ve become mildly obsessed with two topics: 1) personal finance apps and 2) earning cash back. Well, as you’ll see in just a minute, Dosh combines those new passions of mine and has made quite an impression on me so far. This easy to use app allows you to earn rewards from select retailers without much effort at all, as I can now attest.
So how does it all work? Here are some of the basics of Dosh and how you can use it to rack up cash back:
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. Not only is this important to your ability to benefit from the app but you’ll also receive $5 for adding your initial card plus another $1 for each subsequent card you link. There are, however, a couple of notes to make about this process.
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. Furthermore, as I learned when trying to add my debit card, you can’t link cards that are being used by competing cash back 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.
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 cash back with Dosh:
The first way to utilize your Dosh-equipped cards is to simply use that at participating businesses in your area. For example, in terms of offers near me, I could earn 2% back at Sam’s Club, 7% at Hallmark, and 5% at Forever 21. While those are all national chains, I recently noticed that a local barbecue joint, Crosstown Barbecue, also joined the app and offers 10% back on purchases. To nab these deals, all you’ll need to do is pay with one of your linked cards — really, that’s it!
Although I waited until there were more places in my neighborhood that offered Dosh perks before trying out the app, there are a number of online retailers I could have been patronizing and earning with that whole time. This includes Bed, Bath, and Beyond (7%), Puma (6%), LEGO (2.2%), and many more. On top of the standard cash back offers for each retailer, you may find additional deals and offers listed.
Something to keep in mind with the online offers is that you’ll need to use the link provided in the app to make your purchase. Therefore, you’ll likely want to see if the e-commerce site you plan on buying from is on Dosh before completing your purchase.
Next to the regular Offers tab, you’ll find Dosh’s Travel section. This will not only allow to search for the best deals on hotels but also earn some significant cash back for booking them through the app. Moreover, Dosh is currently offering users an additional $25 in cash back when they book and complete their first hotel stay.
Let me state here that I have yet to actually book travel on Dosh. However, in exploring the offers for this review, I randomly selected a room that would offer me a total of $73.16 cash back for a two-night stay and was listed for $16 a night cheaper than my normal travel go-to, Expedia. This surprising revelation has me itching to try the app for my next getaway.
If you do get the chance to try Dosh and enjoy it, you can boost your cash back by referring friends to the app. Currently you can earn $5 for each person who signs up for Dosh using your custom link, adds a card, and makes a purchase. 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 recent promotion.
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 $15 saved up in order to cash out. With that goal met, here’s how you can claim your cash:
Transfer to your bank account
Your first option is to deposit your cash back 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 into 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 cateogory, 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 cash back and donate your earnings to charity. As of now, the three charities the app has listed are United Way, American Red Cross, and Child Fund International. Hopefully this line up gets expanded down the road, but it’s a good start nonetheless.
My Experience with Dosh
Speed of payment
Aside from linking my cards, my first cash back experience with Dosh actually happened on Thanksgiving night. 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.
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 need 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 cash back. This 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, which is kind of mindblowing when you think about it.
Overall, I’m really impressed with Dosh and am glad to see it growing. That said, I do have a couple of nitpicks and things that could improve. First, while I completely understand having a $15 threshold for cashing out, I do kind of wish this bar was lowered in the case of charity donations. Speaking of the cashout process, I think it might be beneficial to give users the option of entering their checking information instead of their bank login in order to add an account (note: there’s an off chance I just missed this option but I don’t think so).
Still, the bottom line is that the Dosh app works as well as I could have hoped for earning cash back and I’m excited to try some of the other features (namely the travel bookings) it has to offer. 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 cash back you can earn.