Yes, You Can Earn Cash Back With Dosh
In the years since I started writing about personal finance, 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. In that time, the app has also undergone some changes — both good and bad.
So how does it all work? Here are some of the basics of Dosh and how you can use it to rack up cashback:
Dosh: What it is and How it Works
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 on the whole fairly painless, 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. Also, as I recently discovered, I’ve been able to earn cashback from Dosh and T-Mobile Dining Rewards at the same time.
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 5% at Domino’s, 5% at local breweries 4 by 4 or Hold Fast, and 5% at Whole Hog Cafe among others. Obviously, in our area, restaurants are most common but there may be some retail stores as well.
Since Dosh’s in-store offers only require that you use a linked card, I’ve also been surprised by cashback from time to time. Most recently, in October 2023, I was excited to see that I scored 5% back on my Shake Shack order (in addition to using my $10 per month Amex Gold dining credit). Not only was this a great surprise but also served as a reminder that I should be checking Dosh more regularly — especially while traveling.
While regular in-store and local offers typically only require Dosh users to pay with their linked card in order to earn cashback, the app did recently add a new offer format that does require activation. These “Tap to Activate” deals can be found in their own section or will show up under the Nearby map.
To get started, as the name implies, you’ll need to tap the deal in order to toggle it onto active. Then, once you do so, you’ll have a certain amount of time to redeem the deal. For example, I activated a 5% back at Under Armour deal that expires in 20 days, while a 10% at Francesca’s deal expires in 9 days. In both cases, these deals were valid both in-store and online — but it states that you need to use a “Visa connected card.”
Honestly, I haven’t yet had a chance to try this new offer type. Nevertheless, I’m all on board with having more cashback options in Dosh.
In addition to the newer Tap to Activate deals that may include online options, Dosh does also have their “legacy” online deals (that’s not their term — I’m just using it). For these deals, you’ll want to use the link provided in the app to shop at the selected retailer and use your connected card in order to earn cashback.
Previously, there was a distinction about which deals required you to shop via the link and which didn’t. However, that seems to have since been removed. So, to be safe, I’d recommend using the links in the app whenever possible.
Some current online offers that stuck out to me include 3% back from Zales Outlet, 3% back at BaubleBar, $15 back on Blue Apron, and more. That said, it seems that there are now many more Tap to Activate deals than “legacy” online deals.
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 $15 saved up in order to cash out. Moreover you can no longer cash out 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.
One thing that’s nice is that you can select how much cashback you want to redeem at a time. To me, this is key as, if you want to cash out some but leave yourself closer to reaching that $15 threshold again, you can just take a few dollars.
With those terms met, here’s how you can claim your cash.
Transfer funds to PayPal or Venmo
The main way of claiming your cashback on Dosh is now either via PayPal or Venmo. To link these accounts to Dosh, you’ll just need to provide the email or phone number associated with each. You can also update those accounts if you need to.
During my most recent cashout in November 2023, I used the PayPal option, which worked quickly and easily. Of course, if you don’t have either one of those accounts, then it could be a bit of a pain to make one just for the purpose of claiming your cashback. C’est la vie.
Transfer to your bank account (no more)
Previously, Dosh users also had the option to transfer their cashback to a linked bank account. However, it seems as though this feature is no more. Instead, you’ll need to stick with either PayPal or Venmo.
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 $15 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.
This pace has mostly kept up ever since — although some offers do take a little longer to show up. Still, you should know pretty quickly whether an in-store offer was redeemed or not.
“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.”
That paragraph was written when I first reviewed the app many years ago, but it remains true in 2023. As I mentioned, I recently cashed out via PayPal, with my funds hitting the account within a few business days. Woo hoo!
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 disappearing into the FinTech graveyard), which is kind of mindblowing when you think about it.
Using Dosh and Rakuten (and beyond)
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 at the time. 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.
More recently, as I noted, I have noticed opportunities to “double dip” on other offers. For example, when my wife and I went to 4 by 4 Brewing Company to try out T-Mobile Dining Rewards, I was surprised to see that I triggered a Dosh deal at the same time! This resulted in me earning 5% on Dosh, 5% on T-Mobile Dining Rewards, and 4x points from my Amex Gold. With many other dining portals featuring a similar slate of restaurants, I’d be very curious to see how many you could trigger at one time…
Final Thoughts on Dosh
Overall, I’ve been impressed with Dosh and am glad to see that it’s still thriving in 2023. That said, I do have a couple of nitpicks and things that could be improved. First, while I completely understand having a $15 threshold for cashing out (which, by the way, is back down after being at $25 for years), I do kind of wish this bar was lowered in the case of charity donations.
For all of the changes the app has endured over the years, the bottom line is that the Dosh app works as well as I could have hoped for earning cashback. In particular, I love that two of our favorite local breweries (including one that features a long list of non-alcoholic beers for yours truly) are included in Dosh’s cashback line-up. 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.