Upside App Review: 5 Things to Know Before You Sign Up

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If you want to earn cash back on gas and food purchases, you may want to consider downloading the free Upside app.

The Upside app is a legitimate cash back app that’s heavily promoted by influencers. But is it really worth it? I wanted to know, especially since I already use rewards apps Fetch and Ibotta.

I signed up for Upside to test it out.  Here’s what you need to know to use the Upside app.

Table of Contents:

1. What Is the Upside App?

Launched in 2016, Upside (formerly GetUpside) has grown to become one of the most popular cash back apps.

When you download the free app and sign up, you’ll get access to offers based on your location. Cash back offers may include gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.

From my experience using Upside, most of the offers are for gas stations and restaurants — not grocery stores.

2. How Does Upside Work?

To earn cash back with Upside, start by opening the app and searching for nearby offers.

For fuel purchases, each offer will have a discount per gallon of gas you buy. Restaurant and grocery stores offer a percentage cash back based on how much you spend.

Once you find an offer that you like, claim it. You’ll then have a set amount of time to redeem the offer:

  • Gas stations: 4 hours
  • Restaurants: 4 hours
  • Grocery stores: 24 hours
Upside app from an iPhone

You don’t have to manually track how much time is left. The Upside app will let you know how much time you have to redeem an offer before it expires.

If you change your mind about an offer, you can also unclaim it from the app.

Once you arrive at the retailer, “Check In” with the app — if required — and shop as normal. Then, pay with a credit or debit card that’s linked to your account. Cash purchases do not earn rewards.

Depending on the retailer, you may have to upload a receipt to earn cash back.

When Upside first launched, every purchase required you to upload a receipt. However, the company now says that most gas stations and restaurants no longer require a receipt.

Where I live, the local Shell station doesn’t require a receipt — but Chevron does.

After I claimed the offer for the Shell station, I just had to drive to the gas station and pay with the credit card that’s linked to my Upside account.

Then, I clicked the “I’ve paid” button from the Upside app.

Shell example Upside app (no receipt required)

For the Chevron station, I had to remember to request a physical receipt from the gas pump and then upload it to the app. This can add about 30 seconds to the process.

Because of this additional step, I tend to avoid gas stations that require me to upload a physical receipt.

Chevron Upside app example with receipt required

Although many gas stations and convenience stores no longer require a receipt, all grocery store offers from Upside still do.

After you’ve redeemed an offer, Upside says it can take up to 10 days to process. Two days is more common.

TIP: To make sure that I’m getting the best price, I comparison shop the gas stations along my weekly commute with the GasBuddy app — including stations that aren’t on Upside.

3. How Can I Earn More With Upside?

Upside is primarily known for cash back at gas stations, but you can maximize your earnings by taking advantage of the offers at other retailers — specifically restaurants.

Recently, I earned 25% cash back by claiming a restaurant offer.

25% back restaurant offer on Upside app

For some context, the last restaurant offer I redeemed through Upside earned $2.41 cash back. Meanwhile, my last gas station offer earned only 32 cents.

Although rarely available in my area, grocery offers can also quickly increase your balance.

Paying with a cash back credit card is another way to earn more. For gas stations, I use Blue Cash Preferred from American Express for 3% cash back.

That way, I get cash back from American Express and Upside.

In some cases, Upside prevents you from double-dipping. For example, the company says you can’t use Upside alongside apps like Checkout 51 and GasBuddy.

Finally, you can earn bonus cash back by sharing Upside with family and friends.

From the “Earn more” section of the app, find your invite code to share. When someone signs up with your code and uses the app, you’ll both get a $5 bonus.

In addition, you’ll earn a penny for every gallon of gas they buy going forward.

Upside app referrals in Earn more section

4. How Does Upside Make Money?

Upside is free to users, but the company makes money from the retailers that are featured in the app.

When I’m scrolling through the app and see offers from brands like Shell, Chevron, Exxon and Speedway, I remind myself that those are advertisements.

To put it simply, Upside gets paid by retailers when you claim an offer and redeem it.

Since the brand names featured in the Upside app paid money for that placement, you won’t see offers from every single gas station in your area.

For example, I never see offers from gas discounters like Costco and Wawa in the Upside app.

5. How Do I Redeem Cash Back With Upside?

To withdraw the cash back that you’ve earned using the Upside app, tap your balance in the upper right corner of the screen.

From there, you can link a bank account, enter your PayPal address or select a gift card.

Whenever I’m redeeming cash back from an app like Upside, I take the cash option. I prefer to use PayPal instead of giving the app my bank information.

Upside app balance

In the past, I’ve waited to withdraw my cash until my Upside balance reached $15.

Here’s why: Upside charges a $1 fee for small cash withdrawals, but the fee is waived for PayPal once your balance is greater than $15. The fee is waived at $10 for bank transfers.

Upside says there’s no fee when you redeem for a gift card, but some gift cards have minimums.

Another way to get around the fee is to refer family and friends to the app. In that case, Upside won’t charge a fee for PayPal or bank transfers.

If you have trouble cashing out, you can always submit a ticket through the app to contact Upside customer service.

Is Upside Worth It? Pros and Cons

When I first heard about the Upside app, I wondered if there was a catch. There isn’t.

I’ve been able to earn real cash back at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores. However, this app isn’t going to make you rich.

Realistically, I think I could earn between $100 and $200 annually by using Upside on a regular basis.

Free and easy to useNot all gas stations participate
Restaurant and grocery offers can boost cash backLimited number of restaurant and grocery offers in some locations
Flexible rewards: cash back or gift cards$1 fee for small cash withdrawals

Upside is best for people who fill up on gas frequently and don’t use gas stations like Costco and Wawa that aren’t featured in the app.

The restaurant and grocery offers can be valuable, but I only wish there were more of them.

I’ve had Upside on my phone for more than a year. I plan to continue using the app because it only takes a few seconds to claim an offer and upload a receipt if one is required.

If you decide to sign up, use code MICHAELSAVES25 for a $0.25/gallon sign-up bonus on your first fill-up.

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