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A Comprehensive Upside Review: Saves Money Or A Scam?

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Key Takeaways

  • Upside offers cash back on gas, dining, and groceries through a free user-friendly app.
  • Features include cash back from major gas stations, restaurants, and grocery chains.
  • Users submit purchase receipts or “Check In” for cash back; issues may arise with receipt clarity.
  • Flexible cash-out options include bank transfer, PayPal, or gift cards, with some associated fees.

The Upside app offers users multiple ways to get cash back on their purchases.

It’s popular as an app for saving money on gas, but that’s not all. Upside also presents earning opportunities with various restaurants and grocery stores.

Being a free app promoting easy saving, it’s no surprise that Upside attracted massive attention. But today, we’re taking a comprehensive look at the app and its features to determine if it lives up to the hype.

Our Upside review analyzes the app’s every aspect to deliver a critical, practical assessment of its service.

Key Features Analysis

We’ll start with the Upside app features, which will also get you familiar with how to use Upside.

The operation of Upside relies on three major features, which are also the three areas where the app promises savings. These are gas cash back, restaurant cash back, and grocery cash back.

Gas Cash Back

Gas cash back is Upside’s most well-known attribute. When you join the platform, you become eligible to reclaim some of the amount you spend on gas.

The idea is for you to visit one of Upside’s participating gas stations once you find an offer in your area.

When you refill your tank using your card at the pump, you’ll receive a discounted price. The money difference will be added to your balance in the app after you either “Check In” or upload a receipt.

With gas costs on the rise, this particular cash-back feature strongly appeals to users. It also helps that some of the biggest gas station brands are on board , including Exxon, Valero, Mobil, and Shell.

Unlike Costco gas, you don’t need a membership to benefit from this feature.

Restaurant Cash Back

While not as popular as gas cash back, more users are starting to benefit from Upside’s restaurant cash back options.

With this feature, you’re awarded money back when you purchase food or drinks from partner restaurants.

You’ll visit one of their branches depending on your location, then snap a photo of your receipt after ordering/enjoying a meal out. Upload the picture to the app and you’ll receive some of the money you paid back in your balance.

Grocery Cash Back

The last of Upside’s features is grocery cash back. It can be a smart tool for users trying to manage their monthly budgets in today’s rocky economy.

It follows the same pattern as its sister features, offering saving opportunities at various grocery chains/stores. After uploading a snap of your receipt , you’ll receive cash back regardless of the brand or product you buy.

User Experience and Interface Evaluation

We’ll shift focus onto the app’s functionality from a user’s perspective.

The Upside app introduces a seamless interface right from the get-go. It looks and feels legit at first, and with further scrolling, it maintains its professional yet intuitive approach.

The stability of the app provides a sense of security that most apps of the same category lack.

The Home screen has everything you need to figure out how to navigate your way through the app. It features a mini-map at the top along with your profile icon to the right.

At the bottom, there are three tabs; Home/Find Offers, My Balance/My Money, and Earn More.

In the middle of the screen, you’ll see three options to choose from; Gas, Restaurants, and Groceries. Once you tap one of them, the map will expand to show the relevant offers available in your area.

The app provides smooth and quick navigation as you move between different categories. The map also auto-updates every few minutes to keep the live offer as accurate as possible.

The user experience is overall straightforward with minimal glitching and crashing . This cash-back app is a refreshing change compared to typical reward/coupon apps with their laggy, frustrating navigation.

In general, you get the same type of user experience whether you use the iOS or Android version.

Users on both operating systems don’t report many interface-related issues other than the occasional slow loading. According to our research, this usually follows big updates on older devices.

Assessment of Participating Businesses and Offers

The Upside app started as Getupside back in 2016. Since then, the company has undergone a series of funding rounds that enabled it to rebrand and evolve into its current operation.

During these years, the company managed to have thousands of businesses join its platform. Nowadays, Upside is one of the most used ways to get free gas, meals, groceries, and other types of goods.

What’s impressive is that these businesses are some of the biggest names in their respective industries .

In the fuel and convenience category, more than 100,000 brands/retailers nationwide are participants in Upside savings offers, including;

  • Exxon
  • Amoco
  • Valero
  • Circle K
  • Mobil
  • Texaco
  • Shell
  • Arco
  • Sunoco
  • CITGO
  • Phillips 66

In the restaurant industry, more than 65,000 brands/retailers nationwide are participants in Upside cash-back offers, such as;

  • Arby’s
  • Pizza Hut
  • Papa Johns
  • Jack In The Box
  • Wendy’s
  • Burger King
  • Domino’s
  • KFC
  • Taco Bell
  • Popeyes
  • Jimmy John’s
  • Rally’s

As for the grocery sector, the number of Upside participants well exceeds the 100,000 mark. Examples of those retailers include;

  • Save A Lot
  • Cardenas
  • Price Chopper
  • Schnucks
  • Northgate
  • Rosauers
  • Good Food
  • Gelson’s
  • Lunds & Byerlys

Besides these three categories, various types of retailers are also participants in Upside’s cash-back network. These include flower shops, hardware stores, and more.

Why Do Offers Vary?

The quality of businesses you can find on Upside is top-tier, but what about the offers?

You should be aware that the Upside team personalizes offers based on several factors, including;

  • The stores available in your area
  • The needs of those stores
  • Your spending habits

As such, different customers may not get the same offers as each person’s experience is unique.

That said, cash-back offers on Upside generally range between 6% and 14%, whether it’s gas, groceries, or restaurants. You can enjoy extra savings using an Upside promo code.

Completing a Deal: Process and Effectiveness

To benefit from an offer on Upside, you need to first find a deal that aligns with your purchasing and saving needs.

There are two main requirements to find such a suitable offer; location and category.

You need to be accurate when choosing your area to ensure you’re seeing offers within reach. Also, pay attention to the store category you’re searching to receive deals relevant to what you want to buy.

Overall, it’s easy to find an offer on Upside. However, the tricky part of the process is activating and completing the offer .

We consider it the most critical step because it’s time-sensitive and involves multiple limitations.

First of all, offers are live. The app updates them on your map approximately every 10 minutes. So, if you see an offer you like and decide to wait a bit before claiming it, it may not be available when you come back.

Once you claim a deal, there’s also a time window to complete the purchase, otherwise, the offer will expire.

This time limit depends on the type of offer. Gas station and restaurant deals are four hours whereas grocery store deals are 24 hours.

The app does count down the remaining time for you, which can be a helpful reminder.

One more thing to keep in mind is that you can only claim five offers per day.

This applies across all types of businesses, so we recommend claiming deals only when you’re sure about it. This way, you avoid “wasting” claims.

Uploading Receipts: Functionality and User-Friendly Nature

Finding and claiming an offer isn’t enough to receive the cash back. Completing the deal only happens when you present proof of your purchase.

If there’s a “Check In” option, clicking on it will allow the app to verify your location along with the purchase. If not, you’ll see a prompt to upload a picture of the receipt.

This should be a straightforward process once you know what makes a receipt image valid. It has to show as much of the receipt as possible. Make sure it reads the location, items, date, and time of the purchase.

The efficiency of uploading, however, goes down when technical issues arise.

For example, if the picture is misaligned, blurry, or doesn’t capture the entire receipt . Another problem is a failed upload due to an unstable internet connection outdoors.

Such issues could reduce your cash back or even deny it. If you want a smoother experience, you should spend those extra few seconds ensuring the image is clear enough.

To boost the user-friendliness of this step, Upside added the option to resubmit a receipt . You can use it within 21 days from the purchase date.

Cashing Out: Analysis of Redemption Options and Value

Assuming the successful completion of an offer, you should see the cashback money in your balance on the Upside app. This opens up multiple options for redeeming the money.

You can transfer it to your bank account, move it to your PayPal account, or turn it into a gift card. Having these three methods available for cashing out offers users greater flexibility in managing their finances.

The fact that you can request any of these cash-out routes right from the app also boosts its convenience. To ensure you didn’t select one of the options by mistake, you’ll receive an email to confirm your request .

Note that you may have to pay fees when cashing out as follows:

  • $1 for back cash-outs under $10
  • $1 for PayPal cash-outs under $15

To avoid these fees , you need to refer one user to Upside and they should be active on the app.

The Fine Print: A Critical Look at Terms and Conditions

Analyzing Upside’s terms of service, we’re sharing some clauses that may have a significant impact on your user experience:

  • Upside has the right to deny cash back on a purchase that you modified or were unable to validate. This leaves plenty of vagueness as to what counts as modification or failure to validate.
  • Your Upside account must be in good standing for you to cash out your earnings. Upside provides no further clarification of the conditions of “good standing” and, if it deems you in bad standing, reserves the right to;
    • Set a minimum limit for redeeming cash-back offers
    • Deduct a fee when you redeem cash-back offers using certain payment methods

Overall App Worth: A Comprehensive Evaluation

With all the information we analyzed in mind, it’s time to evaluate Upside’s service overall.

So, is the app worth using? Yes, we believe so. Here’s why:

  • It’s hassle-free. You won’t be jumping through hoops to find a coupon or spend hours trying to complete actions for a reward.
  • As long as you purchase within the specified time frame and verify it properly, chances are you’ll get the cashback.
  • You don’t have anything to lose by trying. The app is free and doesn’t require a time commitment such as completing a task.
  • It has a wide variety of participating businesses.
  • It’s easy to navigate and use.

Compared to other cashback apps such as Ibotta and Rakuten, Upside excels in saving money on gas and restaurants .

It still has room to improve regarding other types of shopping. For example, it lacks retail store categories and doesn’t support online shopping.

Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Using Upside

Saving on gas money is known to be the app’s most prized feature. However, our comprehensive Upside review reveals that ease of use, convenience, and constant expansion are its true strengths.

If you’re someone who needs to refill their gas tank regularly, Upside’s cash-back offers can add up to significant amounts. The same goes for those who eat out a lot.

Until we see more variety in the grocery and retail businesses on Upside with higher value offers, we won’t be recommending the app in these categories.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few common questions that you may be wondering about the Upside app:

Does Upside Really Work?

Yes, Upside offers real money back on eligible purchases.

Does Your Money On Upside Expire?

Any amount of money available in your Upside balance will never expire as long as you’re active on the app. Keep your account in good standing and the funds you earn will only leave your balance by cashing out.

Why is Upside a Risk?

The only risk associated with using the Upside app is not receiving cashback due to a technical error.

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