This Cash-Back App Helped This Woman Effortlessly Earn $468 in 6 Months

headshot of margaret hubbard
Margaret Hubbard, 28, used the Dosh app to earn $468 in 6 months. Although it’s possible to use the app passively and let cash back quietly stack up, Hubbard uses it to actively inform her spending decisions. Photo courtesy of Margaret Hubbard
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This past summer, Margaret Hubbard traveled from her home in Seattle to New York City to attend her brother’s law-school graduation.

Because it’s New York City, a three-night hotel reservation totaled $950. Naturally.

But she booked the hotel through a new app that grants cash back for making purchases at affiliated travel, dining, online and other retailers — “automagically.”

How much cash back do you think Hubbard scored? Something like $10? Maybe even a hearty 5%?

Nope. Hubbard scored $440 back on that hotel reservation, cutting the expense nearly in half.

Oh My Gosh! What’s Dosh?

The free cash-back app is called Dosh.

Hubbard, 28, owns a marketing consulting business in Seattle and used to work for the app’s founder, Ryan Wuerch. She’d been hearing buzz about Dosh since before its conception.

This past spring, she saw an announcement from Wuerch on Facebook: The app had been built and was ready for testing.

“I definitely wanted to try it out,” she says. So she joined a private group of beta testers in May.

Signing up was easy, Hubbard remembers. (I can vouch for that; it took me about two minutes.) She connected two of her credit cards and two of her debit cards to the app by simply taking photos of them.

She earned a $5 bonus when she connected her first card, and another $1 for each subsequent card.

At that point, the Dosh app started doing its “auto-magic” thing.

With the cards you’ve connected, the app keeps tabs on your spending. When you spend money at a Dosh-affiliated establishment, you’ll receive cash back.

You can score money by shopping big-name retailers (both in-store and online). For example, you can currently pocket 7.5% back from Bed Bath & Beyond, 6% back from Ray-Ban and 2% back from Sam’s Club.

You can also earn cash back at local favorites — like coffee shops, breweries and restaurants.

Your transaction triggers Dosh, so you don’t even have to take photos of receipts, scan barcodes or enter promo codes. Just go about your day. Once you hit $15, you can cash out.

(Note: You can’t use Dosh in conjunction with Swagbucks, another cash-back platform.)

How Hubbard Earned $486.14 in 6 Months

When Hubbard and I chatted Nov. 8, she checked her lifetime earnings.


(I think I audibly gasped into the phone.)

Although it’s totally possible to use the Dosh app passively and let cash back quietly stack up, Hubbard uses it to actively inform her spending decisions.

For example, Hubbard travels a lot for business. She has clients located in California and Texas. Instead of booking her hotels online, she’ll open Dosh and select “Travel.” She uses it just like she’d use or any other other hotel-booking site.

She’s compared prices on Dosh to those discount sites, and reports they’re about the same. The easiest part is she can sort her search by “most cash back” or “Price: Low to High.” This helps her make the best savings decisions — which is how she landed that $440 cash back on her stay in New York City this summer.

(Plus, you bank a $25 bonus when you book your first hotel stay through Dosh.)

Hubbard uses the app when she shops, too. She can search cash-back opportunities by location or category. One of her go-to clothing retailers is Forever 21. She receives 5% cash back on those purchases with Dosh.

Finally, Hubbard also earns cash back on coffee runs and at restaurants. It’s actually one of her favorite parts about the app — “the discovery aspect of it,” she says.

Sure, she has her go-to coffee spots, but sometimes, when she wants to switch things up, she’ll search for nearby shops on Dosh. Like the other day, when she wanted to find a different environment to work in.

She also loves when she stumbles across those nice, passive surprises — the times when her phone pings and lets her know she’s earned cash back.

This happened once in New York City. Hubbard and her boyfriend had just emerged from a red-eye flight and were killing time before they could check into their hotel. They stopped at a diner and filled up on breakfast.

Hubbard paid her portion of the tab, then her boyfriend paid. Her phone buzzed. She’d received cash back on her meal. Not only that, she’d referred her boyfriend, who’d just made his first cash-back transaction, so she got a $5 bonus, too.

“It’s those little things that are really exciting,” she says. “It was fun!”

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a little peeved right now, because she booked a hotel room for a wedding before downloading Dosh. She just looked and realized she’s missing out on $26.53 in cash back for a $139 room at a Marriott. UGH.