Upside Review: Cash Rewards with Everyday Purchases



Product Rating



  • Earn cash back rewards at thousands of merchant locations 
  • Earn up to 45% at restaurants
  • Most rewards are instant
  • Get paid via PayPal, e-gift card, or direct deposit
  • The GetUpside app is free to download and use


  • Cashback rewards aren’t paid until after you make your purchase
  • Not all stores within a chain participate
  • Most rewards are well below the maximum advertised rates
  • Merchants may adjust cash rewards lower due to business conditions

If you’re concerned about saving money – and who isn’tUpside is an app that enables you to take advantage of cash rewards offers available with gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, and restaurants. It’s one of many cashback rebate sites that let you earn money on your everyday purchases.

The company advertises cashback rewards as high as $0.25 per gallon on gas and 45% on other purchases. Those are admittedly high-end rewards numbers, and the rewards you’ll get are likely to be considerably lower. But consumers average $148 per year in cashback rewards.

But even if the typical reward is 3%, 4%, or 5%, you might as well take advantage of every discount you can get. Upside gives you that ability.

Table of Contents
  1. About Upside
  2. Upside Features & Benefits
  3. How Upside Works
    1. Upside Check-In
    2. My Wallet
    3. Personalized Promotions
    4. Upside Referral Program
  4. What Customers Receive with Upside
    1. Fuel & Convenience Store Cash Back
    2. Grocery Store Cash Back
    3. Restaurants Cash Back
    4. Partner Promotions
  5. What Businesses Receive with Upside
  6. How to Sign Up with Upside
  7. Upside Pricing
  8. Upside Pros & Cons
  9. Should You Get the Upside App?

About Upside

Upside links consumers with merchants by providing cashback rewards to participating consumers while increasing profits for the merchant partners who benefit from increased customer traffic. The company has driven $200 million in cash back to users while increasing merchant partner profits by $350 million.

Upside claims to direct 1% of all revenue toward sustainability initiatives, including offsets and food rescue initiatives.

Based in Washington, DC, Upside launched in January 2016. The service lets you earn cash back at more than 45,000 locations spread across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The service gets high marks from consumers. Upside has a Better Business Bureau rating of A-, on a scale of A+ to F. Accredited by the BBB since 2020, Upside boasts a customer review score of 4.8 out of five stars. 

Upside also scores 4.8 out of five stars on The App Store and 4.6 on Google Play.

Upside Features & Benefits

Purpose: The cashback rewards app is available at participating gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Availability: All 50 states and the District of Columbia (more than 40,000 locations in total).

Mobile app: Upside is available on The App Store for iOS devices 12.1 and later, and on Google Play for Android devices, 4.1 and up

Security: Upside never takes access to your total debit or credit card number or complete card information. Verification is limited to the first six digits and the last four digits of your card number only. In addition, Upside does not sell user information to third parties.

Customer service: You can contact Upside via the in-app help center or email. There is no phone contact available.

How Upside Works

As a Upside member, you’ll open the app whenever you need to make a purchase. You’ll then claim the best offer for the participating merchant near you. You’ll then make your purchase using your regular debit or credit card.

After the purchase is complete, you can snap a picture of the receipt with your mobile device and download it to the app. Cashback will be added directly to the app. You can then cash out your rewards whenever you like and receive payment via PayPal, an e-gift card, or a payment sent to your bank account.

Here is a list of requirements and limitations on rewards eligibility:

  1. You must claim your offer before making your purchase. Once you make a claim, you’ll have four hours to make the purchase. After four hours, the claim and rewards will expire.
  2. Once you complete the purchase, you must claim the rewards offer within 20 minutes. 
  3. Rewards are available only on purchases you make, not those made by others. 
  4. Always keep your receipts for qualifying for rewards. You must submit a picture of the complete itemized receipt within 24 hours of making the purchase.
  5. You must pay using an approved payment method. Rewards are not eligible if you pay by either cash, gift cards, or EBT. Acceptable payment options are limited to debit or credit cards, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Apple Card, Google Pay, or Shell Drive for Five. There is no mention of payment by check, so it’s best to assume it’s an excluded method.
  6. Upside will reduce your Cash rewards when used alongside other discount offers. For example, if you submit a receipt that you’ve also provided to GasBuddy or Checkout 51, Upside will deny the rewards.

👉 Learn more about GetUpside

Upside Check-In

Photos of receipts may not be necessary if you purchase from an eligible location for Upside Check-In. The good news is that more than 90% of gas stations on the app use Check-In. However, cash rewards will be delayed by up to an entire week since Upside must work with the merchant to verify the purchase by matching your transaction against the merchant’s records.

Check-In won’t require you to photograph and send a receipt, making the transaction faster and easier, but it will delay your rewards. Once you complete the Check-In process, you’ll have 20 minutes to make your purchase. Upside will email you as soon as the offer is processed.

One limitation to be aware of is that you must use the same debit or credit card to redeem Check-In purchase rewards that you’ve used in conjunction with Upside. Upside will verify the payment method using the last four digits of the credit or debit card and the first six digits for the card type.

In addition, not all participating locations are compatible with the Check-In feature – only merchants displaying the blue lightning badge on the Upside app offer this service.

GetUpside Screenshot

My Wallet

My wallet is a feature on the Upside app that allows you to enter and manage your most frequently used credit and debit cards. You can add and remove cards freely, and there is a limit of 10 credit or debit cards that you can hold in your wallet at any time.

Personalized Promotions

Upside uses anonymized credit and debit card transaction data to better understand your consumer behavior and preferences. They use this data to develop personalized promotions specifically for you – offers designed to maximize your rewards from the service.

Upside Referral Program

When you share in the Upside app with friends and family, you create your own “Upsider” community, enabling you to increase your earnings. That’s because you get a bonus when you share the app with others. Keep earning $.01 per gallon from every gasoline purchase your friend or family members make.

Imagine earning money each time a person you’ve shared the app with purchases gas? It’s possible when you share the Upside app with others.

👉 Learn more about GetUpside

What Customers Receive with Upside

Customers using the Upside app will benefit from cash rewards at thousands of participating merchants across the US. These are available for purchases made at gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Fuel & Convenience Store Cash Back

Upside participants can earn cashback every time they fill up their tanks. You can save up to $0.25 per gallon at thousands of filling stations across the country and up to 22% on purchases made at participating convenience stores. Rewards are available for purchases of up to 50 gallons of gas at one time.

The company lists major participating gasoline chains, including Shell, BP, Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Circle K, Phillips 66, RaceTrac, Valero, 76, Speedway, and Conoco.

Some gas stations and convenience stores will offer cash rewards on snacks and drinks, car washes, inspections, oil changes, and other auto services.

You can use the Upside app to locate participating gas stations. The app will even tell you the station’s price per gallon, though that may sometimes be different from what the station is charging. If there is a price difference, you can input the correct price and submit it to Upside.

Grocery Store Cash Back

There are no limitations on products or brands; your entire purchase qualifies for cashback. But you must claim the rewards offered before making your purchase. You’ll make your purchase by paying with a debit or credit card, take a picture of the receipt, then the rewards will be credited to your account on the app.

Participating grocery stores are primarily local and regional chains. Each user can redeem a maximum of two grocery store offers per week. There are also minimum and maximum spending thresholds that apply to an offer, and your purchase must be within the thresholds to qualify.

A significant advantage of grocery store rewards is that you’ll have 24 hours from when you claim your offer to make your purchase and upload your purchase receipt.

GetUpside Grocery Partners

Members can receive rewards of up to 30% at participating grocery stores. Participating grocers may also provide exclusive offers from time to time, expanding your savings. Upside works with thousands of independent retailers and continues to add more grocery stores to their list.

Restaurants Cash Back

The list of participating restaurants is currently limited to a half-dozen fast-food chains, including Dunkin Donuts, Papa Johns, Popeye’s, Q-Doba, Wendy’s, and Burger King.

You’ll determine which restaurants are participating through the app, claim your cash rewards, then make your food purchase as you usually would. You can then send a picture of your receipt, upload it to the app, and qualify for cashback rewards.

Cash rewards of up to 45% are available at participating restaurants. However, cashback doesn’t apply to delivery services – only dine-in and take-out. Upside has added 15,000+ restaurants – national chains and local favorites – too many to list!

Partner Promotions

Upside sometimes provides promotional codes for partner programs, including DoorDash and Instacart, designed to help support their drivers. You’ll become aware of these promotions through emails sent by the partner company. These offers can save you even more money than what you’ll get from cash rewards. Other partners include Uber, Lyft, and GoPuff.

👉 Learn more about GetUpside

What Businesses Receive with Upside

Upside is continually expanding the number of participating merchants in its program.

Business owners seek to expand their customer base by engaging Upside users. By offering cash rewards, the merchants compensate consumers for their business. In theory, it’s a win-win scenario. 

Once a merchant signs up to be a participating member of the Upside program, they’ll have the ability to adjust the cash rewards up or down or terminate their participation, temporarily or permanently.

Upside alerts merchants when they refer consumers to that particular business. They will also use customized partner promotions to encourage customers to visit your business more frequently.

If you’re interested in drawing more customers to your business, you can learn more about the program by completing the brief application form available on the website:

GetUpside Merchant Signup

How to Sign Up with Upside

You can sign up for Upside either on the website or through your mobile device. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll be free to investigate cash rewards offers before you do your shopping.

GetUpside Signup

Upside Pricing

There is no cost to download and use the Upside app. The company has a profit-sharing arrangement with participating merchants, and Upside takes a small fee for each incremental transaction it brings to the merchants.

Upside Pros & Cons


  • Earn cash back rewards at thousands of merchant locations 
  • Earn up to 45% at restaurants
  • Most rewards are instant 
  • Get paid via PayPal, e-gift card, or direct deposit
  • Earn $0.01 for each gallon of gasoline purchased by a friend or family member who you share the app. The more people you share with, the more money you’ll earn.
  • Even if you don’t download a photo of your purchase receipt to the app at the time of purchase, you can still get your rewards using the Check-In method after the fact.
  • The Upside app is free to download and use.


  • Cashback rewards aren’t paid until after you make your purchase
  • Not all stores within a chain participate
  • Most rewards are well below the maximum advertised rates 
  • Merchants may adjust cash rewards lower due to business conditions.
  • Grocery store options are limited to regional chains and don’t include popular national grocers.
  • Participating restaurants are limited to fast-food chains
  • Rewards are only eligible on approved payment methods and do not apply if you pay by cash, gift cards, or EBT. 

👉 Learn more about GetUpside

Should You Get the Upside App?

Since you’re going to be buying gasoline, groceries, and restaurant meals anyway – and there’s no cost to participate in Upside – you owe it to yourself to take advantage of the cash rewards the app offers. And if you use our promo code – WALLETHACKS20 – you’ll receive an extra 20c off each gallon of the first fill-up and stacks with existing offers so you can get up to 45c cashback on your first fill!.

That said, don’t expect to receive the high rewards advertised on the app. For example, Upside promotes gas rewards as high as $0.25 per gallon, but the vast majority of offers will be less than five cents per gallon. And logic alone says that a 30% reward at grocery stores is entirely unlikely to happen, given the already narrow profit margins grocers operate within.

And though Upside advertises participation by more than 40,000 merchants, by far, the most significant number is gas stations. On the other hand, grocery stores are mostly smaller regional chains, not large national chains like Kroger or Safeway.

Also, be careful with merchants that offer the highest cash rewards. They provide those rewards because the item’s base price – gasoline, for example – is higher than the competition.

None of this is to say that Upside is a lousy service. But cash rewards are notoriously fluid across the retail spectrum and subject to change at any time. It’s an inexact science at best, but Upside gives you the opportunity to benefit from those rewards when and where they’re offered.

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About Kevin Mercadante

Since 2009, Kevin Mercadante has been sharing his journey from a washed-up mortgage loan officer emerging from the Financial Meltdown as a contract/self-employed "slash worker" – accountant/blogger/freelance blog writer – on He offers career strategies, from dealing with under-employment to transitioning into self-employment, and provides "Alt-retirement strategies" for the vast majority who won’t retire to the beach as millionaires.

He also frequently discusses the big-picture trends that are putting the squeeze on the bottom 90%, offering workarounds and expense cutting tips to help readers carve out more money to save in their budgets – a.k.a., breaking the "savings barrier" and transitioning from debtor to saver.

Kevin has a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Montclair State University.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Bob Altice says

    I do not possess an IPhone, only a laptop. Can I still take advantage of the savings offered with Getupside?

    Thanks for your response.

  2. Dan McDOWELL says

    The get upside app is not limited to large chain restaurants. There is a local tavern near me (Twains Tavern), a local Bar-B-Que joint (Beefalo Bob’s Carryout), a local Italian Restaurant (Bella Napoli) and two local Pizza and Subs places ( Carini’s and Vinzini’s). All of these are within a couple of miles of my home. They are offering between 7 and 18% back. When there are special promotions, the amounts are decisively higher. The rebates and the referral fees add up and are very easy to get. Use them to treat yourself for being a good spender.

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