Pei App Review 2021: Earn Cashback on Local and Online Purchases

If you like earning cashback online and also want to start earning it at local shops and restaurants you’ll be interested to hear about the Pei App. 

If you link your debit or credit card up to the Pei app you can start earning cashback at participating merchants in your city. This is on top of any rewards you are already earning from your cards. 

This Pei app review shows you how easy it can be to maximize your local and online purchases.

How Does the Pei App Work?

Pei is a rewards shopping app that’s free to join. Like most shopping apps, you can earn cashback on most purchases.

After installing the Pei app to your iOS or Android phone, you link your credit and debit cards. Then all you have to do is make purchases with the linked card at participating merchants and you’ll receive rewards.

You will see participating merchants near you offering up to 20% cashback. Pei monitors your credit card transactions for qualifying purchases and credits your account with “Pei points” if you make a purchase at a qualifying merchant. 

If the information on the credit card doesn’t have enough information it can also match the time of the purchase to your location using your phone location tracking to verify the transaction. 

Two aspects make Pei different than most rewards shopping apps.

First, Pei makes rewards you for local purchases. Most shopping apps only work for online shopping. You can use Pei’s Chrome browser extension for online shopping.

Second, you can redeem your Pei points for Bitcoin and cash and gift rewards are available too. But if you’re into buying cryptocurrency, Pei can be an effortless way to earn it.

Earning Pei Points

When you make purchases with the Pei App you earn “Pei points”. We will cover your redemption options later in this Pei review. For now, let’s look at how you can earn Pei points.

It takes between two and four days for Pei to credit your purchases.

Local Purchases

Being able to earn cashback on local purchases is what Pei is what makes Pei stand out from the crowd. Therefore, you will get the most from Pei if you shop at local stores and restaurants. 

Both local and national brands partner with Pei so it can be easy to earn Pei points.

Here are some of the national merchants that partner with Pei:

  • Target
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Walgreens
  • Subway
  • Taco Bell
  • PetSmart
  • McDonald’s
  • Starbucks
  • Trader Joe’s

One downside is that you won’t see many grocery stores and home improvement stores at Pei.

Many popular brands like Target, Trader Joe’s, and CVS only award between 0.5% and 2% back on your purchase. “Specialty stores” like PetSmart or local restaurants have the best rates.

You won’t get rich using Pei but it’s an easy way to earn free money on your daily spending.

To find local offers, Pei requires you to enable your phone’s location services. In some cases, some local stores offer higher bonuses than other nearby locations of the same brand.

Enabling location services is a battery drain. One quick way to find nearby stores is using Pei’s explorable map. You can scroll the overhead map and tap pinpoints to discover participating merchants and their current cashback rate.

Online Shopping

Pei offers a Google Chrome browser extension to earn Pei points at over 8,000 online stores. This extension requires you to activate a shopping session before paying.

When visiting a store page, the extension’s pop-up window lists the cashback amount. You will need to click the button for Pei to track your session. Be sure to pay with your linked card.

Some online stores have different payouts on different purchase categories. For instance, Home Depot might give 5.6% back on “HD Home” products but only 1.4% for everything else.

Keep in mind that you will need to use the Chrome extension to track the most online purchases. There are a handful of online stores in the Pei mobile app but most are only available on the Chrome extension. 

Unlike some of the other mobile shopping apps (i.e., Rakuten or TopCashback), Pei doesn’t let you start online shopping trips in the mobile app. You will need to install the Chrome plugin and activate a cashback session when shopping from your online browser.

Party Cash

A fun way to earn bonus Pei points is the Party Cash bonus. Participating stores award you an extra 1% back when friends accept your invitation to a “shopping party” and complete a purchase at the same location within 60 minutes.

You will see a “Party Cash” section in the Pei app to find current merchants near you. Some stores can include McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Sonic Drive-In, and CVS Pharmacy.

The current Party Cash rules let you get up to 4% back on your purchase. You will need to invite friends within the Pei app.

Cashback Boosts

Being a loyal Pei member has its benefits. It’s possible to unlock a “Cashback Boost” to earn bonus cash (up to $5 total) on every card purchase for 48 hours. Even non-Pei partner purchases earn bonus points during a Cashback Boost.

Qualifying for a Cashback Boost requires you to earn 20 boost points by completing certain activities. These boost points are like receiving extra credit on school assignments – optional but can be the difference between making an “A” or getting a “B.”

These are the various ways you can earn boost points:

  • Link credit and debit cards
  • Invite friends to join Pei
  • Redeem points for gift cards
  • Shop at Pei “Preferred Merchants”
  • Complete five shopping trips with the same merchant (5x loyalty hit)

You keep earning Pei points and credit card rewards in addition to these boost points.

Flash Deals

Pei may also offer flash deals with select merchants to earn bonus points for a limited time.

One example can be getting 200 points by spending at least $20 at certain stores.

Learn more about Pei here

Redeeming Pei Points

There are three exciting ways to redeem your Pei points. Most redemptions are instant but can take up to two hours to complete.

Your points balance must be at least $25 (2,500 points) to start claiming rewards. This redemption threshold is one of the highest for rewards shopping apps. Infrequent shoppers may consider another app like TopCashback that doesn’t have a redemption minimum.

PayPal Cash

You can redeem your Pei points for cash with PayPal. This is the only payout method for cash redemptions as you cannot send your cash to a debit card or bank account.

Gift Cards

Like survey apps and other shopping apps, you have multiple gift card redemption options. Depending on the merchant, you might get a redemption bonus for gift cards.

For instance, your points balance may only be worth $25 in PayPal cash but 2% more for an Amazon gift card.

Bitcoin

One of Pei’s unique advantages is redeeming points for Bitcoin. This redemption option isn’t for everybody. But if you already buy Bitcoin, this is an effortless way to grow your position.

Before redeeming your Pei points for Bitcoin, you must create a Bitcoin wallet. You can provide Pei with your SegWit or non-SegWit address to receive your redemption. Pei prefers SegWit addresses for backward compatibility with Legacy addresses and potentially lower fees.

To estimate how many Bitcoin units your Pei points are worth, you will see the Satoshi measurement and US dollar value for your Pei points balance.

Pei redeems Bitcoin redemptions in group batches to keep Bitcoin transaction fees low. In most cases, you won’t pay any fees to redeem your points for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is currently the only cryptocurrency Pei offers. The good news is that more cryptocurrency options may come in the future.

Do Pei points expire?

Your Pei points can expire after 180 days of account inactivity. 

Is Pei Safe?

You may be cautious of letting Pei monitor your credit and debit card purchases or use your phone’s location services. Pei uses several security measures to protect your privacy.

Bank-level Security

Pei uses Plaid to link your credit and debit cards so you don’t store your payment card details on Pei. All app communication has 256-bit bank-level encryption. No app is foolproof but you have more peace of mind.

Plaid is a third-party service that many budgeting apps use to sync your bank accounts. If someone compromises your Pei account, they can view your points balance and shopping history. However, they won’t be able to steal your card details and go on a spending spree.

2-Factor Authentication

When redeeming Pei points for prizes, Pei sends a text message confirmation code. This 2-factor authentication reduces the chance of fraud.

One downside is that Pei doesn’t let you update your phone number. If you get a new phone number, you must create a separate Pei account.

Anonymized Data

Pei monitors your payment card transaction to award points. However, Pei mentions they anonymize your data to verify your cashback. If you’re not comfortable with an app seeing your purchase history, you may avoid apps like Pei that require you to link a card.

Also, Pei states they do not sell your data. However, they do use your data to improve the user experience of the app. For instance, the app uses your phone’s location services to offer location-specific offers – like Party Cash.

You can pore over Pei’s privacy policy to learn more.

Is the Pei App Worth It?

Pei can be a good option if you shop at local stores and restaurants that partner with Pei. The Chrome extension also lets you earn Pei points for online purchases.

Most shopping rewards apps only let you earn bonus points on either online purchases or local purchases. Pei gives you the option of earning cashback at local and online stores.

Being able to redeem your points for cash, gift cards or Bitcoin is helpful. However, you may avoid Pei as you need a $25 balance (2,500 points) to start redeeming points.

Pros

  • Earn up to 20% back on local and online purchases
  • Can earn credit card rewards too
  • Cash, gift card and Bitcoin redemptions
  • Free to join
  • Do not have to scan receipts or buy specific items to earn points

Cons

  • Most grocery stores and home improvement stores do not participate
  • $25 redemption minimum is higher than most shopping apps
  • Cannot update your phone number
  • Local offers require location services
  • Monitors all debit and credit card purchases to verify cashback

Pei Alternatives

While Pei is an option for earning cashback at local stores and restaurants, it might not be for you. If that’s the case, here are some alternatives. 

Dosh

Dosh is the most similar cashback app to Pei. You link your credit and debit cards and Dosh tracks your purchases so you don’t have to activate offers or scan receipts. This app may have a better selection of brands for your local and online shopping habits.

You need a minimum $25 balance to cash out like Pei. While you can’t get Bitcoin, your cash redemptions include gift cards, bank deposits, PayPal, Venmo, and charity donations.

Fetch Rewards

Pei is suitable for merchandise and restaurant purchases but not grocery purchases. Fetch Rewards awards you points when you buy participating name brands at most stores. You only have to scan your receipt and don’t have to activate offers first like Ibotta.

Gift card awards are available as small $3 – one of the lowest redemption thresholds for rewards shopping apps.

Here’s our full review of Fetch rewards

Rakuten

Probably the best overall cashback shopping app is Rakuten. You can earn cashback at most online stores. In-store cashback is available at select department stores but Pei has a superior selection for local shopping. 

You will need to activate offers to verify cashback and only need to link your payment cards for in-store purchases.

One reason Rakuten is excellent for online shopping is that you can get cash or gift card payments with a $5.01 balance.

If you want to check out more cashback rebate sites, here’s our full list

Summary

Pei is one of the best apps for in-store shopping but the Chrome extension makes it easy to optimize online purchases too. The app has a wide variety of redemption options but the $25 redemption minimum is high.

Pei

Free
8

Overall

8.0/10

Strengths

  • Earn up to 20% back on local and online purchases
  • Cash, gift card and Bitcoin redemptions
  • Do not have to scan receipts or buy specific items to earn points

Weaknesses

  • $25 redemption minimum
  • Local offers require location services
  • Monitors all debit and credit card purchases to verify cashback

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Josh Patoka

About Josh Patoka

After graduating in $50k with student loans in May 2008 from Virginia Military Institute with a B.A. International Studies and Political Science with a minor in Spanish (I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain for 3 months), Josh decided to sell his soul for seven years by working in the transportation industry to get out of debt ASAP and focus on doing something else with a better work-life balance.

He is a father of three and has been writing about (almost) everything personal finance since 2015. You can also find him at his own blog Money Buffalo where he shares his personal experience of becoming debt-free (twice) and taking a 50%+ pay cut when he changed careers.

Today, Josh relishes the flexibility of being self-employed and debt-free and encourages others to pursue their dreams. Josh enjoys spending his free time reading books and spending time with his wife and three children.

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  1. Impersonal Finances says

    It does take a long time to get to $25, especially now that I’m not using Lyft/Uber (both Pei partners) as much, but I forget it’s on my phone and probably amounts to $50-75 a year. Not bad!

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