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Do You Use Upromise?

Written by Nickel - 16 Comments

Do You Use Upromise?

Over the weekend I checked in on our Upromise account. In case you’re not familiar with Upromise, it’s a free service that allows you to earn money toward college by shopping online, buying groceries, dining out, etc.

Here’s how it works:

First, you need to create an account. From there, you have a variety of options. The easiest things to do are to register your grocery and drugstore loyalty cards as well as your credit cards so that they can credit your account when you buy eligible products, meals, or services from their partners.

You can also initiate online purchases by clicking through from their “online mall” and receive anywhere from 1-25% of your purchase in cash back, or book travel through their partners (including Priceline, Expedia, etc.) and receive up to 4% cash back. Note that these rewards are in addition to any credit card rewards that you might otherwise earn.

Another option would be to sign up for the Upromise-branded credit card, which pays 1% cash back. You can also complete a number of other “high ticket” actions like requesting life insurance quotes, applying for a home loan, etc. If you do so, you’ll receive a bounty for each.

In general terms, the intended endgame is for you to link your account to a Upromise 529 account and have your earnings deposited straight into it. You can, however, withdraw your funds directly if that’s what you prefer.

The primary downside of using Upromise is that you’re giving up a slice of your privacy. That being said, their privacy policy clearly states that they don’t share any personally-identifying with their partners. They do, however, use the information to improve ad targeting, etc. Pretty harmless stuff, and really no worse than what credit card companies and grocery/drug stores are already doing with this information.

Honestly, I’ve been a pretty lightweight user of Upromise, having just registered our loyalty cards and credit cards, and then just going on with my daily business as if nothing is happening. Nonetheless, I’ve earned a couple hundred dollars since first signing, and could have done better if I had been a bit more diligent about updating our credit card info when we switched cards, and so forth.

In the end, this isn’t going to be a major contributor to our kids’ college educations, but hey… It’s free money, so why not take advantage of it?

Are you using Upromise?

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

Published on June 6th, 2011
Modified on January 5th, 2012 - 16 Comments
Filed under: Education, Online, Saving & Investing

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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16 Responses to “Do You Use Upromise?”

  1. 1
    Courtney Says:

    My state does not have a linked 529 program to the Upromise site, however recently I was sent an email indicating that I can ‘withdrawl’ the money in the account. So I pulled the money in the account to invest it in the option of my choice for my children’s savings!! IT was an awesome find!

  2. 2
    Jessie Says:

    I’ve had Upromise for about 4 years now, and I’ve earned a whole $20. It hardly seems worth the effort, but, then again, it’s been minimal effort.

  3. 3
    Stacey Says:

    My parents used Upromise while I was in high school and college. They earned about $200 over 8 years, which I was able to roll into my federal student loans. (You can do this directly on Upromise’s website.) It wasn’t much, but as Jessie says it was minimal effort.

    They are now using their account to save for grandchildren.

  4. 4
    Ace Says:

    In my experience, Upromise isn’t that great of a deal. Most of the rewards you can earn on grocery purchases are on name brand products that cost twice what you would pay for a store brand. Not worth it for a few cents of reward. If you are earning several hundred dollars on Upromise, you are probably paying far more than you should on the underlying products.

  5. 5
    Susan Says:

    I’ve been a member of Upromise for about 10 years. I haven’t changed any of my spending habits – like you I just went about my business after signing up. I’ve “earned” about $250. Sometimes I remember to click thru their site when I buy things online, but most of it was a few cents each week from the supermarket, a few dollars each time I ordered flowers, or went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was all spending I would have done anyway, so it was no extra effort on my part – and hey, maybe it will pay for one textbook. :)

  6. 6
    Stacey Says:

    …or you buy a lot of gasoline, Ace. :) You don’t get much (two cents per gallon at participating stations) but it adds up over time if you have a lengthy commute. We didn’t change our shopping habits, just followed our usual frugal habits.

  7. 7
    Ace Says:

    I do buy gas, but I buy it at Costco or a local grocery store that give gas rewards with food purchases. At these locations, gas is always more than two cents per gallon cheaper than at the stations that give Upromise rewards.

  8. 8
    Sandra Says:

    I agree with aLl of you I have earned $30 in a year but $5 of it was a life insurance quote the other $25 was a car insurance quote or vice versa but I actually took out the life policy that is why it was so much but had it not been for that I wouldn’t have earned anything.

  9. 9
    Machelle Says:

    I’ve used Upromise for about ten years and have about $1,400 so far. I rarely buy anything online, so most of this savings came about through using their Upromise credit card. I would put all “normal” purchases on the card and of course, paid it off in full every month. $1,400 in earnings isn’t bad for very little effort on my part!

  10. 10
    Debi Says:

    I made most of my earnings with a Terminix order, but they don’t have such a high percent any longer, so I use other sites to get cashback such as fatwallet.com or Discover card, but Upromise is the only one to give any cashback for JCPenny that I’ve found, so I use it for orders from there. I pulled it out and gave son 1/2 and daughter 1/2 from both sources and they got about 300-400 to share,so it is worthwhile, but fatwallet has more to offer me so I use it more often.

  11. 11
    Bob Says:

    Thanks for the previous mentions of Upromise. Never got much but just let it plug away. I never knew until you mentioned you can actually withdraw the money. Thanks again. Keep up with the great write ups.

  12. 12
    Sass Says:

    I use UPromise for my daughter’s college fund. While I’ve only earned about $100 — that’s $100 that we’ll have for college with very little exra effort. The dining out option (that you have to renew every year) has been especially helpful! Several of our local favorites are on board with the program and usually when I go there to eat with friends (especially my single-no-intention-of-having-kids-friends, they give me cash for their portion of the check and I run the whole thing on my debit card! Its an easy way to get the free money for her college account for a place I’m patronizing anyway!

  13. 13
    Sandy Says:

    I signed my son up as soon as he was born…2002. Since then I have had over $2,000 transfered into his 529 account. I didn’t change my shopping habits at all. T see this as FREE money! I went in knowing I wasn’t gonna make a million but every dollar helps. Would I recomend Upromise….you better believe I would!! My only regreat is that I didn’t start sooner.

  14. 14
    Go Daddy Coupon Says:

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day.
    It’s always useful to read through articles from other writers and practice something from other web sites.

  15. 15
    Kevin Says:

    I signed up last October and I’ve already earned over two hundred dollars. Nearly all of it was on the Dining Rewards program. We haven’t changed any habits but we do go out to eat twice a week and now and then I will see if there is a place close that is on their program that sounds good. So, it’s money for nothing. I’m pretty happy about it and wished I’d started years ago.

  16. 16
    taniqua Says:

    We have not used it much but still have gained about $350 in a few years. We did most of that lately when I downloaded the toolbar that reminds me when I am already on a site that would give me money. Big game changer. My sister and MIL do all of their shopping online ad having then sign up really made a difference. If we had paid attention to that before, it would be a lot more. With them now on board, it will probably go up. My friend pays her mortgage with the credit card and has about $11,000, with four kids, she is focused on this and a couple other things and it is paying off

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