Updated on May 31, 2017
Dosh – Automatic Cash Back
Dosh is a new app that is promising to take the hassle out of cash back. Just add your credit card and go to any participating restaurant, hotel, or merchant.
My usual way of shopping online is: 1) find the online store with the best price, 2) check for the best cash back offer which is usually from topcashback.com, befrugal.com, or sometimes ebates.com 3) make the purchase after clicking through the cash back site. Buying flights and booking hotels often follows the same method except where I have elite status like Starwood SPG (because I won't receive my elite status benefits).
Will Dosh become my favorite cash back app? Not yet for me but it could be for you if you stay in a lot of hotels and get reimbursed. Dosh is just starting out and don't yet have a lot of discounts in the lower Manhattan area. They are growing fast and have already partnered with some big brands including Hyatt, Sheraton, Home Depot and Target.
$7 Sign Up Bonus
- Click here to sign up
- Add a credit card, get a $5 (Visa, MC works, but Amex didn't work)
- 2nd credit card gets you an extra $1
- 3rd credit card, get you one more $1
Biggest Opportunity (Booking Hotels)
Road warriors who travel frequently might be able to really benefit right now using Dosh deals for travel. If you get reimbursed for your hotel expenses, and you are not required to book through a corporate travel portal/department, you could really rake in lots of cash back. This would probably not work at the big consulting firms. What about elite benefits? You probably won't get them. Who cares if you are getting a big rebate of hundreds of dollars (maybe thousands?) after a week of hotel stays? And the app is supposed to match or beat the best available price. Sounds too good to be true, right?
The restaurant cash back could be really useful once they get more businesses to sign up.
How is This Different?
There are plenty of cash back sites for shopping online. My favorite include TopCashBack.com, BeFrugal.com, and ebates.com. Dosh does the same thing as well but for a lot less stores. Finding discounts similar to the cash back offers is a bit more difficult when it comes to physical brick and mortar stores. I've used services like Groupon.com, ScoutMob.com, and still often use LevelUp.com. All of these involve showing a paper or electronic voucher/offer (Groupon and ScoutMob), paying for a deal in advance (Groupon), or using the app to pay for the service (Groupon, LevelUp). The hassle comes in when you have to call over the waiter to give them the voucher or ask them what is included with the deal. Sometimes the employee has to ask a manager how to apply the discount and sometimes they do it wrong. These issues bring unnecessary attention and can make one be viewed as a “cheap”, “frugal”, or “smart”. Have you ever used or wanted to use these deals on a date? I have no problem doing so the same way I have no problem redeeming miles to fly first class for “free”.
Arranging discounts with these local businesses is very time consuming and much more difficult than just dealing with online shops. If Dosh is successful with both off-line and on-line shopping, the big cash back sites may start getting nervous.
Dosh Stealth Cash Back
No one will know you are using Dosh. With Dosh, just register your credit or debit card and shop (no clicking any links and no vouchers required). Or book hotels through the app and get cash back (just like online cash back sites but with much more cash back).
Withdrawing Cash Back
Easy. Once you have $15 cash back you can deposit it to your bank account. No gift cards or gimmicks here.
Refer a Friend Get $5
After you install the app, click the “Social” button at the bottom to share with your friends. You'll get $5 Dosh cash with every friend who signs up.
Big Potential. Early Beginnings
Dosh is still in public Beta so they may have slim pickins in your area, just like here in New York City. As I mentioned earlier, they already have some major brands on board and many more on the way. The app descriptions says they have “hundreds of thousands” stores and restaurants.
Here are the restaurants available nearby in lower Manhattan. The map below only shows merchants within a certain distance from me which is one of my complaints. I was going to an event in midtown and wanted to try out the app but I could not see the participating merchants until I was actually there making it tough to plan my day.
So, more merchants will pop up when you move, however, there still aren't that many (yet). I expect (ideally) the app to let me drop a pin and show me what's around that location.
Types of Offers
- Offers – nearby restaurants and online shopping
- Travel – hotels and activities/tours
Testing It Out
OFFERS: I tested out the offers by making a purchase at a participating restaurant. It's been ~36 hours and still no cash back.
TRAVEL: I was really surprised when I tried out the Dosh app. Take a look. I checked hotels for Saturday night in Manhattan so we can review the top 2 results.
1. The most cash back was $5,822 for Saturday night at the Park Hyatt which costs $7,374. What? This must be a mistake. That's a whopping 79% cash back bonus, and just a ridiculous amount of money for 1 night in a hotel. After the cash back, the net cost would be $1,552. Is this the best rate?
Ah ha! It was a mistake (or so I thought). I found a rate of $1,008 at kayak.com.
I confirmed the same result when I checked the Park Hyatt website for $7,375. It's a 1,620 sq ft suite! Obviously for high rollers only.
2. The second hotel on Dosh offered $119 cash back on a $398 night at the Le Parker Meridian. That's 30% back resulting in a net cost of $279. Is this the best rate? The best rate I see on Kayak.com is $309 but is that a real rate? It's certainly better than the “compare rate $399” on the Dosh app.
1. Dosh would have saved me money on the two sample hotel bookings above. That's a TON of money on the crazy priced Park Hyatt and a little bit of money at the Le Parker Meridian. If I were to actually want to book this crazy rate and expect to get such a large sum of money back, I would confirm, reconfirm and get it in writing from Dosh that it's not a mistake.
2. Dosh did not list the best price for the second hotel that I checked, but the net price was still lower using the app.
3. The price on Dosh in many cases is about $1 less than the best price online. That is probably not enough to trigger any company's best price guarantee though I'm wondering how they will treat the cash back.
What's the Catch?
With most cash back sites you never give them your credit card. As a result, the only thing they know is that you clicked on their link, went to a store, and maybe what you bought.
With Dosh, the only catch I see so far is that you give up some privacy. Dosh can see your credit card purchases and share the data with third parties like Empyr, a company that facilitates exactly this type of cash back service. I'm not sure how this data can be used. I've reached out to the company to clarify. 6/1/17:
Update: Here is their response: “We never store your username, password, credit card data, or bank account information in your app or on our servers. In addition to that, all purchase transactions you make using Dosh are encrypted. However, Dosh does find and share anonymous behavioral information with merchants to help them better understand shopping patterns. You may see relevant offers surface to you at some point in the lifetime of Dosh – this is not currently a feature. ”
Dosh could be a big money saver if they successfully get more merchants on board. For those who pay for hotels, I can see this being very popular right now. I usually use points to book hotels so I don't think I'll use the hotel offers myself. Try it out and let me know what you think.