5 Sources of Free Cash for Student Loans
You can work really hard to put aside money from your paycheck to pay off your student loans, but you can also shop your way to student loan payments.
One way is by utilizing cash rebate programs that directly deposit the money you earn from purchase rebates into your student loan account on a quarterly basis. You can also use cash-back credit cards that can help you save up in order to make extra student loan payments.
Two Websites That Pay
Below, we go over some of the best websites that allow you to earn cash through shopping and will help you pay down your student loan.
UPromise: Shop Your Way to Loan Rebates
The website UPromise is known for helping moms and dads save for college through shopping online and in-person at thousands of stores across the country. You are able to get your rebates deposited quarterly as a payment on a Sallie Mae student loan, or sent to you as a check, which you can use to pay off student loans. This website offers the most ways to save because you have in-person options at grocery stores and restaurants, in addition to online shopping.
The following is an example to show you how the savings add up. Let’s say you sign up for the dining program and go out to twice in a month for $40 each time. You earn 8% of each purchase. Then you buy a pair of $60 shoes with a rebate of 10%. You just earned $12.40 towards your student loans from purchases you were going to make anyway. This adds up to over $100 a year of free money that could be going towards your student loans.
Of course, if you spend more, you’ll save more. In addition, you can get grocery savings on certain products which will also increase your student loan payment bounty.
Rakuten: Rebate Program
Rakuten is a rebate program that gives you a percentage off of online shopping, but is not deposited into a student loan account. However, you can use the cash towards paying off your loans.
To get these rebates you go to the e-bates section of their website and login to your account when you want to shop. Then you click on the store of your choice. As long as you earn at least $5.01 during a three month period, you will receive a payment.
This is a highly reputable site with 4 out 5 stars based on customer reviews and a B-rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Three Credit Card Rewards Programs
There are also credit card programs without annual fees that go beyond giving cash back for your purchases. Some credit cards offer bonuses for shopping through their websites or bonus cash on top of your cash-back earnings. For the sake of maintaining your credit score, only apply for the credit card that you think will be the best for you.
Out of all the rewards cards available on the current market, the Capital One Quicksilver credit card is the best card for cash back due to its low fees, low interest, and high rewards earning rate. Other excellent cash back cards for students include:
Bank of America’s Cash Rewards Card
The Bank of America cash back cards offer up to 3.5% cash back on everyday purchases. The higher cash back rewards are generally offered on groceries, dining out and travel. Certain cards offer additional flexibility and allow you to choose which category of purchases receive the highest cash back reward amount. How much could you earn? If you charge $1,500 a month in monthly expenses, you could earn over $600 per year at the highest reward level.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Card
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card you earn 1.5% cash back on everything, and 3% on certain everyday purchases like dining out and up to 5% on travel and gas purchases. Plus, you can get bonus rewards for hitting $500 in spending within the first 3 months of opening the account. In addition, the card carries no annual fee and offers a 0% interest rate on purchases and balance transfers. Accumulated cash rewards can be used towards future purchases, to pay balances or can be directly deposited in most U.S. checking or savings accounts.
Citi CashReturns Card
With the Citi CustomCash Card you earn 1% cash back on all of your purchases with a $200 cashback bonus after spending $750 within the first 3 months after opening the account. In addition, you can earn 5% back on an eligible spend category of your choosing, on up to $500 in monthly expenditures.
The Bottom Line
Think of these rebate programs as a scholarship for your student loans. These programs can work to save you money as long you don’t go out of your way to make purchases you wouldn’t normally make.