Upromise is one of the more underrated options out there. Personally, I still haven’t got the card because I am dazzled by the lofty signup bonuses of other options, but its time to admit that it is worth going for, and look a bit further into the program.
I’ve already written a lengthy review of how Upromise works, so will save the waffle for now and focus on the good, bad and ugly.
Upromise shopping portal tends to offer 5% cash back on pretty much anything I am looking for. Most people don’t go for it because they think Upromise = the money must go into a 529 plan. This isn’t true. Repeat after me. Upromise is cash back.
You have 3 main ways to redeem
- Fund a 529 plan (don’t bother)
- Fund a savings account (reasonable enough)
- Request a Check (that’s hard to argue with)
The 529 option isn’t worth it to me. 529 plans do offer value and are great funding vehicles, but if you are tracking them for state deductions, or for overall basis then you don’t want to be messing around with odd lot payments. Just take your cash in real money and load in rounded dollar amounts to your college planning. Same thing applies for the Fidelity Amex and the option to fund a 529 or an IRA. Just take the damn cash back and invest cleanly. You’ll thank me in years to come when you are asked to explain where it all came from.
Savings Account 10% bonus
Worth it? Maybe… and more so if you have the Upromise card too. The credit card stacks with the online shopping so you can earn 10% online. And then anything you transfer into the savings account gets a 10% annual bonus. The catch? $5000 min balance in order to qualify. At 0.80% it isn’t that bad on the surface, but there are better options out there, up to 5% APR.
If we compare $5000 @ 5% we are looking at an annual interest payment of $255.81. The 0.8% rate creates $40.15 so you have a deficit of $215.66 to make up. That means that your first $2150.60 of annual earned cash back is a wash, and you need to gather more than that in order to profit. Frankly, that’s not so easy to achieve for the average person, especially when we note that can take up to 6 months to be paid out from Upromise. Either option sadly kick the backside of the guys on the high street offering around 0.1% or less in APR.
Edit – per Alonso in the comments, you can get the match with just a $25 monthly deposit – so its actually pretty good!
Upromise online shopping coupled with the Upromise credit card will often be the most generous cash back portal for online shopping. Even if you don’t want to get the credit card, you should remember that it is not necessary to fund 529s or savings accounts with the cashback, you can just request a check. Be prepared for long waits… but eventually they tend to pay out, unless you are doing something fruity to game the system….