Like every person who’s planning to attend college or already a student, you’re probably looking to save money where you can.
College is expensive, we all know that.
If you’re planning to start college or are currently a student, a graduate, or are a parent who wants help saving for their child’s education, then you might want to check out Upromise.
It’s a loyalty program aimed at college students.
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In this Upromise review, we’re going to give you an overview of what the company is, how it works, and whether it’s worth joining.
What is Upromise?
Here at MoneyPantry, we often talk about rewards/loyalty programs.
And that’s because, for the most part, they work!
If you are already spending money, then you may as well get something back from it.
And that’s exactly what rewards programs offer. They reward you when you spend money.
This program is interesting because, as we mentioned above, it’s focus is on college students and parents of college students.
So, not only does it reward you, but it also helps you to save for college.
How it works
So, now you know what UP is, you’re probably wondering, how does it work?
Put simply, when you spend money, the company will give you cashback.
Here a more detailed overview…
The first step is to register for an account with the company.
This is easy. Just, visit https://www.upromise.com/.
Then, enter your first name, last name and email address to join.
It’s pretty simple.
Once you’re registered, you can start earning cash back from the company’s partners.
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One of the best aspects of the company is the variety of things it allows you to claim cashback for.
Here’s what you can earn on:
The company has partnered with more than 850 stores to offer cashback.
Here’s how to get cashback by shopping online:
- Step 1: Login to your account, and visit the shopping page on Upromise.com, and you can get 5% cashback on your purchases.
- Step 2: You can either enter the retailer or product you’re interested in into the search bar, or you can just browse all of the company’s online shopping partners.
- Step 3: Once you find the retailer you’re interested in, click on it, and you’ll be taken to its website. So, if you click on Macy’s, then you’ll be taken to the Macy’s website.
- Step 4: Once there, just make your purchase like you normally would.
Because you were logged into your UP account, and used its online shopping links, the company’s partners reward you for your purchases.
It’s not just online shopping that you can get cashback from. The program also gives you cashback at restaurants.
You get 2.5% cashback on your total bill. Handily enough, this includes tax and tip.
There are more than 10,000 participating restaurant locations as well, so there are plenty of places to choose from.
Here’s how getting cashback at restaurants works:
- Step 1: Register a credit or debit card with UP.
- Step 2: Go out to eat, order takeout or purchase gift certificates at a participating restaurant location.
- Step 3: Make sure you use the card you registered to pay.
- Step 4: Then, you earn 2.5% cashback.
You don’t need to let the restaurant know you’re a member to receive this cashback either. All you need to do is pay with your registered card.
Visit this page to view participating restaurants near you.
Another really great aspect of the program is that it allows you to get cashback on your travel too.
You’ll get cashback when you book hotels through the program’s travel partners.
- Step 1: Login to your UP account.
- Step 2: On the UP website, click on the travel partner or offer that you’re interested it.
- Step 3: At this stage, you’ll be taken to that partner’s website. When there, just book your trip.
- Step 4: You’ll earn 5% cashback.
You can learn more about earning rewards for traveling here.
Grocery Shopping and Drug Store Items
Another great aspect of the program is that, as a member, you can get cashback on grocery shopping and drugstore items.
- Step 1: Login to your UP account and register your grocery and drug store loyalty cards.
- Step 2: Then, visit the company’s eCoupon offers page.
- Step 3: When you see coupons you’re interested in, just activate them, and they’ll be stored on your loyalty cards.
- Step 4: Next, shop at a participating grocery or drug store partner.
- Step 5: When you pay, scan your card, and you’ll earn cashback.
You can check out participating retailers here.
How to redeem your Upromise rewards
As you can see, there are so many places where you can get some of your money back – whether you want to book a hotel for weekend getaway or need to stock up at the grocery store.
So, now you know where you can get cashback, you’re probably wondering, how can you use your rewards?
Well, one of the good things about program is that you can use them in a few different ways.
Primarily though, the program e is designed to help you to save for college and pay off student loans.
Here’s how you can redeem your cashback:
1. Put your Earnings into a College Savings Plan
This is such a good idea, as it gives you a great way to save for college, without having to take money from elsewhere, like from the wages you earn at your part-time job for example.
With Upromise, there are two college savings options:
- Upromise GoalSaver Account
- 529 Plans
Upromise GoalSaver Account
- You can open at GoalSaver account here.
This account is free, and there are no monthly fees and no minimum balance involved. This makes it a good account for college students who are looking to save.
The GoalSaver account is a high yield savings account. You can set saving goals and track them. According to the company, this account offers a competitive Annual Percentage Yield (APY).
Any cashback you earn can be transferred directly to your GoalSaver account.
What’s interesting, and probably one of the main benefits of getting the GoalSaver account, is that it also gives you additional cash rewards as you save. For example, you get a 10% match on UP earnings.
And, also get other rewards, like an annual bonus and loyalty bonuses and milestone rewards. This helps to give your savings a boost.
Another great benefit to this account is that you can save multiple goals and track them.
This can help you to see how you’re progressing towards your goals. This, in turn, helps to keep you motivated to save.
And, finally, you can set up automatic deposits, and the account is FDIC-insured.
- You can open 529 account here.
A 529 college savings plan is a tax-advantaged savings program. They are designed to help plan and save for future higher education expenses of a beneficiary, like a child or a grandchild.
As a member of the program, you can put your cashback earnings into a 529 plan account and grow your savings.
Here’s how it works:
- First, you’ll need to open an 529 plan sponsored by your home state or by another state.
- Then, contribute to the account.
- Finally, link or transfer your UP account into your 529 account. When you link a 529 account, your UP funds are automatically transferred.
Not all 529 plans are eligible for linking. If that’s the case with your account, then just request a check from UP and then transfer your earnings directly into your 529 plan account.
With the GoalSaver account, and the 529 Plans account, you can get your UP cashback sent over automatically.
But, you can also transfer your cashback to other account types, including:
- Coverdell ESAs
- and Custodial Accounts (UGMA/UTMA).
The only difference is, with those account types you can’t link them and get automatic transfers.
However, you can request a check and contribute your cashback earnings directly to those accounts, and to any other savings account you’d like.
So, this makes Upromise a very flexible rewards program.
2. Pay down your Student Loan
Whether you’re currently attending college or have already graduated, you can use your cashback rewards to pay down your student loans.
Here’s how it works:
- Join the program.
- Link your student loans with your UP account.
- Earn cashback for the things we mentioned above, like shopping online and dining out.
- Then, your cashback earnings are automatically transferred to help you to pay down your loan.
3. Request a Check
Sometimes we have expenses like gas, food, college supplies and the general cost of living essentials to contend with.
In that case, you might not want to put your cashback into a savings account or use it to pay down debts.
So, that’s why it’s great that the company gives you the option to request a check instead.
Of course, you could deposit the check into a savings account or student loan account that you can’t link to UP for automatic deposits.
So, getting your cashback rewards on a check gives you a lot of flexibility.
You need to have at least $10 in your account to make a check request. Just request a check by the end of the month and it will be mailed out to you during the next month.
If you’re withdrawing less than $1,000, then you can submit the check request online, which is handy.
However, if the amount you’re requesting is more than $1,000, then you’ll need to print the check request, and have it notarized, or obtain a Signature Guarantee. Then, you need to send it to the company.
You can find out more about requesting a check, and where to send a check request to if you’re withdrawing more than $1,000, here.
Is Upromise worth it?
As you can see the company offers tons of ways for you to save and earn money, and pay down your student loans.
It really is a well-rounded rewards program.
So, should you join?
Let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of Upromise:
First of all, let’s look at the pros.
Firstly, the program gives you cashback on a much wider range of things than most loyalty programs do. For example, the ones you get from grocery store limit you to earning cashback solely at groceries from that particular chain.
Similarly, loyalty programs from restaurants limit you to earning cashback just on dining at that specific restaurant chain.
Secondly, it’s super easy to get cashback through the program. To get cashback online, you don’t have to enter any codes. Simply go through the UP website, shop as you normally would, and you’ll get cashback.
Getting money back for dining is just as simple too. At the restaurant, you don’t have to hand over a special loyalty card, or give them a code. You can pay using your regular debit or credit card, and still get cashback.
Overall, this is a super easy way to earn money back every time you spend.
Downside to Upromise
To be honest, there aren’t really many cons to joining UP.
The only one is that linkable savings accounts are limited.
Aside from the GoalSaver account, which is from Sallie Mae the bank behind Upromise and some 529 plans, not all savings accounts, can be linked to your account with UP.
This means that if you have a different savings account, then you won’t be able to set up an automatic transfer of your cashback to your savings account.
Of course, as we mentioned above, you can request a check and then transfer it directly to your UP account.
However, this is more time-consuming.
That’s really it though.
So, Good or Bad?
Based on the evidence and reviews from other users, It’s safe to say that you should join Upromise.
Anyone who is currently a student or a graduate looking to pay down their student loan debt can really benefit from it.
You don’t have to do anything other than shop a you normally would, and you’ll make progress towards saving for college or paying down debts.
Sure, since cashback is around 5%, you’re not going to pay your debts off, or save enough through UP cashback alone.
But, it’s certainly a great way to supplement college savings and loan repayments. It’s basically like getting free money for college.
As you can see from this review, Upromise is a well-rounded rewards program that any college student, graduate, or parent looking to save for their child’s future education can benefit from.
I highly recommend you sign up and enjoy all the benefits that Upromise offers.