Recently I was asked how I was able to remember all of the passwords for all of the accounts I have. As members of the Mobile Money Nation know, I review a lot of different financial accounts, most of which I actually open accounts with to test out their app first hand. Trying to create different passwords for each site, that are difficult to guess, yet easy to remember, would be nearly impossible if I relied just on my memory.
Saving my passwords in a notebook, sticky note, or in a note app on my phone wouldn't cut it either. That's a potential security and privacy nightmare. These could be easily stolen by someone eventually, giving access to all of my accounts. With all of these financial accounts, email addresses, and the 10s to 100s of apps that many of us use on our smartphones, a password manager is essential!
Create Your "Last" Pass Word!
I started using LastPass about 5 years ago. With several email addresses, financial accounts for myself as well as my family, and a parent who has trouble remembering their passwords as well, it was getting overwhelming to try to remember every password without using the same password over and over again.
With LastPass all you have to remember is ONE PASSWORD. That is the password you use to login to the LastPass website, application on iOS & Android, or when using the extension in Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari. Once you're logged in you can access passwords for all of the websites and applications you use. You can even leave notes for yourself in the Secure Notes vault. Use this if you need to save any special instructions related to a particular website, credit card numbers, wifi passwords, or even for contingency planning if needed. Pretty much anything that you used to use a sticky note for, this is the area where you can save this information.
What's even better is you can use LastPass to create stronger passwords. Since you won't necessarily need to remember your passwords anymore, you can use their randomizer to make longer harder to guess passwords, that meet all of the criteria of most websites these days...as far as the length, special characters, and number requirements of the password you create.
LastPass Premium Account is just $3 per month, billed annually for $36 a year. This allows you to store an unlimited amount of passwords for every account you have. Think about all of the email accounts, websites, apple ID, Android logins, social media accounts, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, work logins, doctor or other health account logins, retirement accounts, your kids or parents accounts, your spouses accounts, grandparents, and whatever or whoever else I may be forgetting. In fact take a quick scroll through to see all of the apps installed on your smartphone. That's a lot of passwords to remember! And you can't just make your password "PASSWORD" and expect to survive in this almost totally digital economy with hackers working 24/7 to find an easy target.
Tired of typing your name, shipping address, billing address, phone number, email, and other information into fields online whenever you're signing up for a new service, making an order, or setting up a new account? You can safely save default information that you'll use over and over again into the form fill section of LastPass. This can include credit card information if you don't like to setup new accounts for online retailers every time you shop online, or fill out a survey. Just setup your form fill, and you're just a few clicks away from filling in all of this information instantly. If you're an online shopaholic...maybe this is a bad idea! You may not want to be able to get to checkout that fast!
The Security Challenge section is an area that can help you with increasing the security of all of the accounts that are saved in LastPass. LastPass can analyze the complexity of individual passwords, as well as let you know if you've used the same password too many times across multiple accounts. If someone were to figure out your password for one account, they would definitely try that same password to try and login into any other accounts they're able to find. With Security breaches happening essentially all the time now in this digital world, your password could have been stolen from one of the many websites you log into, and then sold on the dark web. Just search on your favorite search engine for the phrase "recent security (or data or privacy) breaches" and you'll certainly find one related to an account you use! PrivacyRights.org is also an excellent source to keep up with recent breaches.
A great feature with the Security Challenge section is that if you do have a lot of overlap, or a lot of passwords that are easy for hackers to guess, you can run the Security Challenge and receive a score on how susceptible you may be based on your password choices. Then you can change the passwords to all, or most of your online accounts in one click! You will get a list of recommended changes for: Compromised Sites, Weak Passwords, Reused Passwords, and Old Passwords which have not been changed in a long time. With some of the websites you will have the option to select a checkbox for those sites, and let LastPass change the passwords on all of those site in one click by running a script it uses for those sites. If LastPass has any issues changing the passwords, or if the sites show up in the list of sites they're unable to automatically change, just click on the "launch site" button. This will allow you to go to each site manually and change the password. Now that your'e using LastPass, I would recommend just using the random password generator since you won't ever need to remember anything other than the password to log into the LastPass app and Browser Extension.
LastPass Family Plan makes it easy for families to share passwords, either on a permanent basis, or emergency basis. With the Family Plan, you can have up to 6 Total users all for just $4 a month! Each user has their own login to LastPass, so you don't have to share your main login password with each family member if you were all using the same account in the past. One of the issues you would run into if you were to use the regular premium account with multiple people, on multiple devices, is that you may be asked to login into LastPass again. But also with multiple people needing to remember the same password, it's much easier to just have a different password for each individual user. You as one user will already have multiple devices you have to account for, so don't add more by sharing one Premium Account! For desktop/laptop use, LastPass essentially gives a specific device in a specific location access for 30 days. You can name the device as well, that way if you need to check login history to ensure no one has access to your account that shouldn't, you will be able know because you may be asked to verify your login via email. You can also setup the LastPass Authenticator app, or a 3rd party App like the Google Authenticator, to use as two factor authentication (2FA). I personally use the Google Authenticator app, but this is more because I was already using this app for access to other websites and applications prior to starting the use of LastPass. Using the LastPass Authenticator is much more efficient, because it will automatically recognize the LastPass Authenticator which can be setup for push notifications. With Google Authenticator you'll need to open this app separately, then enter the current code into your browser or phone in order to authenticate your login session. You won't need to do this on a regular basis, only if you log into LastPass from an unrecognized device or location.
In addition to having access for 5 additional users for just $1 more than the premium account, the main feature that stands out for the Family Plan is Sharing passwords. If there are certain logins that you want all, or just some, of your family to have access to, you can setup Sharing Folders for those accounts. Passwords related to your finances, taxes, medical, insurance, or even just entertainment accounts can be shared with the whole family or just certain members. You can even setup a folder for your kids email or social media accounts. Or maybe a folder for that forgetful family member, or non-tech savvy family member you're always helping with online activities. It's definitely worth the extra $1 per month to get all of your family's password lives in order, instead of keeping all of this information in your head or on a sheet of paper that others can easily access.
So for any of you out there who need help keeping up with your passwords, or want an easy to use tool to keep your passwords safe, and make them more difficult for snoopers to guess and use, checkout LastPass Premium or LastPass Family. It's been a really useful product for me. If you have any questions about the product, my experience, or you would like to share your experience, be sure to let me know in the comments below!
The iBotta App is a receipt based cash back app, which gives you cash back when you purchase specific items at specific stores, and then upload your receipt to claim the cash back. Usually I prefer using cash back apps which do not require you to upload receipts, but I did want to take some time to review this app since it could be a great way to earn cash back in addition to my favorite automated options as part of a cash back stacking strategy.
Ways to Earn Cash Back
How do you earn cash back with iBotta? iBotta has partnered with several retailers to offer cash back when you upload your receipts to their app. You receive cash back when you purchase specific items offered within the app. Cash back can range from a 10 cents to a few dollars for one item. There are some items you can purchase which end up being free once you claim the cash back within the iBotta App. In my experience these are typically new products, or a new version of a product that companies are trying to sell.
Some of the most popular retailers and grocery stores are available in the app, including: Walmart, Target, Costco, Sam's Club, Kroger, Publix, Aldi's, Whole Foods, and many many more. Click on the name of your retailer of choice, then check for the available cash back offers at each store. Some stores may offer different items than others, but many of the cash back offers are the same for all stores. However also keep in mind that just because the offer is available at the store you choose in the app, this does not mean that your local store necessarily carries the specific item being offered. When I first signed up for iBotta, there was a new Campbell's soup which was offering an over $2 cash back offer, which essentially made the cost of the soup free. However I checked with 3 of the Publix's in my area, and none of them sold the specific flavor of Soup listed in the cash back offer. I did however find it at my local WalMart. It may be possible to check this with the individual stores using their apps, before you actually go shopping in order to know what you will purchase before you get to the store. For those of you who make a list before grocery shopping, include walking through the iBotta app with your normal list creation activities to maximize use of the app.
Lets start with the easiest way to earn cash back, and that's with the "Any Item" item list. This allows you to earn cash back for buying generic everyday items like bananas, apples, cheese, diapers, or whatever is being offered at the time. Typically for the Any Item list iBotta may ask you to watch a short video or take a short survey to activate the Any Item option, and then these cash back options can be used to receive cash back at any of the available stores within the app. No matter the brand of the item, as long as you make a purchase in that category you will be credited for cash back.
For the rest of the items available in the app, you can search by category, or look at the list of What's Hot, New Offers, or Best Value! I like to check the Best Value list first to see where I can maximize on my cash back, then I scroll through the full list of offers within the particular store I am planning to shop at. Once you start to use the app on a regular basis, then you can just look at the New Offers to save yourself some time, as well as the Buy it Again section for items you purchase on a regular basis. This way you don't have to scroll through all of the possible cash back items each time you open the app. This is a huge time saver!
Once you've added all of the offers you would like to purchase at your local store, you can then take a look at the "Your List" section to view all of the cash back offers you have marked within the app for that particular store. If you already have your general shopping list, you can use this as a secondary shopping list to ensure you actually purchase all of the items you are going to receive cash back from when you shop.
Once you've made all of your purchases, all you have to do is go to the "Redeem" section at on the bottom row of the app, select the store, then take a photo of your receipt within the app to upload it and claim your cash back offers. The app should recognize your purchases from the receipt, but if not you will be asked to scan the specific product you purchased for proof of purchase. I have messed up in the past by buying the wrong product, whether it was due to being the wrong size or wrong flavored item. Be sure to double check these specifics before purchasing.
With some retailers there is an automated option to receive credit for your cash back offers! Two stores I have personally used are Publix and Target. With both options you have to already have or create an account with those specific stores, then link that account to the iBotta app. This way when you use those store apps to make purchases, the purchases will also link to iBotta for recognition of your purchases without the need to upload a receipt. I like to use these options when I can, that way I don't have to worry about forgetting to upload my receipts after I get home. Any way I can find to automate things of this nature, I take advantage of to ensure I get every cash back offer I can with the individual stores as well as with iBotta!
Earn More With Bonuses:
In addition to the individual cash back offers, iBotta offers Bonus offers. These bonuses can be related to purchasing multiple of a specific product, having a streak of purchases at a particular store, or reaching a specific dollar amount of cash back offer claims within a particular time period. These help to boost your cash back offers when you use the iBotta app on a consistent basis. You can even join forces with your friends and family you invite to use the iBotta app, and they will be included in your Teamwork section of your Account. As a team you can earn Level 1-4 bonuses.
Categories of stores you can shop at include: Grocery, online shopping, clothing, health & beauty, restaurants, travel, home and auto, entertainment, and much more. You can even Pay with iBotta.
With the Pay with iBotta feature, you can literally use the iBotta app to pay for purchases. The same way you would with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal. Just check the Pay with iBotta section to see which stores provide automatic cash back when you use the iBotta app to pay. You can sort from alphabetical order or by stores which provide the most cash back. You can also make a list of favorites so you can easily see how much cash back you can earn, or search by category when you're getting ready to make a purchase. Cash back can range from as low as half a percent up to as high as 10%. This is in addition to any cash back you can receive when you use their cash back offers for individual products, so don't forget to upload your receipts to receive the additional cash back.
However there is one downside to using the Pay with iBotta feature, and that is the fact that all purchases are final! You cannot return items and receive it back on your credit card, because technically your payment method is the iBotta App. So if you plan to use this feature, maybe using it for an item you know there is a potential for you to return is not a good idea. You may be able to receive store credit or a gift card at some retailers for items purchased using the Pay with iBotta feature. This return problem does not apply to the normal purchases you make with your actual credit card when you receive cash back from iBotta, just to the Pay with iBotta feature within the app. So if you actually physically swipe your card at the retailer, and just upload your receipt to iBotta for the individual cash back offers, then this rule does not apply.
Make a List, Check It Twice!
Despite all of the great options and ways to use the iBotta app to earn cash back, I don't always fully take advantage of these features. I'm more of a spontaneous shopper when it comes to groceries, and I don't always remember to check the app to activate the individual cash back offers. This is why I prefer the automated cash back apps, where I just receive credit automatically whenever I use my credit card. However if you take the time to check the iBotta App and activate these offers, you can earn a lot of cash back!
Do you use the iBotta App? If not be sure to use a link in this post to get started today! If you already use the app, let us know which store is your favorite, which store you get the most value from in combination with the iBotta app, and which stores you use the Pay with iBotta feature if you use it at all. Pretty much let us know your experience with this app!
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, provides cashback when shopping in-store at certain restaurants and retailers, through their mobile app, or using the browser extension on your laptop or desktop computer to make online purchases. Rakuten is maybe the most popular cash back app available, and certainly has the widest selection of online stores to choose from. Rakuten bought out Ebates which is also one of the oldest cash back Apps around.
How Do I Earn Cash Back?
The Dosh App is a Cash Back App which provides cashback when using your credit or debit card via in store purchases, purchases within the Dosh App, as well as via online purchases on your laptop or desktop! When using a Debit Card you must make a credit card transaction, meaning not to use your pin number. Otherwise transactions won't be recognized. The reason it does not work with debit transactions is because Dosh, like many cash back apps, works through the credit card processing company. Debit transactions go straight to the bank instead of a credit card processor. But with Dosh every purchase doesn't need to start within the app to receive credit! Any "Online Offer" listed in the app will receive credit from Dosh once they receive confirmation of the transaction from the credit card processor, and you don't have to start your transaction from within the Dosh App. All of their "Online Offers" are stores where you receive cash back automatically! Receiving cash back can take up to 30 to 45 days before it is available for withdrawal. The reason it COULD take this long is to ensure items are not returned, as this is a typical return period for most retail stores. Your cash back may continue to show as "pending" during this time period.
If you use a car, which most Americans do, then this app is for you! GetUpside provides you with cashback for all of your gas purchases. Every time you get ready to fill up your gas tank, pop open the GetUpside App to check for the Cashback offers near your location. You can view the nearest participating gas stations, the price of gas at these stations, and how much cashback GetUpside will pay YOU per gallon for using a particular gas station. After you first signup you will receive a bonus of 15 cents cashback per gallon when using code FAB72. With the average gas tank taking over 15 gallons to fill, that's about $2.25 back on your first use! Just claim the offer via the app when you're headed to the gas station, and fill up your tank using your credit card during the claim period. After filling up, take a photo of the receipt and upload it in the app, and within a few hours or days receive cashback for your gas purchase! Yes, it's that simple! You do have to use a credit or debit card for your purchases, even though you do not have to link a credit/debit card in the application. Cash and prepaid debit/credit cards are not accepted. If you choose, you can also link your credit card to the application that way you don't have to upload your receipts, but this is not a requirement. For those who like to automate things, this is a great option for you.
After your initial purchase the cashback offer will vary. I've seen as little as 1 cent up to 20 cents as the cashback offer, depending on your area. Larger cities seem to have the better cashback deals since there's more gas station competition. You must purchase your gas, and upload your receipt during the claim period. Claim periods are set for 4 hours. It may be beneficial in some cases, to claim the offer prior to going to the gas station, in case you see an offer that is higher than normal. The amount of cash back provided per gallon will change from day to day, so if you use the same gas station often you may start to recognize a pattern. If you invite a friend to use the GetUpside app, you receive the same 15 cents per gallon bonus every time a friend signs up! In addition to the initial bonus, you also receive 1 cent per gallon for every future gas purchase your friends make! This can add up over time, especially if you have friends who commute a lot or go on road trips often.
I'm Cashin' Out!
The Drop Rewards App. Within this app you have two ways to gain cashback. You can connect your credit card to automatically receive cashback when you shop in-store or online using their Power Offers Power Offers are pre-selected stores where you ALWAYS receive cashback. As a new user you can only have 2 Power Offers for automatic cashback. I was able to select Chipotle and Starbucks as my preferred Power Offer options. The 2nd way to earn cash back is to shop within their app making ad hoc purchases with the available stores in the app. (name some stores) If you prefer using a laptop or desktop to shop, for the larger screen, you can email links to yourself to ensure you get the referral when shopping on your computer!
AJ Mobile Money
Husband | Father | YouTuber | Former ATLien
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