5 sources of free cash for student loans
You can work hard to set aside money from your paycheck to pay off your student loans, but you can also shop to pay off your student loans.
One way is to use cashback programs that directly deposit the money you earn from purchase rebates into your student loan account every quarter. You can also use the cashback credit cards that can help you save money to make extra payments on your student loan.
Two paid websites
Below, we review some of the best websites that allow you to earn money from your purchases and help you pay off your student loan.
UPromise: shop your way for loan discounts
The UPromise website is known for helping moms and dads save for college by shopping online and in person at thousands of stores across the country. You can get your remittances deposited quarterly as a payment on a Sallie Mae student loan, or send it to you as a check, which you can use to pay off student loans. This website offers the most ways to save, as you have in-person options at grocery stores and restaurants, in addition to shopping online.
Here’s an example to show you how the savings add up. Let’s say you sign up for the dining program and go out twice a month for $40 each time. You earn 8% from every purchase. Then you buy a pair of shoes for $60 with a 10% discount. You just earned $12.40 on your student loans from purchases you were going to make anyway. That’s over $100 a year of free money that could be used for your student loans.
Of course, if you spend more, you will save more. Plus, you can get grocery savings on select items, which will also increase your student loan repayment bonus.
Rakuten: Rebate Program
Rakuten is a rebate program that gives you a percentage off online purchases but is not deposited into a student loan account. However, you can use the money to repay your loans.
To get these discounts, go to the e-bates section of their website and log in to your account when you want to make purchases. Then you click on the store of your choice. As long as you earn at least $5.01 during three months, you will receive a payout.
This is a highly reputable site with 4 out of 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 with no annual fee that goes beyond just getting cashback on your purchases. Some credit cards offer bonuses for purchases on their websites or cash bonuses on top of your cashback earnings. To maintain your credit score, only apply for the credit card that you think will be best for you.
Among all the rewards cards available in today’s market, the Capital One Quicksilver credit card is the best card for cashback due to its low fees, low interest, and high rewards earning rate. Other great cashback cards for students include:
Bank of America Cash Rewards Card
Bank of America cashback cards offer up to 3.5% cashback on everyday purchases. The highest cashback rewards are generally offered for groceries, restaurants, and travel. Some cards offer additional flexibility and allow you to choose the purchase category that receives the highest amount of cashback. How much could you earn? If you charge $1,500 per month in monthly expenses, you could earn over $600 per year at the highest reward tier.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Card
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, you earn 1.5% cashback on everything, plus 3% on select everyday purchases like dining out and up to 5% on travel and gas purchases. Additionally, you can get bonus rewards for reaching $500 in spend within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, the card has no annual fee and offers 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers. Cash rewards accrued can be used for future purchases, to pay off balances, or can be directly deposited into most US checking or savings accounts.
Citi Cash Return Card
With the Citi CustomCash card, you earn 1% cashback on all purchases with a $200 cashback bonus after spending $750 within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, you can earn 5% on an eligible spend category of your choice, up to $500 in monthly spending.
Think of these repayment programs as a grant for your student loans. These programs can work to save you money as long as you don’t go out of your way to make purchases that you normally wouldn’t.