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Save an extra 5% at over 150 stores with the Slide cash-back app

It's like free money. This new twist on the old cash-back model can yield added savings on many purchases.

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There's yet another way to get cash back when you shop online and in stores.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I try to use at least one cash-back tool wherever I shop. That includes not only a cash-back credit card, but also some kind of service that piles on extra savings. Recently I found a pretty great one: Slide, a relatively new cash-back service that can save you as much as 5% per transaction. It works with over 150 retail and online stores, including Apple, eBay, Instacart, Lowe's and Petco.

To get started with Slide, you first connect a payment method -- Apple Pay, PayPal, credit card or debit card -- to the Slide app. When you're ready to make a purchase, you use Slide to purchase a gift card in the amount you need. Then you pay for the item or items using the gift card.

Doing that earns you 4% cash back. However, if you add funds prior to that process, Slide immediately gives you 1% back, effectively bumping your total savings to 5%.

So, let's use Apple as an example. Say you've decided to buy an unlocked iPhone SE for $399. Here's how you'd go about that using Slide:

  • Head to the Apple site (or even a brick-and-mortar Apple store) and add the iPhone to your cart. Proceed as far as checkout, where you'll see the total price (including tax).
  • In the Slide app, search for Apple and choose Apple Gift Card.
  • Enter the total purchase amount, in this case $399 plus tax. (Note that Slide doesn't allow Apple Gift Card purchases larger than $500, so if you're buying something more expensive, you might have to do multiple cards.)
  • Slide instantly generates a digital gift card. Now simply use that card to make your purchase. Done!

This is, of course, a bit different from traditional cash-back tools like Dosh (which links directly to your credit card) and Rakuten (which tracks your purchases). For one thing, you're getting a flat 4% back at every store, or 5% if you added funds in advance. For another, you can easily double-dip if your paired payment method offers rewards of its own.

Read more: Surprising ways to get cash back without even trying, from your credit card and more

For example, if your credit card gives you 2% back at restaurants and you use Slide for a meal at, say, Chipotle, you're getting an extra 4% (or 5%) on top of that.

Take note, however, that if you need to return something (like the aforementioned iPhone), you can't get a refund on the gift card itself. Be sure to read Slide's help-desk page regarding returns and refunds. I've also found that although the gift card purchase process is pretty quick and painless, I usually don't bother when making small purchases. To me it's not worth the hassle to save 50 cents on a $10 pizza.

But I was very glad to have Slide in my pocket for a recent bigger-ticket item I bought from Lowe's. When you're able to save $10, $15 or the like with just a few taps, it feels pretty good.

Want to learn more about the service? We interviewed company CEO Jay Klauminzer in this episode of the Cheapskate Show podcast, embedded below.

Read moreThe best cash-back services for 2021


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