Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First Impressions: Cashback/Deal Sites Envaulted and Offermatic

How would you like to get an additional 1% cash back on all your credit card purchases without having to do any differently?  How about getting targeted offers from retailers you already frequent for things like $5 cash back for spending $50 at Trader Joe's?  If these sound intriguing to you two new services you might want to check out are Envaulted and Offermatic.

First, a couple of introductory pieces to familiarize yourself with these services.  Yesterday, TechCrunch called Envaulted A Cashback Program on Steroids. In a nutshell they give you 1% cash back on all your credit card purchases above and beyond what you're already receiving from your credit card company.  Offermatic is somewhat similar in that they offer rewards but they also offer Groupon-like deals targeted depending on your spending patterns.  Check out this blog post on How Mint.com, Groupon, and a burrito led to the founding of Offermatic.

Sound too good to be true?

Well, all of these sites depend on your providing them with the login information for your credit card so the first concern we'll all rightfully raise is privacy.  But I think a lot of people will get past that quickly.  Here's why...

A lot of people have already signed up for services like upromise or mint.com that allow third parties access to their credit card data.  Once you're comfortable with one service gaining access to your spending patterns it's not too difficult to justify another - especially when the value proposition of the service is so compelling.

And for me the services are compelling for the way they promise to effortlessly reward you for using the service -and/or- provide truly meaningfully targeted offers that are easy to sift through, consider, and make use of.  I've been using upromise for about 5 years now and I've netted over $2,200.  Not too shabby, but most of it came from large transactions initiated through their site.  Things like mortgage refinancing yielded large one-time payments that took considerable chasing on my part to see to closure.

The primary advantage services like Offermatic and Envaulted offer over some others is the ease with which we interact with them.  To take advantage of one of Offermatic's deals you only need to click "redeem".  If you spend your money at that merchant in the future your credit card will automatically be credited.  Envaulted is even more straightforward.  1% cash back on all purchases with higher percentages offered for certain retailers.

I signed up for both last night and I was impressed with how easily it all went.  In just a few minutes I signed up for both services, linked my three credit cards, they looked at my purchase history and offered deals and credited my account based on some amount of spending prior to enrolling in the service.

This stuff might not seem like a big deal (no pun intended) but it kind of is a big deal.  If avoiding recurring charges is a fundamental tenet of personal financial success then putting yourself in situations where you stand to effortlessly receive a stream of payments is just the opposite.  The only risk, then, is that you have the discipline to avoid offers you otherwise wouldn't take advantage of.

Offermatic has a deal where you can get points for referring friends.  Here's my unique link code if you're interested in signing up:


Further Reading: Upromise is a somewhat-similar service that's been around for a while that helps you save for college.

Have you signed up for either of these services?  How's it going for you?  Any questions on how it's going for me so far?  Any other similar services like this I should consider?  Leave a comment or drop me an E-mail: robert.paul.dwyer@gmail.com
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