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UPromise Review: Free & Automatic College Savings

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UpromiseUpromise is a college savings program that costs absolutely nothing to join and gives you rewards when you make purchases anywhere. That’s right, anywhere. You don’t have to buy anything through them to earn rewards. Open an account, register your credit cards and loyalty cards, such as a buyer’s card at a grocery store, and you can earn money towards college or student loans when you go about your business.

What’s the catch?

No catch, I’ve been a member for years, having joined when I took advantage of some UPromise promotion codes for free money. It does seem a little too good to be true right? I linked up my Giant (a local grocery store) card and now I earn money without having to change anything about my routine. There is no catch, you can even withdraw the funds from your account by sending them this withdrawal form, though I haven’t done this yet (I don’t anticipate I will).

Linking family and friends: You can invite your friends to join and contribute to your educational cause. When they join, they can link their cards to your account so that you earn rewards based on their spending, as if it were your own.

How do they earn money? Through the UPromise website, you can earn higher percentages when you purchase products on the UPromise site. They have partnerships with various stores that offer higher percentage contributions if you purchase through the site. For example, if you visit the UPromise website, you’ll see that you can get TurboTax Deluxe for $49.99 and earn 2% towards college. When you make that purchase, Intuit probably pays UPromise a commission, part of which they turn around and give to you as a reward. Speaking of the website, they run occasional promotions where you can get bonus percentages on certain months. If you look at the website right now, there’s a 2% bonus on top of the regular bonus if you buy something at Lancome, ProFlowers, or Sears. They may pay you a percentage, but they collect a greater one from the stores. Since you would otherwise get nothing from the store, this is a win-win for everyone involved.

In the end, it’s free money for me and little risk involved, which is why I do it. Since I’m not swayed by the site (I haven’t visited it in several months) or the marketing, I really give up nothing by being a member.

Do you have any UPromise success or horror stories you’d like to share? I’ve only had a good experience with UPromise so I don’t know what could be bad about it.

{ 19 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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19 Responses to “UPromise Review: Free & Automatic College Savings”

  1. How old do you have to be to join? So far I have not been able to join any of these types of sites because I am under 10. :(

    Thanks,
    Nate

  2. Correction: I am under 18 NOT 10. Maybe I should reread my comments BEFORE I post them. :)

    Sorry,
    Nate

  3. Michelle says:

    Jim, what is the account ownership on the account (as in parent’s or child’s name)? With multiple children, do you need separate accounts or are the funds available to anyone in the family?

  4. I have had nothing but good experiences with them, of course I just logged on for the first time in two months… I only have like $20 in there but all I have done is linked my main CC and my shopping cards. The key is to just don’t do anything different and it really is free money.

  5. Mia says:

    I’ve been a member since June 2001 and currently have earned $483.33. I didn’t use it much in the 1st few years but now use it every time I shop on-line – even E-bay and on-line tax preparation. We also receive a great % back for business car and hotel rentals (in addition to the rewards given by those businesses!).

    Michelle, parents own the account/money. It’s also very easy to allocate any percentage to several children – 10% to child 1, 30% to chld 2, and 60% to child 3 for example – and then link these to your college plans. The $ is then automatically transferred every quarter.

  6. Daniel says:

    One caveat: UPromise is a marketing company that makes its money by targeting us for advertisements. It’s an effective too IF you don’t let them influence you to make purchases you would otherwise avoid. If you start spending more because, “hey, it helps out my UPromise account”, then you’d be better off just putting the cash straight into a savings account.

  7. Luke says:

    Retailmenot has some coupon codes that you can use for signing up and get some free money in the account. If you’re going to open the account, you may as well get free money!

    I’ve had the card for several years and used is as my primary credit card up until about 3 years ago. I was able to get the Fidelity MasterCard that put 2% of every purchase into a Fidelity 529. I believe it is now an Amex.

    I’ve been happy with the program, since the inception. In fact, I was in Phoenix on business a few weeks ago and ate at a restaurant for lunch using my Fidelity CC. I was reimbursed by work for the full amount, earned 2% on my CC and got 4% into my Upromise account, since it was an iDine restaurant!

  8. Mia says:

    I’ve never, not once, received an advertisement from Upromise. They’re not even pushy on their website. I do agree that no one should use a rebate, cash-back or coupon just because it’s there.

  9. saladdin says:

    I wonder where you got this great idea for a post.

    saladdin

  10. Skip says:

    I have recieved a nuber of useful coupons and discounts that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise For instance, my son’s SAT class gave us a huge kickback, and of course whenever there are the food double dips!

  11. Chris says:

    Love the Upromise!! I’ve been a member since 2002 and have earned just over $1,200 so far – most of which from the past few years.

    I’ve earned the most cash back from the dining rewards and using the Upromise credit card, but just about any online purchase I make, I earn cash back.

  12. Sam says:

    Upromise is great! I’ve been a member since 2003 and have over $1,500 in the account. We use the Upromise card for all of our purchases, Day Care, groceries, gas, etc. After linking to the 529 plan, Upromise moves the money from our account directly to the 529 automatically on a quarterly basis. Becoming a member is a no-brainer.

  13. Justin says:

    I’ve been using UPromise for years as well. One thing you should make clear: the rebates do not have to fund a 529 college savings plan. Upromise is not up-front about this useful feature: you can simply cash out the rebates, and get a plain check that you can cash.

    This information was a bit hidden on their website last time I checked.. but it’s important to note because folks w/ no expectation of having college expenses might pass on these rebates w/out looking further.

  14. Maha says:

    I’ve also been using upromise for many years. When I’m about to buy something online, I always check upromise to see if I’ll get a percentage back. If you don’t install their automatic site detector, I don’t know what it’s called, then you have to be diligent about going to the upromise site, finding the store you’re going to buy from, then click the link to the store. When we bought our house, I used a real estate company listed on upromise. We got around $2300 back from that purchase. I also use the credit card, and if you cash out $200 and under, you don’t have to get a bank signature (the name of the kind of signature escapes me), which costs $10. If you sign up for their credit card and use it for day care costs, general costs, bills, etc, then the rebate adds up pretty fast. Most of my rebates come from using the credit card. Just make sure you pay it off each month or the interest will wipe out any benefits.

  15. upromisegirl says:

    Hey everyone, love to hear the Upromise chatter. I work there and want to clarify that yes, you can put it into a 529 if you wish- or you can leave it in your Upromise account…or you can withdraw at any time…the choice is yours! The best ways to save are by shopping online, through our credit card or by downloading our Turbosaver widget which will remind you which online sites participate. Thanks!
    Follow upromise on twitter @upromise

  16. Chris says:

    What is the best way to rack up your earnings on Upromise?


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