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Cash-back apps to stretch your shopping dollars

The popular Ebates app offers cash-back rewards on

The popular Ebates app offers cash-back rewards on purchases from more than 2,500 retailers, restaurants and hotels.  Photo Credit: Ebates

Back-to-school shopping is going full force, holiday-season gift-giving is just a few calendar pages away and you are making everyday purchases, well, every day. These apps can help you save money by giving you cash back on many items you buy.

Ebates

(iOS, Android; free)

The highly popular app offers up to 40 percent cash-back rewards on purchases from more than 2,500 retailers, restaurants and hotels. To qualify for cash-back rewards, you make your purchases through the Ebates portal on the app, which means you’re limited to specials and stores that Ebates selects. You can also earn cash-back rewards by shopping at several selected brick-and-mortar outlets.   

Ibotta

(iOS, Android; free)

Ibotta partners with retailers and manufacturers to provide cash back and discounts on a range of products. Before you go shopping, check the app for its list of products and stores that qualify for rewards. Ibotta is heavily tilted toward supermarkets and groceries, but you can also get cash back or discounts from a growing list of big-box retailers such as Walmart or Best Buy.

Fetch Rewards

(iOS, Android; free)

No one thinks of a trip to the supermarket as a rewarding experience, but this app is trying to change that. With Fetch Rewards, you use the app to scan your supermarket receipts. If items on the receipt match items in Fetch Rewards’ list of approved products, you get points that can be redeemed for cash or gift cards. The best part about Fetch is that it doesn’t matter where you buy your items. 

Shopkick

(iOS, Android; free)

Shopkick rewards you not only for shopping but for browsing, and can sometimes seem more like a game than a cash-back app. You earn redeemable points —called “kicks” — by simply going to approved stores and scanning a product’s barcode. You earn the most kicks by actually buying the product. Get enough kicks in your account, and you can redeem them for gift cards from major retailers.

Strong ‘Feelings’

Selling a million records is no longer the benchmark of a musician’s popularity. A billion streams is the new standard, and Billboard says Drake is No. 1 with a bullet. Propelled by his viral hit “In My Feelings,” Drake is the first artist to hit 50 billion streams. Drake’s new album, “Scorpion,” is the first album to surpass 1 billion streams in a single week, Billboard says. — PETER KING

 

Huawei passes Apple in smartphones

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has overtaken Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone maker behind Samsung, according to three separate  research reports. Huawei has almost no U.S. market share because of government accusations it is tied to the Chinese government. Yet despite being shut out of the world’s most lucrative market, it has had exceptional success globally, particularly in China. — Washington Post

Higher learning

Google is making the college search process a little easier. When you type in the name of a four-year college in Google Search on mobile devices, information about admissions, acceptance rates and graduation rates will appear before you even click a link. There’s also data on the average cost both before and after financial aid is applied, which may help ease sticker shock for parents -- a little.  — Peter King

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