$0.04 for orange juice? Sweet!

Upromise Review Summary:

  • Account free to open. Set beneficiary as yourself or your child.
  • Earn rebate/contribution from grocery, gasoline, and other purchases.
  • Higher percentage in contribution when you shop online through Upromise’s portal or toolbar.
  • Program works best for an online shopper. If you don’t shop online, you won’t accumulate much in contribution.

I opened my Upromise.com account almost eight years ago, and if it wasn’t for a recent email, I would have forgot that I had an account at the college rewards/savings site.

From their own words:

Upromise is a free service that helps families earn extra money for education. It’s that simple.

We do this by partnering with hundreds of like-minded companies who share our mission. Our partners agree to provide YOU, the Upromise member, with rewards for using their products and services… and these rewards go into your Upromise account, where they become actual savings for college, grad school or even paying down a loan.

In essence, you create a free account at Upromise, register your credit cards and grocery cards, and when you dine and shop for groceries, you receive a contribution to your Upromise account when you purchase products or services that partners with Upromise. You can then use the accumulated contribution on qualified college spending.

Free money for doing what you’re already doing? What’s the catch?

As long as you’re not swayed by the marketing, there really isn’t any real catch. Upromises’ aim for their partners is to create brand loyalty. For example, whenever you buy gasoline at an Exxon/Mobil gas station, you will get $0.01 credited to your Upromise account for each gallon of gas you buy. If all else is equal and you have a choice between a Mobil gas station or another branded gas station, you will have more incentive to pump gas at the Mobil station due to the Upromise program.

Upromise Main Portal Page
Upromise Main Portal Page

Upromise Credit Card and Grocery Card Link Page
Credit Card and Grocery Card Link Page

From the screenshot on the top, you can see that I’ve accumulated $17.16 in my Upromise account (yeah, the $0.04 for orange juice is pretty sweet). Nothing exciting for an account I’ve had for over seven years — but then again, I’ve never consciously went and change my spending habit to buy specifically at any Upromise partnered companies.

Upromise Savings by Company Page
Savings by Company Page

Upromise Account Transaction Page
Account Transaction Page

It’s interesting to see that the majority of the contribution was from Exxon/Mobil purchased, amounting at $10.19. At $0.01 per gallon, that’s over 1,019 gallons of gasoline pumped in the past eight years at only one particular brand of gas station. A hefty amount of gasoline indeed!

You can easily earn significantly more contribution ($100+) if you shop online through the Upromise portal, download the Upromise toolbar, or use the Citi Upromise MasterCard — but if you don’t want to fuss with any of that, you can simply add your most frequently used credit cards (or just grocery cards if you’re not comfortable storing your CC info) and forget that you ever have an account and simply let the contributions accumulate through gas, grocery, and dining purchases.

$17.16 is not an insane amount, but that’s 1/8th of a college textbook! Woot?

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