What Is Earny?
Earny is a desktop and mobile price protection app that tracks receipts sent to your email inbox and earns you free money via price-drop protections associated with credit cards and stores.
The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif., and was started in 2015. Ilan Zerbib, Dori Yona, and Oded Vakrat founded the company. All three have tech experience and have launched a company before. The trio launched dating app Hashsnap.
Earny, their newest venture, is one of the few financial apps that crawls your emails and credit-card transactions to come up with refund money available through the policies of the stores from which you buy and the credit cards you use to make purchases.
However, just because the app is unique doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. To figure out if the app is really worth the trouble, you’ll need to know the following information:
- How exactly does the app work?
- Which types of transactions get refunds and which don’t?
- Are users’ experiences positive or negative?
We’re going to cover each of those topics in this review. Our insights and opinions are based on our research of the app and of users who downloaded it.
At the end of our review, we’ll wrap up with a quick section about the app’s general pros and cons, and who we think the app is good for.
How Does Earny Work?
In order to use Earny, you have to connect at least two things to your account: your email address and a credit card.
The email address allows Earny to comb through your emails to find receipts. Adding a credit card is how Earny checks your transactions to find out if any of them qualify for a price-drop refund according to the card’s terms and conditions.
For example, many credit cards in the Visa Signature program allow you to ask for reimbursement on purchases that go down in price within 90 days of your purchase. The Hyatt Visa and Chase Freedom Unlimited are good examples of cards that have this policy.
The World Elite program from Mastercard offers a 120-day Price Protection program. The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red is a good example of a World Elite Mastercard.
Claiming the Price Difference
Earny’s desktop platform and mobile app have a feed that tells you when the software is tracking and making claims.
Once Earny recognizes there’s a chance for reimbursement on a receipt or credit card transaction (Amazon is included, too), your claim will go through two main stages: tracking and claiming.
Tracking is Earny’s everyday function; it’s tracking your receipts and purchases. When you see “Claiming,” then you know the software has found a price drop that’s relevant to purchases you’ve made.
Earny will work behind the scenes to submit a claim to the retailer or credit card company. There’s no guarantee that their claim will work, but the claim will be pending until there’s a final word from the retailer or credit card company.
In the meantime, Earny continues to track purchases.
Should a claim be successful, Earny says it will take 7-10 days for the refund to show up on the card you used to purchase the item. You won’t receive refunds for items that you purchased with cash; you’ll have to handle those on your own.
There are three big exceptions to this, though: Chase, Mastercard, and Visa will mail you their refunds. Citi cards, on the other hand, will credit the refund back to your account.
Which Credit Cards Are Eligible for Earny?
One of the most interesting things about Earny is that only certain credit cards are eligible for their price protection service. Here is the list:
Each of these banks and credit cards has their own price protection programs. Earny works through those programs to get your refunds.
Now, if you are a Discover or American Express cardholder, you aren’t eligible for refunds. Neither card “participates” in Earny’s price protection refunds. If you own one of those cards, Earny is of no use to you when it comes to credit card purchases.
Those cards represent a small slice of all the cards in circulation, though; about 16% of all cards, according to research firm PaymentsSource.
Which Purchases Are Eligible for Refunds?
Earny doesn’t make the rules for which purchases are approved and which ones aren’t; those are up to the retailer or credit card issuer.
For example, most store price-drop policies are good for 30 days. Credit card price-drop coverages, according to Earny, range from 60 days (Citi) to 120 days (Mastercard).
So, any purchases whose price drops after those deadlines are ineligible. Fair enough, right?
Well, things get a lot more complicated after that. We’re not going to bog you down with the exclusions for Chase, Citi, Visa and Mastercard, so we’ll just list the following exceptions found in the “Price Protection” section of a Capital One Mastercard that offers the World Elite Program’s 120-day price protection:
- Layaway items
- Customized/personalized items
- Jewelry, art, antiques
- Refurbished or rebuilt items
- Anything you buy from an auction
- Professional services
- Closeouts, limited quantity/discontinued items or going-out-of-business promotions
- Plants and animals
- Tickets (airline, sporting event, etc.)
- Cars, boats, motorcycles and the parts for each
- Cryptocurrency and other currency-related items like coins
As you can see, there are a lot of little exceptions to the World Elite Program. Now, imagine a similar list for the Visa Signature program as well as Citi’s program (“Price Rewind”).
Along with all those random situations, Earny notes that all price protection programs put a $2,500 cap on the yearly refunds you can get. Mastercard is the only exception; you get four claims a year.
According to their website, Earny can save you an average of $300 per year. Your earnings will be sent to you as a summary at the end of every month.
How Much Does Earny Charge?
Earny doesn’t require a monthly fee from you. Rather, they take 25% of whatever amount you get form each of your refunds. According to their website, those fees will be charged to your linked credit card on the second Monday of every month.
What Are Users Saying About Earny?
At the time of publishing, Earny’s app received an average of 3.7 stars from more than 1,600 reviews in the Google Play store.
Many of the recent reviews were five stars. The only exceptions were two people who complained about things unrelated to getting a refund. One didn’t like that the app asked permission to access photos and contacts. The other didn’t like the idea of Earny having access to their email account.
In both cases, an Earny rep responded to their concerns with clear, polite advice.
The app received 4.6 stars from more than 4,200 reviews in the iTunes store. The two most recent reviews claimed the users received $4 and $100 in price-drop returns, respectively.
The Final Word: Earny’s Pros and Cons
Based on our research of this app, we believe that Earny’s strength is that it automatically searches out refunds for you.
Normally, you’d have to do this on your own, checking prices every day and keeping an eye out for price drops. In our opinion, nobody has time to do that for anything outside of a big-ticket purchase like a TV or computer.
In that sense, Earny is a pretty amazing app because it does all the searching for you and all you have to do is wait for a credit or check to show up.
We’d say the downside to Earny is that they take a 25% cut of your refunds. However, considering how much time they’re saving you, it seems, in our opinion, well worth the cost.
For reference, a company we’ve reviewed, BillFixers, works on your behalf to negotiate rates on cable, internet, satellite and a few other services. They take 50% of your savings the first year and then the service is free.
Another potential downside is that Apple users seem to have a better experience with the app than Android users. Also, Discover and American Express cardholders are shut out from Earny’s credit-card refunds.
In general, we believe this app is best for someone who uses their eligible credit card for most of their purchases and/or makes purchases that provide emailed receipts.
» See Also: Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2018