Yelp Cash Back Saga: Part 1

First of all why isn’t anyone talking about this, and I mean from moment of purchase to actually receiving the credit on their statement? Yelp Cash Back was first introduced in December 2016 and appears available in select cities with participating restaurants so it’s still in its first year of use and integration. If you search in the neighboring towns to the larger cities you’ll find sporadic options. Not much chatter yet so please share your experience if you’ve had a chance to use it!

It takes less than a minute to join the free Yelp Cash Back program. Go to or search for “Cash Back” on Yelp, and sign up using the Cash Back link on any participating business. Link as many credit or debit cards as you like with a couple of clicks. Then pay at a participating business with any of the cards you’ve linked to the program, and you’ll automatically get up to 10% cash back on your purchases at thousands of businesses across the country.

I’ve spent hours trying to find other people’s experiences/review on this feature only to find a smattering even on my local Yelp Talk page straight from the source to verify this is not a scam! I even started a topic asking other people’s experience in the Boston area, with tepid reception. How are people not seizing the opportunity to save up to 10% cash back on your meal? Most of the articles I’ve found are more of an advertisement saying “FYI Yelp is offering this new feature” instead of a review of if it works and the end result. When I tell my friends about it, most people are paranoid about divulging their credit card information with a third party company.

iphone_yelp-cash-backNow I’ve read up on their FAQs/Help page, but I’m still stymied as to how this partnership with Empyr allows them to register purchases? You have to sacrifice a bit of personal info to participate. Namely LINKING your credit card. I don’t know of any rewards cards currently that offer more than 2 or 3% regularly for restaurants (barring those annoying rotating quarterly categories) so I took a risk and linked my Amazon Rewards VISA with default 2% CB at restaurants. Yelp added a handy feature where you can search “Cash Back” in the filter and it will list all restaurants participating. As you can tell by the title of this post, my saga has just begun!

In theory this is an excellent idea and extra incentive to try or continue to patronize certain businesses I would have overlooked otherwise… Currently jury is still out as I don’t have enough evidence to give this a solid rating out of 5 so I’ll entertain a pro/con list.


  • 7 – 10% Cash back on your dine in meal at participating restaurants (Most restaurants are 7%.)
  • Combine/stack this offer with your rewards credit card(s)
  • Respectable coverage in major New England cities (Boston, Worcester, Providence, Nashua, Hartford)
    • Easier to narrow down new restaurants to try?!
  • Reported quick confirmation of cash back from successful users – one yelper reported she received an e-mail, “You just made $2.36 cash back at Genki Ya. No couch digging required.”
  • No minimum cash out amount supposedly


  • Requires sacrificing your actual credit card # details for linking
  • Few and far between actual testimonials of success as of right now
  • Not valid on take out, but what if the cashier mistakenly rings your order incorrectly?
  • Cash back received only monthly, supposedly on the 15th / mid-month
  • Only “select” restaurants are participating” – unknown of what cut the local businesses are receiving.
  • customer support is not the most responsive

Not as simple as the 3 steps. Read Part 2 for my redemption process.

I’ll delve more into the actual experience of trying to redeem the cash back at the selected restaurants, contacting and currently waiting on Cash Back fulfillment in Yelp Cash Back Saga: Part 2! Go check it out now! They’ve also added NEW Features in Part 3.

Categories: YelpTags: , , , , ,

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