Ampli cash back app review: trading your purchase history for rewards

Ampli is a Canadian cash back app owned by Royal Bank of Canada. Ampli gives you cash back via Interac e-Transfer (whenever you have accumulated at least $15 cash back) on your everyday purchases that you make on your existing credit or debit cards. It figures out what purchases you made by reading the purchase history of your credit card(s) and/or bank account(s). In a way, you are selling your purchase history and profile, and you agree to be sent personalized offers, in exchange for cash back.

Cash back and other offers

The cash back you get through Ampli is separate and in addition to whatever rewards you are already earning on your credit or debit cards. At the time this article was published, the Ampli website lists 53 participating brands as having “cash back and offers”. Note, however, that not all of these brands participate in cash back offers — in a minority of cases the offer is that you get entries for cash prizes in their “Dreamstakes”.

The Ampli website does not list what specific offers are available. This is only available within its app, and you must be logged in to the app to see the details.

Ampli cash back offers

Some examples of current offers include:

  • Get $5 back on a $60 purchase at
  • Get $10 back on a $50 purchase at Boston Pizza
  • Get 1% cash back at Petro-Canada
  • Get 1 entry into the Ampli Dreamstakes contest when you make any purchase at WestJet

Ampli WestJet offer

How Ampli might factor into your purchase decisions

One appeal of Ampli is that you can just link your accounts and then change nothing about your spending habits. While the number of Ampli offers appears to be increasing slowly, it’s up to you to determine whether the offers are for purchases you would already be making. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself watching the offers and purposely changing your spending habits in order to take advantage of the offers — that’s presumably one of the main ways that Ampli and its partners hope to make money.

If you deal with multiple banks and credit cards, in order to ensure that you get credit for applicable purchases, you have to link them all; otherwise you might make a purchase on a non-linked account and thus not get the cash back.

The Ampli sign-up process

The entire Ampli experience is done through its iOS or Android app.

You must enter your first name, last name, and email address. It also asks for your postal code and phone number, and to sign up to receive promotional emails, but those are all optional; you can press the “Skip” button in the top right of those screens:

Ampli: optional phone number

Part of the sign-up process is to accept the terms and conditions:

Ampli terms and conditions

You can also read these terms on the Ampli website, which includes information about how they use your information:

When you sign up to the Ampli app (App) and add an account, we will use your transaction and other information to present you with tailored offers, recommendations and marketing in the App from us, other RBC companies, and Third Parties.

Linking a bank account or credit card consists of selecting the financial institution, then entering your login credentials at that financial institution.

Ampli bank account link: powered by RBC

Ampli bank account link: select a financial institution

Ampli bank account link: log in to the financial institution

I definitely paused a bit while signing up to consider how comfortable I am linking my bank account to the app. Obviously, this is the key step in order for me to participate in the offers, but I’m used to cash back being automatically tied to individual credit cards, or tied to me clicking on an affiliate tracking link. When it comes to Ampli, linking the bank account by signing in to it similar to how you link an account to accounting software, and security-wise, the fact that the app is owned by RBC gives it legitimacy. On the other hand, you must decide whether the cash back offers are worth all the trouble.

I was somewhat confused by the emphasis on bank accounts. At first, because it was prompting me to fulfill the requirements for a $5 promo (more on that next), I thought I was linking my bank account to receive payments:

Ampli link to claim bonus

That was my wrong assumption, since they send you Interac e-Transfers when you withdraw the cash back, so the bank link has nothing to do with the withdrawal process — it’s entirely so that Ampli can read your transactions. In any case, you can link to credit cards that are tied to traditional bank accounts (such as at Scotiabank or TD Canada Trust), or search for a credit card company such as American Express:

Ampli link to American Express

Additional sign-up offers and how to withdraw

If you use the code AMPLI5 during sign-up, you will get $5 in your Ampli account for attaching a bank account or credit card. You must accumulate $15 in cash back before you can withdraw the money via an Interac e-Transfer.

There might be other promo codes available for new sign-ups, such as DOORDASH15 — until July 31, 2020, that gets you $15 cash back if you spend at least $15 with DoorDash.

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