Published on May 24th, 2016 | by Chuck9
Seashells App: Get 15% Gift Card Bonus on Spare Change + $2 Referral Bonus
Seashells App Overview
The Seashells app is a change-roundup program which helps you save those round-up dollars toward a purchase at your favorite retailers.
All round-up money is locked away to be spent only at their retail partners using merchant gift cards. Most other round-up apps work differently and put the money away into savings or investment accounts.
The good news is that they have many top brands available to choose from including eBay, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Hotels.com, Staples, many restaurants, and more. See the full list of retailers here.
Other features of the program are a 15% bonus for all rounded up funds and a $2 referral bonus when signing up with a referral.
15% Gift Card Bonus
Seashells offers a 15% bonus on all rounded up funds. For example, if you saved $100 in round-up funds, they’ll add $15 to your account. You can then buy $115 worth of gift cards at whichever merchant you choose from the list.
This feature is probably the most exciting part of the app for those who aren’t especially enamored with the idea of setting aside savings for a future purchase.
Using this system, we can theoretically buy any participating merchant gift card at a 13% discount. For example, if I get $100 in roundups this month, my credit card will be charged $100 and I’ll get $115 in gift cards. So I paid $100 for $115 in gift cards – a 13% discount. I’d go for the eBay gift cards; others will find the Lowes, Hotels.com, Home Depot or some other gift card more attractive.
I believe you need to have at least $20 in roundups to get a bonus, i.e. if you have $20 in roundups, Seashells will then add a $3 bonus.
$2 Referral Bonus
The Seashells app offers a bonus of $2 for new users, but only when you signup with a referral code. You can also find your referral code in the app and get $2 for each new member who you refer.
Note that the referral code is not something that you input at the time of signup. Rather, after signing up, go to the settings tab and you’ll see a section there for a referral code. Click ‘Apply Code’ and the $2 should show up in your account.
Here is my referral code: DCO2He(the DCO letters in the referral are entirely coincidental).
You’ll only get the $2 bonus if you link your accounts and add a credit card funding source.
How Seashells Works
After connecting your financial accounts to Seashells, they’ll round up each transaction and virtually set aside that amount to be added to your account. For example, a purchase of $5.64 will have 36¢ rounded up. If you did an even-dollar transaction, they don’t round anything up but they give you a 1¢ bonus.
They don’t pull small amounts of money from your account for each transaction. Rather, after you have met $20 in round-ups from your various transactions, the app will charge your designated credit card $20, and you’ll then have $20 available in your Seashells account to buy gift cards from major US retailers. Plus, a 15% bonus will be added – more on that below.
In order for Seashells to track your spend and do the round-ups, you’ll have to add your credit cards and/or bank accounts. (Credit cards only is fine too.)
You also need to add a credit card which will be charged for all the round-ups. Don’t worry: they don’t randomly pull funds from one of the linked accounts – there’s a separate field where you add a credit card as a designated funding source that the funds will be charged to when it hits $20. I used my AT&T to see if it will get 3x. (Update: it appears to have worked for 3x.)
Download the app (Android, iOS) and sign up. Then go to the Settings tab at the bottom (second from right) and scroll down to add accounts. The system is set up to work in-app only, and you can’t connect accounts in an online login.
One oddity is that the system only seems to detect one account per login. When I linked my Amex credit card login, for example, it pulled the data from my Blue Cash Preferred card and none of the other cards. The Blue Cash Preferred card isn’t even my primary card in the login, so I don’t know why it pulled that one.
The intended use of the program is to help people set aside money for purchases at their favorite retailers. The most compelling part for me is the 15% bonus which is a way of effectively buying high-value gift cards at a 13% discount.
The 15% bonus is great, but to be honest the round-ups aren’t accumulating too quickly, partially because they seem to only scrape data from one of the accounts in the login. For that reason, it will take a while until getting a worthwhile 15% bonus.
The average Seashells user gets $40 in round-up change and a $6 bonus per month. Most of us have more accounts and will probably do more (maybe much more?). So far, I have $6.90 rounded up, we’ll see how it goes.
Bear in mind that they now have access to your personal data – some people will be turned off by that. I’d guess that part of their plan is to monetize by doing some data-tracking, similar to the now-defunct Plink.
Thanks to MaximizingMoney for making us aware of this app.