The thought of our children reaching college age is intimidating, to say the least.

With everyone we know (including ourselves) desperately trying to pay down (or dodge, depending on who you are!) student loan debt, we all want better for our kids.

I stumbled upon a gem resource called Upromise. It’s not new. I’ve heard of the credit card, where you get cash back that can be deposited into a 529 plan for yourself or your kids.

I’m not big on having a bunch of credit cards, but what I didn’t realize is that there’s more to Upromise than just a credit card!


I was stunned to learn that you can earn cash for college with the credit and debit cards you already use, kind of like Ebates (if you don’t have Ebates, it’s a cash back shopping rewards program. Click on it here, join for free and we’ll both get $25!). You also can earn cash back for in-store and restaurant purchases with Upromise, as well as by using their grocery and drugstore coupons and booking travel. Maybe I’m late on this. I thought you had to get their credit card!

This cash back can then be deposited into either a GoalSaver savings account (less than 1% interest, but you may be eligible for a 10% match from Upromise!), or a 529 plan (which is a college investment account. If you don’t have one yet, they’ll help you choose one).

But wait, here is the kicker. I could not believe my eyes…

You can use your Upromise cash back to pay down your own existing student loans, no new credit card required!

I chat with so many people on a daily basis who struggle with 5 or 6 figure student loan debt. It’s so discouraging for them, that they’ve either worked so hard for their degree and increased earning power but can’t afford their payments, or that they maybe didn’t get the degree or the increased earning power that comes with it, and still have this mountain of debt.

Now, to be clear:

  • I just opened my account. I had to run right over here to the blog immediately to share this nugget with you. I haven’t actually earned any rewards or redeemed them yet (but you can bet I will soon).
  • I will use my rewards to deposit into my children’s 529 plans and not to pay down loans, since I’ve got about $400 to go on my own student loans (whoo-hoo!) and they aren’t serviced by the qualifying loan servicers anyway.
  • It seems that Sallie Mae, Bank of North Dakota and Navient are the only loans eligible to be paid with your Upromise cash rewards, but you can set it up to sweep all your cash back straight towards your loan.
  • It looks like you get the best rewards when you open their credit card. I assumed in the past that this was the only way though, which is why I’m so excited that you can still benefit without having to open another credit card.

I want to point these things out because I generally don’t recommend anything I haven’t put to good use first. Please read Bottom Up Wealth’s disclaimer.

However, I know many of my readers can benefit from any extra cash to get those student loan balances paid down, and as soon as humanly possible!

There’s no fee to use Upromise. They’ll ask for your information (no social security number), then your children’s names and ages, then ask you to apply for their card (which you can do or skip, it’s up to you), then you can link the cards you use every day to start earning cash back to either pay your loans, or sock away for college for your kids! The whole account set up took me about 5 minutes.

When you refer family and friends, you get $20, and they also get $20 once they’ve made $20 in purchases. Everyone sign everyone up, because who doesn’t need money for college, either for their own loans, or a loved one’s future? You could have your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and whoever else open an account to save for your children’s college or even help with your student debt.

What do you think? Am I the last to learn about this? Are you already using Upromise? If not, will you start? Let me know in the comments!

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