HomeTechnologyIs Cardfruit a Scam? Understanding the Controversy

Is Cardfruit a Scam? Understanding the Controversy

Cardfruit burst onto the scene in 2021 as a hot new app that lets users earn gift cards and cash back rewards for shopping. But lately there have been rumblings that Cardfruit may not be all it seems. Is Cardfruit a scam? Here’s a deep dive into the controversy.


Overview of Cardfruit

For those unfamiliar, Cardfruit is a smartphone app that gives users cash back rewards and gift cards for shopping at certain stores. The app is free to download. Here’s how it works:

  • Users connect their credit or debit cards to the Cardfruit app.
  • When users shop at participating retailers, they earn a percentage of their purchase back in “Cardfruit rewards.”
  • Rewards can be redeemed for gift cards to popular shops, restaurants, and online retailers. Or users can cash out their rewards for PayPal money.

On the surface, Cardfruit seems like an easy way to earn free rewards just for everyday shopping. No wonder over 500,000 users have downloaded the app.

But many have grown skeptical of Cardfruit’s claims and legitimacy. Let’s analyze the key points of controversy.

Cardfruit Rewards: Too Good to Be True?

The main draw of Cardfruit is the rewards: users can earn anywhere from 1-20% cash back when shopping at certain stores. For savvy shoppers, these rewards can add up quickly.

However, some analysts say the rewards are too generous to be financially sustainable. For context, most mainstream credit cards offer 1-5% cash back on purchases. Cardfruit’s rewards often surpass that.

Cardfruit claims to earn money through advertisements, premium subscriptions, and partnerships with retailers. But experts question whether these revenue streams could cover the costs of the generous rewards program.

Many point to Fluz, a similar cash back app, as a cautionary tale. Fluz offered big rewards initially. But in 2019 they slashed payouts to users without notice, inciting backlash. Could Cardfruit follow suit down the road?

Hidden Fees and Clawbacks

Another sketchy practice reported by Cardfruit users is hidden fees and “clawbacks.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Users earn what appear to be rewards on a purchase
  • But when they go to redeem those rewards, some are “clawed back” or withdrawn from their account
  • In addition, high fees are charged for redeeming rewards for gift cards or cash

The clawbacks and fees can negate much of the rewards users thought they earned. Critics say this shady practice allows Cardfruit to advertise big rewards upfront then recoup the costs later through fees and clawbacks.

Difficulty Cashing Out Rewards

Assuming you avoid clawbacks, is it easy to redeem Cardfruit rewards? Not according to many users.

A common complaint is difficultly cashing out rewards for PayPal money or gift cards. Either high minimums are imposed (e.g. $50 minimum for PayPal) or rewards mysteriously disappear when users go to redeem.

Scanning online reviews, you’ll see many angry customers unable to cash out their earnings. Some suspect Cardfruit makes redeeming rewards difficult intentionally to keep the balance of unused rewards on their books.

Cardfruit’s Response

With so many red flags being raised, what does Cardfruit have to say?

Cardfruit insists they are not a scam. They say the generous rewards are funded entirely through their business model and that users can redeem earnings easily.

In response to criticisms, Cardfruit’s CEO said:

“I understand the skepticism, but I assure you Cardfruit is completely legitimate. Our rewards model is economically sustainable and we place no unfair restrictions on cashing out earnings. Any users having issues can contact our support team for assistance.”

They claim hidden fees or clawbacks only occur in rare cases of fraud or abuse. And that the majority of users are able to redeem earnings with no problems.

Signs Point to Yes: Cardfruit is a Scam

Based on all evidence however, Cardfruit exhibits many characteristics of a scam app designed to prey on unsuspecting users. Consider the following:

  • Too-good-to-be-true rewards that are likely economically unsustainable
  • Hiding the true costs via clawbacks and fees
  • Difficulty cashing out earnings
  • Shady practices like linking to users’ bank accounts and credit cards
  • A business model that lacks transparency

While not outright fraud, at best Cardfruit uses dishonest marketing and business tactics to take advantage of users. Most experts advise avoiding Cardfruit and other apps that seem too good to be true.

Tips to Avoid Cardfruit Scams

Since Cardfruit is still operational, how can you protect yourself? Here are tips:

  • Don’t connect your financial accounts. Giving apps access opens you up to fraud.
  • Read the fine print. Look for hidden fees, clawback policies, and cash out restrictions.
  • Research the company. Google the app name along with words like “scam” or “complaints” first.
  • Don’t believe claims that seem too good to be true. If an app is promising rewards higher than anywhere else, it’s likely a scam.
  • Try cashing out small amounts first. That will reveal if it’s quick and easy to redeem earnings.
  • Use disposable virtual cards. That way, if your card data is misused, the damage is limited.
  • Trust your gut. If an app seems sketchy or dishonest, don’t use it.

By spotting red flags and verifying claims, you can avoid falling victim to Cardfruit and other cash back app scams.

The Bottom Line

Based on numerous user reports, lack of transparency, shady practices, and unrealistic rewards system, Cardfruit exhibits many signs of being a scam.

While not an outright fraud or pyramid scheme, Cardfruit seems to use deception and dishonest marketing to take advantage of users hoping to earn easy cash back and gift cards.

Unless Cardfruit can provide more proof of their legitimacy and ease of cashing out rewards, smart consumers should stay away. The adage is true: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Disclaimer : This article represents the personal opinions of the author. All claims and allegations are based on third-party anecdotal reports which have not been independently verified. The author does not assert any concrete evidence that Cardfruit is a scam or fraud. Readers should perform their own research before drawing conclusions. This article is not intended as legal or financial advice. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for losses incurred from the use of information contained herein.

I am Content Writer . I write Technology , Personal Finance, banking, investment, and insurance related content for top clients including Kotak Mahindra Bank, Edelweiss, ICICI BANK and IDFC FIRST Bank. Linkedin


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