Ebates Review: A Customer’s Cash Back Experience

I first heard of Ebates.com through my mom, and it sounded too good to be true. But she had made a little cash back, so I decided to check it out. I have been using it for five months now, so this Ebates review is from my experience.

It’s not always fun to go shopping at the mall. Sometimes you can’t always find a parking spot, stores might not have what you are looking for, and the kids can get exhausted when you’re running from shop to shop.

That’s where Ebates comes in. It promises to save you time through an online shopping experience and earn you some cash back at the same time.

What is Ebates?

“Ebates was founded in 1998 by two District Attorneys in Silicon Valley who used to prosecute online fraud and identity theft,” their website says. How’s that for a warm, fuzzy feeling when you’re concerned about online transaction safety?

In a nutshell: Ebates pays cash back on online purchases, as well as provides some great coupons for the best deals. They deal with other 1,500 stores (including some very big names), and as of today claims to have paid out over $85,000,000 in cash back.

How can they afford to pay 85 million dollars? What’s the catch?

There isn’t a catch; it really is free for you. Ebates makes their money, like all other online shopping centers, through commission from the retailers. Ebates then pays a percentage of that commission as a cash back reward to their users.

How Ebates Works

All purchases need to be made through Ebates for you to receive credit for them. That means that you would first need to go to Ebates.com and search through the stores (Walmart, Barnes & Noble, etc.), decide where to order from, and then click the “shop now” button. Doing that takes you to the merchant’s website, where you then shop like normal. It’s pretty easy.

Just remember: you must enter the store’s site through Ebates!

How Ebates Works (Review)

Cash back rates vary; Target may have a 4% return today but a 1% return tomorrow. They fluctuate regularly, so what goes down will probably go back up soon. The Ebates home page will show you stores that currently have great deals, like 6%-12% cash back and up. Your home page will also keep track of where you shop and show a quick reference list of your favorite stores.

Ebates Cash Back (Review)

Amazon.com used to only offer coupons through Ebates. Now they do offer cash back, but only on certain things like kids’ cloths, textbooks, magazine subscriptions, etc.

Tell-A-Friend Bonus

You can refer your friends by email or Facebook, or by posting your referral link to any other sites like Twitter, etc. You will be paid a $5 referral bonus (which is credited to your Ebates account just like cash back) per person who signs up under you and makes a qualified purchase. Also, they regularly run specials where you can boost that bonus amount or win prizes.

How to Get Paid

Payments (or “Big Fat Checks,” as Ebates calls them) are sent to you every three months for purchases posted during the previous quarter. If that’s confusing, don’t worry. I have pictures! The schedule is as follows:

Ebates Checks

You can choose your preferred method to receive your Big Fat Check: either by paper check through regular mail, or through PayPal.com. Whichever method you choose, you can always change your mind at any time.

Your Ebates account will keep an itemized list of your pending cash back so you can see where you stand at any time.

Ebates Total Cash Back (Review)

I also use my cash back debit card I received from PerkStreet.com (see review), so I reap even more rewards when shopping with Ebates!

Bottom Line

After using it for some time, I do recommend Ebates as a great way to earn some cash back on your everyday purchases. Are you going to get rich? No. But if you do a lot of online shopping, then those 1%, 4%, 12%, etc. cash back options do build up fast!

I’m an average shopper and typically earn about $10 or so a month, which is nothing to sneeze at! Once you receive that Big Fat Check, it’s a nice thing to throw at some debt, help build your savings, or do something else fun that you have been saving for. Try out Ebates, and let me know what you think!

Do you have an Ebates account? What do you think? How much cash back do you earn?

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