If you’ve stumbled upon this post it’s likely you’re interested in reading Ebates reviews before you sign up or just want to find out what is Ebates.
If like me, you’d dismissed it as something that sounded too good to be true (free money, what’s the catch??) or just couldn’t be bothered because you don’t shop much, I’m here to tell you that Ebates deserves a few moments of your time.
And that’s coming from someone who tries to live a minimalist life.
Still, figuring out how to use Ebates could save you a lot of money on purchases you were already going to make anyway – that’s my frugal take on it, anyway.
Plus, you get $10 towards your first $25 purchase if you use my link so it’ll save you at least $10 just to give Ebates a try.
Want to sign up? Use my link to join now and get your first $10 free: Join Ebates Today. Want more info? Keep reading for my honest Ebates review.
Table of Contents
- What is Ebates?
- How does Ebates Work?
- How does Ebates make money?
- Is Ebates legit?
- Is Ebates safe?
- Is Ebates worth it?
- Can you use Ebates in store?
- Ebates sign up bonus
- Ebates payment schedule
- Ebates tips for maximum cash back
- One thing I don’t love about Ebates
- How We’re Using Ebates to Save Big on Our Travel Bookings
- Here’s how Ebates works for travel:
- Shop as normal.
- Is this a scam?
- How I’m Using Ebates to Get Cash Back on Travel Bookings
What is Ebates?
Ebates is a cash rebate website, which refers you to online stores and services. Ebates is paid for referring you to these stores, and in turn, they share referral fees with their customers (that’s you).
According to their website Ebates has been in operation since 1998 and since then have paid out a whopping $325 million dollars to their customers.
It’s US-based but they also have country-specific sites in Canada, Korea, China, Singapore and Japan.
If you’re using Ebates from elsewhere, I would recommend visiting the US site (ebates dot com). I’ve used the US site from New Zealand and Australia and had no issues at all.
How does Ebates Work?
It’s really simple. Before you start shopping you visit the Ebates site (or app) and start a new ‘shopping trip’.
You must click directly through to the retailer from Ebates, so the cookie tracks you as an Ebates customer and you get your cash back.
I’ve created a series of screenshots below showing how to use Ebates.
1. Firstly, you’ll need to sign up as a member of Ebates. Join using this link and you’ll get $10 towards your first $25 purchase: Join Ebates now and get your FREE $10 bonus. After you’ve signed up, visit the homepage to get started.
2. Next, you’ll need to find the store you want to shop at. You can search under ‘All Stores’ in the navigation bar to find the store you want. When you find the store, click on the orange ‘Shop Now’ button to activate your shopping session.
3. If you’ve clicked on the orange ‘Shop Now’ button, a screen just like this containing the potential cash back amount and your shopping trip number should pop up before you are redirected to your selected retailer.
4. Shop as usual. Complete your purchase through the retailer’s online store. To check that Ebates have your shopping trip recorded, you can go to the ‘My Account’ section of the website and check out your list of shopping trips.
5. Check your Ebates account in a week or so (longer for travel bookings) to see your cash back. Ebates will also email you when cashback is credited to your account.
How does Ebates make money?
Ebates has affiliate relationships with over 2000 stores. An affiliate is simply someone who is paid for referring others to a product or service.
For example, Ebates has an affiliate relationship with Company A. Company A agree to pay Ebates 10% of the sale for anyone they refer.
Ebates offer their customers (as in you and me) 5% cash back when purchasing with Company A. I buy a $100 item with Company A via an Ebates link – (remember, you must start your shopping session with Ebates), Ebates gets 10% of that purchase which is $10.
Ebates then credits me with 5% of the purchase amount which is $5. Ebates makes money by retaining 5% of my purchase.
Percentages here are just used to illustrate how Ebates works and vary by store.
Is Ebates legit?
I have to admit that I initially dismissed Ebates when I first heard about it, as it sounded too good to be true.
But after some digging around into the legitimacy of the service it became clear that Ebates is a legit company offering a win-win for themselves and their customer.
What’s the catch with Ebates?
In my experience, there isn’t really a catch. Like all companies, they want to make money so they do send a lot of emails with deals they think you’ll be interested in.
You can choose to opt out of those type of emails. My take on it is that I only purchase things I really need, so I may as well get some money back if I can.
For that privilege, I’ll happily endure and delete (or unsubscribe) to sales emails.
Remember, Ebates make money when you purchase via their links, so they want you to keep them front of mind whenever you are shopping.
You can’t apply for Ebates credit if you forgot to use their link, so you really need to visit Ebates before you shop, every time, in order to get your cash back for every possible shopping trip.
Is Ebates safe?
According to their website, Ebates was set up by two former district attorneys.
As a website geek, I can tell you they use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) internet connections, which gives you an extra layer of security if you are providing them with any personal or payment information.
In my experience with Ebates, I have only provided credit card details to the online stores I am transacting with.
However, Ebates do have my email and PayPal info (so they can pay me) so it’s nice knowing that information is stored safely.
Is Ebates worth it?
It depends. If you’re searching for Ebates reviews because you’re a frugal legend who wants to get money for jam, then yes, it’s totally worth it.
Ebates is worth it to me as I’m all about optimising every purchase and making sure I get the most bang for my buck.
It takes about 10 seconds to go to the Ebates site and start a new shopping session with my chosen retailer, which is totally worth it for me.
But if you’re a millionaire and you don’t need or want to penny-pinch, maybe Ebates is not for you.
Although, if you don’t need the money, you could be super generous and gift your cash back to a charity or a family member or friend in need.
Can you use Ebates in store?
You can use Ebates in stores to get cash back.
To do so you need to register the credit or debit card you plan on using for your in-store purchase in your Ebates account.
Unfortunately for me, you must have a US billing address to use in-store cash back.
I had planned on shopping at Old Navy on my trip to Los Angeles and wanted to use in-store cash back, but it wasn’t possible as my billing address is in New Zealand.
Next time, I plan to get around that with Payoneer (another one of my favourite life tools).
Ebates sign up bonus
As an incentive to become a member of Ebates, they offer a $10 sign up bonus which is paid out when you make a qualifying purchase of $25 or more.
By signing up to Ebates using this link you’ll be sure to qualify for the Ebates sign up bonus: Join Ebates and Get My FREE $10 Bonus
Ebates payment schedule
Ebates pays four times per year, once for each quarter starting in January. Payment is made May 15 for cash back earned between January 1 to March 31.
Further payments are made August 15, Nov 15, Feb 15. You must earn over $5.01 to receive a payment, anything less will be rolled over to the next payment date.
How does Ebates pay you?
Ebates offers two payment options, PayPal or Big Fat Check. If you choose PayPal, your payment will be sent on the above date.
If you choose to receive a Big Fat Check, mailing fees are covered by Ebates. You can also choose to credit your cash back to a friend or even a charity. Check out your account settings to choose this option.
Ebates tips for maximum cash back
- Shop around first. Make sure you compare prices for goods before visiting Ebates. Their interface is not set-up as a price comparison site so it’s best to know where the deal is before you start your ‘shopping trip’ in Ebates. There’s no point in getting a few bucks in cash back when you could have saved a larger amount by shopping around first.
- Tell your friends! Seriously, you get $5 for referring a new friend after they make a qualifying purchase. If you choose to sign up using my link (which is here: Join Ebates Today) I’ll get five bucks for referring you (you’ll also get my eternal gratitude). Then you can tell everyone you know and get loads of bucks.
- Keep an eye out for double cash back days. You’ll have to visit the site regularly but if you’re a conscious shopper and know what you want to purchase, monitoring the site for double cash back should be a cinch.
One thing I don’t love about Ebates
The relentless emails. I’m really trying to simplify my life and reducing email is a big part of that. When I first joined Ebates I was getting multiple emails per day, so I unsubscribed from all of the marketing and promotional emails and chose to keep getting the email about cash back or refer a friend incentives.
Because I like getting emails about making money, who doesn’t?
So there it is, my honest to goodness Ebates review. I think Ebates is a fantastic service and I especially love that I can use Ebates from outside of the United States.
It makes shopping online even more appealing, knowing I can save money on every purchase and be rewarded by referring friends and readers to an awesome service.
One of the best things about Ebates is that I can use it to save money on travel, read how I do that below.
How We’re Using Ebates to Save Big on Our Travel Bookings
Since I don’t buy a lot of stuff (I’d rather spend my money on travel) I initially dismissed Ebates but I’ve since discovered I can get cash back via Ebates for booking travel online using all my favourite sites.
I use booking.com, Accor hotels (I love me an Ibis – cheap but comfortable), Expedia – pretty much all my travel bookings are online!
Here’s how Ebates works for travel:
Ebates gives up to 40% cashback on your purchases, so it’s definitely worth your time to check the Ebates site before shopping.
If you’d prefer to skip this step you can add the Ebates browser extension (if you’re using Chrome) and it will automatically tell you if the store you are visiting has cash back available.
Shop as normal.
Wait a few days and check your Ebates balance. If you’re travelling, Ebates won’t credit until after travel has completed, which makes sense given you could cancel your booking.
Is this a scam?
No. It does sound too good to be true, but it’s how the internet works these days. Think of your favourite celebrities and bloggers.
If they mention a product and link to it from their website, they get paid every time one of their readers makes a purchase from their link. It’s called affiliate marketing.
Ebates does the same thing, except it’s so much better for the reader (you) because they share the commission they get paid with you!
Things to be aware of
- Not every purchase will be eligible for cash back, you need to read the conditions on the Ebates website before making your purchase.
Here are just some of the websites where you can claim cash back with Ebates:
The Book Depository
You’re probably not going to get rich, but this is a great way to optimise the way you spend and keep more of your money, in your pocket.
How I’m Using Ebates to Get Cash Back on Travel Bookings
I plan to get cash back on travel bookings with Ebates by doing all my booking as per the above steps.
I have a bunch of travel to book over the next 6 months so I’ll be using Expedia and Booking.com, plus I also plan to buy books and toys for Christmas via The Book Depository.
So what do you think? Will you give Ebates a try? I recommend it for those of you that spend up big at Book Depository and for travelling. Don’t forget to use this link and you’ll get a $10 Welcome Bonus when you make qualifying purchases totalling $25.