All You Need to Know About Ebates: 2018 Update
What’s your New Year resolution for 2018? Is it to stop spending so much on online shopping? Clearly, you love buying stuff online, but what you don’t love so much are the mounting credit card bills.
What if we told you that you can shop online just as much as before and get paid for it too? You can now get a cashback every time you buy something online. Sounds unbelievable? Is that even legit?
Yes, absolutely – the cash back model for shopping at select online stores via sites such as Ebates is a well established one. There are many cash back websites out there, but Ebates is the one that started it all – it is the world’s premier cash back site.
In this Ebates Review, we discuss everything you need to know about making money even as you shop online.
What is Ebates?
Ebates is a cash back website, which means it gives you the opportunity to earn cash back every time you purchase something online from one of the stores they partner with. Ebates.com was started way back in 1998 by a couple of Silicon Valley lawyers. It went on to achieve so much success that it was acquired by the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten for over $1 billion in 2014! That is amazing!
How does Ebates Work?
Ebates is essentially a large affiliate marketing site. It has an affiliate relationship with over 2,000 online stores, including some of the biggest names in e-commerce, such as Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Priceline, Kohl’s and many more.
Ebates gets paid a commission by these stores for sending customers in their direction. Ebates, in turn, shares some of the money (usually 50%) from the commission with its members – people like you who have signed up with them.
So every time you visit Ebates and use their affiliate links to shop at the various stores they have a relationship with, you will earn a cash back. Ebates connects you with any popular online store of your choice and helps you earn at least some cash back every time you buy something.
They also have a pretty cool free browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. If you keep it active, then it will alert you every time you are on a website that is affiliated with ebates
It certainly makes a lot more sense to shop at your chosen online stores via Ebates.com as you will get at least some cash back every time you make a purchase. You can then withdraw this money easily to your bank account as soon as it crosses a certain threshold. How much cash back you get will depend on the store and the product category. It may only be 50 cents here or 2 dollars there, but it really adds up over time and it feels like you’re getting free money back, like a tax return.
You can also save money with the in-store coupons available on Ebates. This way, you will not only save money when you shop at an online store via Ebates, you will make money as well. Now, isn’t that a great deal?
A List of Ebates Stores
Ebates is essentially a middle man which connects you to your favorite online store and allows you to earn a cashback on every purchase. You don’t buy from Ebates, you basically visit their ebates.com, click on the affiliate links on the site and visit any popular online store of your choice.
There are over 2,000 online stores that Ebates shares an affiliate relationship with. Some of the popular names include, Amazon, eBay, Kohls.com, Walmart, Nike, Dick’s, Groupon, Old Navy, Macy’s, Nordstrom, RiteAid, Expedia, Priceline, Bed Bath and Beyond, Petco, Orbitz, and many many more.
How to Sign Up with Ebates?
Anyone can sign up with Ebates – it is a free service. You will be asked to choose your sign up bonus on the sign up page. You can sign up with your Facebook or Google account, or you can use your email address with a password.
Now, Ebates is for those who are from USA and Canada. If you are from outside USA or Canada, you can join as well, provided the online stores you shop from are based in the USA and Canada and ship to wherever you are located. You should be at least 18 years old to sign up.
They also have Ebates for China, Korea, and Japan, but I am focusing solely on USA and Canada. The Canadian website is available in English or French.
How to Shop with Ebates?
You will then be presented with a range of $10 gift cards or $10 cash back during the sign up process, from which you can choose one. When you make a purchase of $25, this gift card will be sent to you. So you get $10 for free for just signing up and doing the shopping you already do on a daily basis anyway. Isn’t that cool?
To shop at your favorite online store via Ebates, just log into to your account on the site first. You will be hit by a number of store options on the home page, but the easiest way to find the store is to use the search function. You can choose one that you like and visit the store via the link on Ebates. Shop normally on the online store as you usually do. Once you buy something and make the payment, your Ebates account page will be loaded with cash back points within 24 hours.
Once the cash back points cross a certain threshold – just $5 – you qualify to get paid. There are 3 ways by which Ebates sends the money to you.
- The money is sent to the address you have on your account by a check.
- The money is deposited into your PayPal account.
- The money is sent by check to any individual or charity you want to send it to.
It certainly helps to have a PayPal account before signing up on Ebates. PayPal is the easiest way to get your payments from that site. It is just as convenient as a debit card or credit card to making payments for your online purchases.
What are the Other Ways to Earn Money from Ebates?
There are many ways to earn money from Ebates – the cash back method is just one of them. One easy way to make money from the site is to refer your friends and family.
You will get a referral bonus for each person that you refer to Ebates, as long as they maintain an active account on the site. This means your referral has to make an online purchase of at least $25 at any store of their choice via Ebates within 90 days of signing up.
Ebates Cash Back Visa Credit Card is another way to make money from Ebates. When you use this credit card to make a purchase on the site, you will get a cash back of 3%. You will also get an additional cash back of 1% if you use the Visa credit card on online stores where it is accepted.
What’s In It for Ebates?
Ebates gives you cash back on every purchase without asking for a sign up fee or anything. You don’t have to pay anything to Ebates, there are no hidden charges or hidden fees or anything. All you need to do is to shop at your favorite online store as you normally do by visiting it through the affiliate links on Ebates.
So basically, Ebates helps you make money for nothing. What’s in it for Ebates? There are no free lunches in life, right? How does Ebates make money?
To understand that, you need to know how affiliate marketing works. Ebates is nothing but a giant affiliate marketing website and is an affiliate to over 2,000 ecommerce stores.
When you click on an Ebates link to a particular affiliate store, the store sends out a commission to Ebates. The good folks at Ebates hold on to some of the commission and give a major part to you – around 50% – as cashback.
So, let’s say you go to Ebates and buy an LED TV for $2,000 from Amazon. Ebates gets a commission of 4% or $80 from Amazon for referring you to their site. They hold on to half of the commission or $40, and give the rest of it ($40) to you as cash back.
It is a win-win scenario for all concerned. The online store benefits because it gets much needed targeted traffic through Ebates.
Ebates benefits as they get to make a commission every time you make a purchase at an online store from a link on their site.
You get to benefit as you’ll be given a cashback on every purchase. You will make money every time you buy something at your chosen online store. Now, isn’t that a wonderful business model?
Why Do Large Stores such as Amazon associate themselves with Ebates?
Clearly, it makes a lot of sense for large stores such as Amazon, eBay and Best Buy to form a partnership with Ebates. They get valuable targeted traffic from the site. Ebates sends customers such as yourself in their direction. So they don’t mind paying Ebates a small commission for the privilege. For them, cash back sites are nothing more than a very good source of inbound traffic.
How Long Does It Take to get the Cash Back from Ebates?
Once you shop at a store of your choice via Ebates and make the purchase, you will get the cash back on your Ebates account within 7 days, but usually comes sooner than that. Once the cash back has been on your account for a period of 60 days, you will get paid by PayPal on the 15th of February, May, August and November every year.
What if you don’t receive the cash back on these days? In that case, click the “Support” link in the footer and then click “Track my cash back” and inform the website about not having received your payment. You will need to fill in some basic information so that the staff can see what happened clearly enough and conduct their investigation into what went wrong. You will be sent the payment quickly enough after that.
This rarely happens, but it might from time to time. It has happened to me once and I emailed support about it and received my cash back in 3 or 4 days after they investigated it. Unfortunately, no technology is perfect.
Tips for Shopping Online Via Ebates
Tip #1: Check the coupons on the Ebates site before checking out. Ebates is as much a place to get free online coupons as a cash back site. They have coupons for almost all online stores. You can save money on every purchase with these coupons.
Tip #2: You have to go on Ebates first before visiting the online store to earn the cash back. If you forget to visit Ebates.com first, then you’re not going to make any cash back. This is an important point that many of us forget. To be safe, add this Ebates browser extension to your browser so you never forget to go through ebates before shopping.
This way, whenever you visit an online store, you will be prompted by Ebates with this message: “Activate Up To __ % Cash Back”. So when you click on the Ebates button, a tracking ticket is created and your order is tracked. A cash back will be sent to your account after the purchase. There is no need to visit the Ebates.com website as long as you install this Ebates browser extension.
This is what will automatically pop up on your screen in the top right corner of the browser, when you visit the site.
Tip #3: You can even earn cash back from offline stores from Ebates, not just from online stores. For this you will need to visit the in-store cash back link in the top navigation and link your credit card to your Ebates account in your account settings under Wallet. Look for an offline store you would like to shop at and click on the option, “link offer”. Once you tie up your credit card with the store and with your Ebates account, a cash back will be sent your way every time you make a purchase at the offline store.
Tip #4: To earn the cash back you should make the purchase in the same shopping session that begins when you click on the link on Ebates. Don’t visit other sites before completing the purchase and making the purchase. That will only confuse Ebates and you may not get the cash back.
Tip #5: Don’t disable the cookies on your browser when shopping online via Ebates. Cookies are a way to authenticate the shopper and Ebates uses the information obtained from the cookies to ensure that the cash back is issued to your account. If the cookies are disabled by any chance, you will not get the cash back because you are not being properly tracked.
Tip #6: You can get paid by a check on Ebates or by PayPal. The problem with getting your money through the check sent to your mailing address is that it can get lost in the mail. In that case getting your money can be really difficult. To be safe, create a PayPal account and link that to your Ebates account. This way you will be sent the money easily and there is no risk of any sort.
Ebates Back Office
Here is what the back office of Ebates looks like. You can see every time you go through Ebates for a shopping trip and actually purchase something, it will show up under “Shopping Trips”. After they sent a payment, it will show up here, like the image below, under “Big Fat Check History”.
Also, just in case you were wondering if they actually pay you, here is recent proof of Ebates’ payment to me in PayPal. You can also choose to receive a check in the mail if you prefer that, but it’s 2018 and we live in a digital world, so I like PayPal personally. I can either send it to my bank account or use it to purchase other things, since PayPal is so widely accepted.
Pros and Cons of Ebates
- You will get a cash back for shopping online as you normally would. You don’t have to pay anything to Ebates for this. There are no hidden charges. You will earn a cash back of anything from 1% to 25% on every purchase, depending on the store. Each store will clearly be labeled how much cash back they offer.
- Shopping online via Ebates is a lot of fun and very convenient. It can be done from the privacy of your home. Whatever you buy will be delivered to your doorsteps. It takes only a few seconds of your time.
- Ebates has an excellent customer service. Their customer service reps are professional and friendly and resolve any issue that crops up quickly and efficiently.
- Ebates is a highly reputable and well established cash back site which has been around since 1998. It is certainly a legitimate business, one that you can trust implicitly.
- The Ebates browser extension is a very useful tool that makes earning a cashback from your favorite online store really easy.
- You will be presented with a plenty of options on Ebates. There are more than 2,000 stores on that site.
- You will certainly get your payment on time. Ebates has a history of never missing out on payments. They have a very good reputation for this reason.
- Ebates is more than just a cash back site. You will find a plenty of coupons there which can help you save money on your online purchases.
- Amazon is the world’s biggest online store and Ebates is affiliated with Amazon. However, Ebates offers a cashback only on specific categories on Amazon and not for all categories. Unless these are categories where you shop frequently, you won’t be able to make money when shopping on Amazon via Ebates. Remember to check if the category where you want to buy something on Amazon is eligible for a cash back on Ebates.
- The amount of cash back you receive on certain stores can be very low. For example, if you shop on Apple.com via Ebates, you get a cash back of just 2% on your purchases. So of you buy an iPad that costs $1,000, you will get only $20 back. That’s not really much, is it?
- Some users have complained that Ebates at times has problems tracking orders. This is more often than not a technical issue and can be resolved easily by their customer support.
Is Ebates the right cash back site for you? Yes, certainly – it is free to join, has an excellent reputation for never missing out on a payment and you will get paid something every time you make an online purchase.
This is basically free money, assured money. Of course, you can’t make a living off Ebates, but it is a great way to make a few extra bucks on the side. What’s not to like?